Lavash bread inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

“Lavash bread has become global”. The flat and light bread that is really good for eating and pouring all kinds of food like cheese in it has now found a global reputation for itself. Iran’s cheapest bread which is fairly tasty and durable and has no trouble eating registered as an intangible World Heritage in 2016 at the last UNESCO World Heritage registration in Addis Ababa, the capital of the African country of Ethiopia. A spiritual heritage that the whole world must work hard to preserve it.

Lavash bread story

This bread had an interesting story. Two years before its registration at UNESCO, in February 2014, Armenia registered the bread on UNESCO table in the form of an Armenian bread file. The Armenian Foreign Ministry said that the file titled “Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture” as the factor in introducing this country. This met with a reaction from neighboring countries such as Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as the bread baked in large quantities and with almost the same name in other countries.

Armenia took the lead in Lavash, but most of the time it was Iran as the widest table for lavash and the most diverse type of lavash. So Iran became responsible for the culture of baking thin and wide breads, with the cooperation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Turkey. As a result “Lavash Bread” was registered as the second multi-national case in Iran.

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Lavash bread
Lavash bread

A multinational heritage

At the 11th International Conference on Intangible Heritage, the case of “Lavash Bread Culture” raised and after a long discussion, the World Intangible Heritage of Iran reached eleven titles in 2016. Given this background, in order to prevent any misunderstanding in describing the culture of baking Lavash bread among the countries of the region, all the relevant countries tried to reach an agreement through some sessions. Multinational cases are based on cultural roots and commonalities, bringing cultures closer together, and peace. UNESCO encourages countries to develop joint files.

How to make Lavash

The ingredients for making Lavash are yeast, flour, water, sugar and salt. You can also make it in an unleavened version by omitting sugar and yeast. In some regions, you can add toasted sesame seeds or poppy ones and sprinkle on the bread before baking. First they roll the dough flat and slap against the hot walls of a clay oven base on traditions, but in new version there might be some changes in the process of making it. Lavash is flexible and fresh, but it will be dry out if stays too much, so you should consume it quick. It is easy to use when it is still soft, especially for wrapping sandwiches

The culture of using Lavash in different countries

In some regions in Armenia, people stack dried Lavash in thick layers to use in the future. Whenever they want to use the bread, they sprinkle the water to hydrate it again and make it softer. Armenian use the crumbles when it is dry into Khash and use fresh Lavash in khorovats. They also make other wraps with herbs and cheese. People use Lavash with kebabs to make dürüm wraps like tantuni in Iran, Turkey and some middle eastern countries. Some people in Iran use Lavash left-overs for making fast foods by hydrating it with water, butter or cheese. People use this bread for sweet dishes in Turkish cuisine and serve it with other desserts like kaysefe, hasude, pestil kavurması (braised fruit leather), ağuz and helva. Nowadays Lavash used in  pizza dough.

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Nan-e Lavash
Nan-e Lavash

How to prepare

The ingredients that you need for baking Lavash are as follows:
Flour: Approximately 2 cups
Water: 3.4 cups
Salt: the tip of a teaspoon
Oil: 4 tbsp
Baking Powder: One teaspoon

1. Add all the dry ingredients. dip the middle of dry ingredients and add the oil, then add the lukewarm water and mix well until the dough is a handful. The dough should be soft and tender. If there is too much flour or too little water, the dough will harden and the breads will dry out. If you see that the dough is sticky, add flour little by little until it is no longer sticky.

2. Put a damp cloth on it for about 30 minutes until the dough comes out. After 30 minutes, remove the tangerine balls from the dough and set aside.

3. Sprinkle flour on the work surface and open the balls with the help of a rolling pin. Thinly roll out the dough as far as you can.

4. Heat a iron frying pan and knead the dough; Of course without oil.

5. The pan should be hot and then put the heat on medium. After a few minutes, you will notice that the dough starts to hit small and large bubbles.

6. When one side of the dough turns slightly brown and takes on brown spots, turn the other side of the dough over so that the other side of bread will bake.

7. Immediately after baking and cooling the loaves, place them in a loaf of bread so that they do not dry out.