Lavash Bread – Whole Wheat Wonderfulness


There are a few family recipes that have made a big impact on my life…Lavash Bread is one of them!  This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, Marian, who got it from her friend, Lota, who used to bake it to sell.  Trust me, if I didn’t have the recipe, I would buy this!

I love this recipe.   Recently have looked up Lavash bread and this looks nothing like the others out there, but this is what they (MIL and Lota) called it, so I’m sticking with the name. I have always considered it a heavy bread, but that doesn’t sound yummy.  It’s a dense, moist bread, and I mean that in a really good way.  It is one of those bread recipes that is just as good with whole wheat flour as it is with white (or a mix of both).  It’s great news for a woman (me) who wants to be able to grind her own wheat (with my nifty wheat grinder) and incorporate it (freshly ground wheat) into her bread repertoire.  It’s a super simple bread to make, but everyone loves it!

Lavash Bread- makes one loaf…you might as well double it!

(Bread in the picture was made with hard white spring wheat flour!)

1 1/2 cups very warm tap water

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour (white and/or whole wheat – if using whole wheat flour, you should add an extra tablespoon or so of water to keep the dough from being too dry)

Dissolve the yeast in very warm tap water in a mixer bowl (like a KitchenAid  or Bosch).  Add sugar, salt and flour.  Using the bread hook, begin mixing; once it forms a ball, knead for 2 1/2 minutes.  Place dough ball into a well oiled bowl, brush or wipe a little oil on top of dough ball; cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Turn the oven onto broil for 90 seconds, and then turn it off.  Place bowl of bread dough into the oven and close oven door.  Let rise until doubled.  This will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down the dough; shape into a loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a rack.  Rub a cube of butter over the top for a softer crust.  Store in a Ziploc bag after it cools…if there’s any left!  Make sure to have a slice while it’s still hot…heavenly!

*For a more interesting looking loaf, cut 4 -5, 1/2″ deep slits diagonally on the loaf.  Please read to the bottom of the post!

If I take it to a gathering, I will make TWO double batches to make sure there’s enough to go around.  My kids don’t like me to share all our family recipes because they want to be the ones to show up at gatherings with the best stuff, and they say it with all sincerity.  Trust me, its not good, its GOOOOOOOD!!! .  I cut this loaf when it was barely out of the oven (I couldn’t wait) and it slices nicely. This is too easy and yummy not to share and I said that I would, so here it is.

It is divine with butter, but really delicious on its own.  My favorite bread…ever!

Updated info!!!  I had a question by Margaret who wanted to know if the recipe was 1 Tablespoon or 1 pkg of yeast…for some reason I thought they were the same – they are not.  Use the 1 Tablespoon, please!  I have removed the (1 pkg) from the recipe.

I  tested the recipe using 1 pkg of yeast and made a loaf of  bread using King Arthur 100% whole wheat flour (ground from hard red wheat) which is different from when I grind my own hard white spring wheat and I had a gnarly experience… the bread dough was dry and hard to knead.  So I visited the King Arthur website and found this tidbit of information on their  Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour page:

“Whole grains in baking need more moisture and more time, to allow the sharp edges of the bran to absorb moisture, which improves baking characteristics.  When first using this flour, try substituting it for 1/3 of the white flour in your recipe; see how you like the results.  If you want to increase the whole grain flour in your recipe, add another tablespoon or so of liquid to your dough (or batter) and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before baking for better results.”

The bread tasted fine but was definitely heavier than normal, so next time I will try another loaf adding more water to the mix…AND a full tablespoon of yeast!  This experiment has helped me to discover that I still have a lot to learn – a sad realization when one finds herself in her mid-fifties!  But better late than never!  I might just find myself studying up a bit on the differences between flours.  I have always been an “all-purpose” flour kind of gal…obviously I have a lot to learn!  Thanks for the question, Margaret!

 

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30 Responses to Lavash Bread – Whole Wheat Wonderfulness

  1. Lindsay Gabert says:

    Helen,

    I’m a novice bread baker but tried your recipe last night. It turned out wonderful and was delicious, despite me not being able to use the full 4 cups of flour. (I used 2 cups of brown and 1.5 cups of white and there was still flour left over that just wouldn’t mix in after that. I followed the directions and had added an extra Tbsp of water as I was using whole wheat flour).

    I mixed it using a wooden spoon and then near then end, just kept folding it in with my hands..

    Is it just because I’m not using a mixer?

    • Helen says:

      Goodness, I am a little behind in replying to comments! To be honest, I have never made the bread without a mixer. My mother-in-law gave me her old Bosch mixer when she got a new one, and then my husband replaced it with a KichenAid a few years down the road. I am a lazy bread-maker, which is why it is so easy to use a mixer. I’m glad that it turned out and that it was delicious…that’s all that really matters, right? I’m sure that it took longer to do it with a spoon. Maybe it had extra time to absorb the liquid. Sorry that I’m not more knowledgeable, but I’m glad to hear you liked it. I have no idea how it would have responded differently if you had gotten all the flour in. I just know that when I make it in my mixer, it all goes in.

  2. michelemhess says:

    Made this bread today, turned out great!

  3. La says:

    Helen, this looks amazing-I’m going to try it today….thank you do much for sharing your family’s beloved recipe.
    Cheers,
    La

  4. philwynk says:

    I tried America’s Test Kitchen’s version of “the very best whole wheat bread ever!” recipe. It called for soaking the whole wheat flour in milk for 24 hours before incorporating it into the dough ball, and stuff like that. What a nuisance! And it did not turn out all that well for me.

    Your recipe is so doggone simple, I really have to try it. Thanks!

  5. Hannah says:

    Am I supposed to leave the bread covered with plastic wrap in the oven….won’t it melt?

    • Helen says:

      You only need to leave the oven on high broil for 90 seconds…then you turn it off. You only need to do that to warm up the oven. If the weather is warm, you might not even need to use the oven, although if you have the air-conditioning on, you will need to. Trust me…it won’t melt the plastic IF you turn the oven off after 90 seconds.

      • Hannah says:

        I put the bread in the oven without the plastic wrap and it didn’t turn out very well. It only rose a little and the taste wasn’t that great. I used my ninja blender and followed the bread dough making directions…I’m not a bread making expert so ill have to try again.

        • Helen says:

          Try making it with white flour next time. Definitely cover the dough. I ALWAYS cover my bread dough – it helps to trap the heat in the bowl and keeps it from drying out. Check your yeast. I buy bigger bags of it and I keep it in the frig. It could be older yeast, which doesn’t always rise well. It really is a really easy recipe, but there are always things that can go wrong…When I ground my own wheat, I didn’t have a problem, but the last time I used the King Arthur’s whole wheat, it came out almost like a hockey puck…so sad because I was so wanting the “usual” delicious stuff. Definitely try it again!

    • philwynk says:

      If you’re worried about the plastic wrap melting, turn on the oven for about 2 minutes BEFORE you put the bowl into it. Turn it off, THEN put the bowl with the plastic wrap in, and close the door quickly. Voila! No danger of the plastic melting.

      The plastic wrap is necessary to keep the moisture and heat in the bowl.

      • Helen says:

        Thanks for the comments, Hannah. So much to know about yeast and whole wheat flour…I always use the same stuff, so I don’t run into multiple problems – didn’t know all that info. Let me know after you try my recipe – hope it works well for you!

  6. Jen says:

    I have a bottle of quick rise yeast that I use for my bread machine. It gets mixed in with flour instead of water. I plan on making it without the machine, but can I still use that yeast?

  7. Margaret says:

    Recipe says to use 1 tablespoon of yeast or 1 pkg. A package of yeast actually has 2 1/4 teaspoons. That is quite a difference. It will definitely change the outcome of the bread. Not sure which amount to use.

    • Helen says:

      Hmmmmm…good question. I’ve had the recipe for 35 years. I got it with the 1 pkg measurement in the recipe. At some point I discovered the value of buying yeast in the bigger package. I probably measured a packet of yeast, it was probably a scant Tablespoon, which over the years turned out to me just measuring a Tablespoon into the batch. I might just have to get a package of yeast and see how the two turn out differently. Sounds like a good Sunday afternoon project! I will let you know which I like better…or which works better…or maybe just how significant the difference it. I have started buying most of my ingredients in bulk packaging, bit I know that it is easier for the average person to use the smaller sized packaging. I do know that the Tablespoon makes really good bread. Stay posted:)

    • Helen says:

      In response to Margaret: Your question brought up some definite possible issues with this recipe. Definitely use the full 1 Tablespoon. I measured the 2 1/4 teaspoons for a batch using King Arthur’s 100% whole wheat flour that I picked up from Walmart to try (ground from hard red wheat), and while the bread dough did rise and it tasted okay, the whole process was different than normal. I noticed some variations in the flavor and texture from the last time I made it. I have honestly always used all-purpose white flour OR ground my own white wheat, which seems to bake up much lighter – in color and consistency – than this loaf did. So I did a little research – that’s me, do the research after a project! When mixing the bread dough with my Kitchenaid, it struggled with the kneading and it kept separating, coming out the top of the mixer. It’s never done that before. So I went to the King Arthur website to check out their tips. They suggested using an extra tablespoon or so of liquid (water in this case) and to let it rest for about 20 minutes before baking…which I would do anyway because it needs to rise. So now I need to make another batch, using the adjusted measurements, to see what happens. I will update the recipe for now and do more research to see if I should offer any other suggestions. Thank you for your question…let’s keep that measurement to 1 Tablespoon of yeast!

      • Ellen says:

        Hi Helen,

        I made this bread on Sunday and was actually going to comment about the exact same thing you just said! I also used King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour and 1 package yeast and definitely had to add more water (I just poured little by little until I obtained “bread dough” consistency). Also, I let this rise for the full hour and a half, however after about 45 minutes its stopped rising. I also only let it rest for 10 min after rising, I know I’m impatient, but I needed my oven! The bread came out very dense, extremely delish was but dense. I will absolutely be making this again though! Please let me know if you update the recipe :)

    • philwynk says:

      Is the package is instant rise yeast rather than dry active yeast? 2 1/4 teaspoons of instant rise yeast is the proper amount to substitute for a tablespoon of active dry yeast.

  8. Becki says:

    Let me start by saying that I just baked this bread off and ate a piece. OH GAWD. SO OOO OO GOOD. I’ll be honest and say I was skeptical. Halfway through the baking process I thought this was going to be a waste of flour and yeast. The recipe is so simple and easy, I just didn’t think it could possibly turn out! Thankfully, I was wrong. I used 2 cups of bread flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. The bread turned out chewy and dense and lovely! Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for letting me know it turned out good for you! It’s very true…sometimes I’m surprised at how basic and easy this recipe is, but so good! In fact, I think I might just make some tomorrow!

  9. Ellen says:

    This looks amazing! Quick question about turning the broiler on- is this 90 seconds ater the oven preheats or 90 seconds of preheating? Silly question, I know! Thanks!

    • Helen says:

      No silly questions, right? That’s what we learned in school:) It is JUST 90 seconds, from when you turn on the broiler until you turn it off. It’s just to warm up the oven a little. Works great when it’s not warm in the kitchen. Don’t need it on a summer day…but then again, I don’t bake bread as much in the summer!

  10. Ang says:

    Do you think this would turn out okay in a bread machine?

    • Helen says:

      I don’t know. I’ve never used a bread machine to bake bread…if that’s what you’re talking about. But that’s the nice thing about making bread – it isn’t super expensive if it doesn’t turn out. But following the recipe is so quick and easy, I’ve never thought about trying to alter the process. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  11. Helen says:

    It usually takes an 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Don’t worry about letting the heat out, though. The 90 seconds that you leave the broiler on for doesn’t really heat the oven…it more like takes the chill off of it.
    When I make the bread in my KitchenAid, the dough comes out so warm it’s amazing! You can leave it on the counter in the bowl, covered, if you like, but this just speeds up the process a little.

  12. Tammy Hawkins says:

    One more question – when I put it in the oven until it doubles in size, can you give an approximate time for how long that is? My oven, unfortunately, doesnt have a window in the door so I dont want to keep opening it to check and let the heat out.
    Thanks Helen!

  13. Tammy Hawkins says:

    Helen, that looks SO amazing I think I will make some tonight! I’ll let you know how it turns out :) I am a BIG whole wheat grinding fan.

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