Lavash – A Savior Bread

Lavash – A Savior BreadSomeone once said that everything genius is simple. As simple as lavash, the Armenian kind of bread. This wonder of nature as thick as a parchment was invented in the Armenian land and spread all around the world along with Armenian travelers. Today, it is very difficult to find a place where lavash wouldn’t be sold.

How did lavash appear anyway? It is not a mere bread but a part of history, as evidenced by one legend.

In times immemorial, King Aram reigned in Armenia. In one of his battles, he was captured by the king of Assyria. The Assyrian king made a condition to the Armenian king: “You will be left without food and will remain starving for ten days. On the 11th day, we will compete in archery. If you win, I will release you unharmed, and you will return to your people with gifts worthy of a king.”

On the next day, Aram demanded the Assyrians to deliver his most beautiful armor from the Armenian army standing on the Assyrian border. The Assyrian messengers departed to retrieve the armor. Armenians immediately guessed that the king hints at something. They would hold the messengers for the whole night to win some time and understand what the king needs in reality.

At dawn, the Assyrians took the route back to Assyria with the armor. None of them thought that the Armenians hid a very thin bread in the plate. At the time, no such thing as lavash existed, so it is no surprise that the Assyrians didn’t think of it.

Aram took the armor and then suddenly announced that it isn’t his most beautiful one. The messengers had to go and bring another piece of armor for the king. Aram disliked that one as well. During the agreed ten days, the Assyrian messengers went back and forth for armor, not suspecting that they have been carrying bread the entire time.

On the eleventh day, the kings met at the shooting range. The Assyrian king was assured that Aram wouldn’t be able to demonstrate accuracy. But he wasn’t expecting a miracle to happen.

Aram became the winner of the contest and returned to his country, having retained his honor. The Armenian bread saved him. Upon his return to Armenia, Aram ordered to henceforth bake lavash instead of other breads.

Lavash is a kind of white flatbread made with top-grade wheat flour. It has an oblong shape measuring about 1 meter (3.3 feet) in length and 0.4 meters (1.3 feet) in width. It is typically 1.5 – 2 mm (0.06 – 0.08 inches) thick closer to the middle and 3 – 4 mm (0.12 – 0.16 inches) thick at the edges. Depending on the variety of lavash, its surface can be mostly fried and brown or completely pale. The shape of the flatbread can also vary greatly between rectangular and completely round. A characteristic feature of lavash is the absence of crumb.

Lavash is made with wheat flour, water, and salt. The dough is divided into several pieces, each of which is then flattened out and baked on a heated steel sheet. After baking, lavash is wrapped up and packaged while still hot.

As a result, lavash retains moisture and stays soft for a long time. It can maintain its nutritional profile for several days, though fresh lavash is much more delicious.

Nowadays, lavash is exceptionally widely used in Armenia. It is irreplaceable in the making of many dishes. Apart from that, lavash is very durable, which makes it suitable for traveling. It should be kept in a package though because it will dry out otherwise. But even if it does dry out, one could moisten it with hot water and hermetically pack it: it will be back in shape in about an hour.

Eating fatty meat dishes with regular bread is quite uneasy. Lavash is perfectly suitable for such dishes thanks to its thinness. Aside from that, lavash doesn’t contain many calories, which makes it ideal for restrained diets.

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