Slow Days: DIY Lavash

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the Fast Diet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

One day, I got to thinking about making Lavash, an ancient flatbread from Armenia and the surrounding region. Actually, I was thinking about making pita bread, but I’d done that once and was not pleased with the result, so why not do something new, like Lavash? The modern version of this flexible breadstuff is marketed as a ‘wrap.’ Son #1 said that he had made it, which encouraged me to try. Some recipes these days are yeasted, but I wanted to get to the original style. Vera Abitbol @ is the source of this recipe. Lavash is one of the many ‘flatbreads’ of Asia, the main requirement being that it could be prepared quickly [no yeast to proof and rise] and could be cooked on flat rocks by the campfire. Thus it became a bread for bands of hunters, nomadic herders, and soldiers.

The story is told of an Armenian king who was kept alive by lavash and a clever ploy. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to conquer neighboring Armenia. In one battle, the Armenian King Aram was captured by his enemy. Game over? Not yet: the Assyrian king wanted to toy with his captive before a final blow. King Aram was to be starved for 10 days before meeting in an archery contest. If Nebuchadnezzar won, Aram would be murdered and his nation forfeit. If Aram won, he would go free and his kingdom would be saved. Aram asked that his near-by army would bring him his most beautiful shield to prepare him for the competition. Sure, said Nebuchadnezzar, why not? When the message was received by the Armenians, they were perplexed — why take a shield to an archery test? Then they guessed that there was a hidden meaning to the request: send. me. bread. So they baked a batch of Lavash, smoothed the thin, flexible strips of bread to the underside of the shield, and delivered it to their king. For the next nine days, the Armenian king ‘peevishly’ demanded a new shield, and thus he was supplied with sustenance instead of starving. On the day of the contest, King Aram won at archery and Armenia was saved. By Lavash bread!

LAVASH Vera Abitbol @ Makes 16 lavash sheetsGriddle or wide skillet or baking sheets
2 c white whole wheat flour  1 c white flourAdd flour to bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Make a well in center of flours.
½ tsp salt 1 c. warm water (95 F/36˚C)Put salt in well. Knead at medium speed, adding water gradually. Dough will be soft, homogeneous, and come off walls of bowl.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place 30 mins.  
Dough is resting in a small bowl before rolling.
Roll dough thinly on a lightly floured surface. Fold sides in to make 4 layers.  Let rest 30 mins in a warm place.
Cut dough in two pieces. Roll and fold each piece 4x to make dough elastic.
Preheat oven 30 mins to 430F/220˚C OR heat griddle

As the above directions say, you are now to roll and fold each piece of the dough four times. The goal is to make the dough thinner and more pliable with every turn. While this is supposed to be done with a rolling pin, it struck me as being similar to the process of rolling pasta dough — the successive rolling works the dough into thin, even strips. so I got out the pasta machine, cut the dough into pieces the correct width and ran them through. I started at the thickest setting, then went by steps to the thinnest setting. The dough became smooth, silky, elastic, and cohesive.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out to 1/16”/1.5mm thick. OR pass through pasta machine to setting 6 or 7. 
Put dough one at a time on very hot pan and cook ~1 min per side

And there you have Lavash. Roll it up with meat or cheese, spread it with hummus — you will find many ways to enjoy it.

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