A classic Armenian Bread from old times of Istanbul. With its delicious taste and irresistible smell, this Armenian Easter Bread will not only be your favorite, but it will be your guests’ favorite bread to eat on Easter!
This Easter Bread recipe is a special recipe that dates back to the 1800s from Ottoman Empire’s Armenian citizens.
With its delicious combination of Mahaleb and Gum Mastic, it is still popular in Istanbul’s bakeries.
With Mahaleb and Gum Mastic being an ingredient that’s locally produced since the 1800s, these ingredients were added Armenians who lived in Syria and Aegean Islands.
When eating this bread, we recommend that you serve it with our delicious Banana Bread and with Early Grey Tea.
By Armenian bread, we refer to about four different types of bread native and enjoyed by the Armenian people.
These bread types include Lavash, Zhingyalov Khats, Matnakash, and Peda Bread.
However, due to the limited scope of this article, we will only discuss the Lavash bread which is the most popular of the four bread types.
Lavash is also known as the Armenian flatbread as it has a very flat texture but is nonetheless filling and delicious.
It uses the popular ingredients used in making bread, dough, water, salt, and flour. It uses a small number of leavening agents such as yeast so the dough doesn’t rise that much.
The bread is perfect as a snack or wholemeal, depending on the dishes you decide to pair the bread with.
Origin of Armenian Bread
As the name suggests, Lavash originates from Armenia. However, many experts and food historians have argued that Iran could be the first place where the bread was first made.
Other historians argued that the bread’s origin is more Middle Eastern than Armenian. Sharing this sentiment, there were pockets of protests in 2014 when the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity designated Lavash as an expression of Armenian culture.
These pockets of protests occurred in Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan, with protesters claiming that the food is rather regional instead of Armenia.
Food historian Gil Mark also believes that the Armenian bread has its origin in the Middle East, as the method of making the bread (thin and flattened) with terracotta griddles started in the Middle East as far back as the biblical times.
Recipe Ingredients & Baking Method
To make this bread vegan, instead of using eggs, use another agent such as 4 teaspoon of flaxseed with about 3 tablespoon of water.
Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes to thicken. There is not any option to make it Vegan and Vegetarian.
Instead of using cow’s milk, substitute it with almond milk or coconut milk.
Be mindful that the taste may alter depending on the ingredients you use.
For now, here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious bread.
½ Cup Water (Lukewarm) + 2 Tbsp.
½ Cup Milk (Lukewarm) + 2 Tbsp.
2 ¼ Tsp. Instant Yeast
4 ½ Cups Flour
¼ Cup Sugar + 3 Tbsp.
1 ½ Tsp. Salt
2 Large Whole Egg
6 Tbsp. Soften Butter (Divided into 3 sections)
4 ½ Tsp. Mahaleb
¼ Tsp. Gum Mastic
1 Egg Yolk
2 Tbsp. Shaved Almond
Heat water and milk mixture together. Mixture should be lukewarm. The temperature should be between 110 to 120 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Filter or sift the flour in a stand mixer with hook.
Next, add the milk mixture. Followed by the yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, 2 Tbsp. soften butter, Mahaleb, and Mastic Gum.
After adding the ingredients into stand mixer, slowly start to knead the dough for about 15 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to 2.
After 4 minutes of mixing, add 2 tablespoon of butter. Continue mixing for about 4-5 minutes, then add the remaining 2 tablespoon soften butter.
Continue kneading until the 15 minutes are up.
When complete, remove the dough and place the dough in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place the dough in a warm place and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
Next, transfer the dough to a clean lightly flour surface, and cut the dough to three sections. Then cut each section into 3 sections.
Starting with the first section, roll the dough to make it longer, like grissini. Repeat the process with the other 2 sections.
Take all 3 sections and combine them at the tip. Next, start to braid the dough loosely.
Repeat the process with the other dough sections.
Place the braided dough onto a lined cooking tray. Cover the dough with a towel, and allow it to proof / rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Use a pastry brush to apply the yolk to the bread (lightly without pressing down on the dough). Top it with Shaved Almond.
Bake the bread for 22 minutes at 325 degrees or until it has a light to brown color.
Variations and Substitutions
There are no special ingredients used to make the Lavash as mentioned earlier. However, you can make several additions or substitutions to the ingredients used to make the Lavash.
This will give a whole different taste and flavor to the Armenian bread.
These variations include the addition of ingredients such as Parmesan Cheese, Onion, and Red Pepper Flakes for the Low Carb Cheesy Herbs and Onion Lavash, White Onions, Sabra Guacamole, and Cannellini Beans for a Mediterranean Lavash Bread.
You can also a Cheesy Carrot Lavash Bread by incorporating kosher salt, pepper, garlic, and cheddar and a Whole Wheat Herbed Lavash by adding Nigella seeds, Red Chili Flakes, Black Sesame Seeds, and some other ingredients.
You can also add lemon juice and basil to provide the Armenian flatbread with a lemon sharp taste and flavor.
How To Store The Armenian Bread
The following are instructions on how to store the lavash bread after baking;
Fold and package the lavash immediately after baking.
This conserves the moisture present in the bread and keeps the bread fresh for some days (about four to five days).
However, if you are looking to store the bread for longer periods, you can decide to refrigerate or freeze the bread.
This keeps the bread fresh and edible for months. You should make sure not to store the lavash near foods with strong smells as the bread absorbs foreign aromas easily.
How To Pair Armenian Bread
Because the bread is flat and thin, it works well as wraps for sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. It is also perfect when toasted as crackers and eaten with dips.
You can also try this bread with the Haitian Plantain Porridge.
More Bread Recipes To Try
If you loved this bread recipe, we recommend trying one of these recipes next:
It warms our hearts to see the recipes you make from this site, and we’d especially would love to know if you tried this recipe.
Also, we would appreciate if could give it a star rating below!
How To Make Armenian Easter Bread
- Stand Mixer
- ½ Cup Water Lukewarm + 2 Tbsp.
- ½ Cup Milk Lukewarm + 2 Tbsp.
- 1 ½ Tsp. Instant or Fresh Yeast
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ Cup Sugar + 3 Tbsp.
- 1 ½ Tsp. Salt
- 3 Large Whole Egg
- ½ Cup Melted Butter +1 Tbsp.
- 4 ½ Tsp. Mahaleb
- 1 Gum Mastic
- 1 Egg Yolk
- ¼ Cup Shaved Almond
- Heat the water and milk mixture in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. The water should be lukewarm and should not burn when touched.Add the yeast to the liquid mixture. Stir the yeast and milk to combined.Filter or sift the flour in a stand mixer. Add the yeast and milk mixture to the flour.
- Next, add all the other ingredient and knead the dough for 10-12 minutes. We used our Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix at the dough on the number 2 speed.Transfer the dough to a cleaned bowl and cover it with a clean paper towel.Then, cut the dough into three even parts. Roll the dough to make it longer, like grissini, and start to "braid" the dough.Brush the dough with egg yolk and top it with the shaved almond.Transfer the bread onto a baking dish lined with parchment paper, and bake the bread for 25 minutes at 320 degree. The bread should be a beautiful brown color.