In the city of Garni, Armenia, skilled artisans sometimes offer classes in making local foods like lavash, an ancient flatbread that’s a mainstay in the region. Pastry chef and baker Kristina Kazlauskaitė documented the lavash-making process in one of these family-run classes. It was her first time baking the traditional bread.
“…Because of the language barrier, I couldn’t express myself, and they couldn’t express themselves 100%. But what was the most important: hands. They show and you just follow their hand movements. So that, I think, is universal; you can travel anywhere and you can learn anything.
“So, this is the best lavash that I ever tried in my life.”
Lavash is made with 2 kg (70.4 oz) of bread flour, a generous tablespoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda or old dough/starter (150 g or 5.3 oz), and warm water. “You will have to work on your baker skills and judge by eye,” Kazlauskaitė notes, “as even the ladies didn’t tell exact quantity of water.”
After making and proofing the dough for a few hours, Kazlauskaitė watches the women roll the dough flat, then spin it into a thin sheet by hand.
The dough is then pulled smooth across a convex cushion, a tool for slapping the dough sheet onto the interior walls of the tandoor oven. It sticks and bubbles almost immediately. Each piece is baked to perfection in around 30 seconds.
Kazlauskaitė tries enjoyed the bread with Lori cheese and locally grown greens. The family also sets up a picturesque lunch in an orchard.
Related watching: The Amazing Art of Bread Baking in Tajikistan.