Authentic Turkish Lavas Puff Bread Recipe

Turkish 'lavas;' or puff bread is served as an appetizer with kebab meals. Photo © Getty Images
  • 2 hrs 40 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs 30 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 puff breads (6 servings)
Ratings (53)

If you’ve eaten at a real Turkish kebab house or ocakbaşı (meaning "fireside restaurant"), you’re sure to have sampled this classic puff bread from southeastern Turkey. You can use this recipe to bake authentic Turkish lavaş (lah-VAHSH) at home. It’s not only delicious, it’s a lot of fun and makes a great conversation piece.

Lavaş, sometimes called "balloon bread," is thin and crispy and puffs up high as it cooks. It’s served piping hot, with a hollow center full of steam, as an appetizer before kebab meals. You'll often find it accompanied by Turkish tulum goat cheese, chunks of unsalted village butter, and a spicy tomato and pepper crush called ezme (ez-MAY).

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (active dry)
  • 1 1/4 cups water (warm)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Garnish: sesame seeds
  • Garnish: nigella seeds

How to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, stir the dry yeast and warm water until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add the sugar and stir again until it has dissolved. Set the yeast mixture aside in a warm place to let it develop. You’ll know it’s ready when you see bubbles on the surface.
  3. After 15 minutes, melt the butter then let it cool down. Stir it into the yeast mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture.
  1. Knead the dough first in the bowl, then on a lightly floured surface until it forms a smooth ball.
  2. Grease the inside of a deep bowl with a little olive oil, place the dough inside, and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Turn the dough out onto your floured surface and knead again for 15 minutes.
  4. Oil the bowl again and add the dough, this time letting it rise for about 2 hours. The dough should double in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 480 F (250 C). Turn out the dough onto your floured surface and flatten it with your hands.
  6. Cut the dough in half, then cut each half into 3 even-sized pieces.
  7. Form the pieces into balls and cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise on the floured surface for 15 minutes.
  8. Using your hands or a rolling pin, make a disk out of each piece of dough.
  9. Continue to flatten the disk until it becomes very thin. Use extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and the surface.
  10. Sprinkle sesame and nigella seeds onto the dough and roll it in with the rolling pin with one last stroke.
  11. Grease two large baking trays with a little olive oil and place 3 pieces of dough on each one.
  12. Bake for about 8 minutes until the centers puff up high and they begin to brown. If you have time, bake them one by one in the very center of the oven for the best puff-up results.
  13. Serve your lavaş hot with goat cheese, butter, spicy ezme salad, and grilled meats.