Hrach Martirosyan tentatively connects Armenian լավաշlavaš with dialectal լափ lapʿ, լուփ lupʿ, լովազ lovaz ‘palm, flat of the hand’, լափուկ lapʿuk, լեփուկ lepʿuk ‘flat, polished stone for playing’, լավազ lavaz ‘very thin’ and assumes derivation from Proto-Armenian *law- ‘flat’. He remarks that semantically this is conceivable since this bread is specifically flat and thin. He then proceeds:
If this interpretation is correct, the Armenian should be regarded as the source of the others. This is probable since, as Adjarian (HAB 2: 308a) informs, *lavaš is considered to be Armenian bread in both Yerevan and Iran (being opposed with sangak for Turks and Persians), and in Tehran this bread is called nūn-i armanī ‘Armenian bread’. Similar data can be found also for other regions. In Dersim, for instance, lavaš is seen as characteristic for Armenian hospitality whereas the Kurdish entertain with sači hacʿ [Halaǰyan 1973: 294b].
Two women making lavash in a small restaurant in Yerevan, Armenia.
Lavash is made with flour, water, and salt. The thickness of the bread varies depending on how thin it was rolled out. Toasted sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds are sometimes sprinkled on before baking.
Traditionally the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven. While quite flexible when fresh, lavash dries out quickly and becomes brittle and hard. The soft form is easier to use when making wrap sandwiches; however, the dry form can be used for long-term storage (almost one year) and is used instead of leavened bread in Eucharist traditions by the Armenian Apostolic Church. In Armenian villages, the dried lavash is stacked high in layers to be used later, and when the time comes to rehydrate the bread, it is sprinkled with water to make it softer again. In its dry form, left-over lavash is used in Iran to make quick meals after being rehydrated with water, butter and cheese. In Armenia the dried bread is broken up into khash. In Armenia fresh lavash is used to wrap Khorovats and to make wraps with herbs and cheese. In Iran, Turkey and middle-east lavash is used with kebabs to make dürüm wraps. According to the Encyclopedia International, "Common to all Armenians is their traditional unleavened bread, lavash, which is a staple in the Armenian diet."
In Kashmir it is known as Lavase. It is one of the basic bread products; Kashmiri people consume it on a regular basis for breakfast. As a tradition, Kashmiri Pandits distribute lavase among neighbours, friends and relatives on several occasions, as a symbol of good omen and abundance of food. Lavase pieces with green walnut kernels folded between them are considered a delicacy.
Women baking lavash is a common theme that has inspired Armenian painters. One such portrait by the famous Soviet-era painter Minas Minassian is displayed at the National Museum of Art in Yerevan. A print of the painting Armenian Ladies Baking Lavash by Armenian American artist Manuel Tolegian was selected by US President Gerald Ford to hang in the White House Bicentennial Collection. The weekend open-air arts-and-crafts market in downtown Yerevan offers many lavash-related paintings and handiworks, with renditions of happy women making lavash having become a common sight.
^Gil Marks (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. John Wiley and Sons. p. 355.
^Goldstein, Darra (1999). A Taste of Russia: A Cookbook of Russian Hospitality (2nd ed.). Montpelier, VT: Russian Life Books. p. 185. ISBN9781880100424. Armenian Flat Bread Lavash: Lavash has been baked for centuries in Armenia.
^Khanam, R. (2005). Encycl. Ethnography Of Middle-East And Central Asia (3 Vols. Set) (1st ed.). New Delhi: Global Vision. p. 55. ISBN9788182200623. The t'onir is a round hole dug in the ground, which can be used for baking Armenian flat bread (lavash) and for heating the home in winter.
^Alan Davidson (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 456. ISBN978-0192806819. Lavash a thin crisp bread usually made with wheat flour made in a variety of shapes all over the regions of the Caucasus, Iran (where it is often so thin as to be like tissue and can be almost seen through), and Afghanistan. It is leavened and baked in a tandoor. Lavash is served with kebabs and is used to scoop up food or wrap round food before being eaten. The Turkish yufka is similar, but is unleavened and cooked on a griddle, called a saj. Its origins are ancient and it is also known as lavaş depending on the region. As in the other countries of this region large batches of this bread are made and stored for long periods. In Turkey they are stored on a board suspended by all four corners from the ceiling. The bread becomes dry and is restored by sprinkling with water and reheated as and when needed. Yufka is also used in the same way as filo pastry to encase various fillings.
^The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Making Classic Breads with the Cutting-edge Techniques of a Bread Master
^Sergio O. Serna-Saldivar (2012). Cereal Grains: Laboratory Reference and Procedures Manual. CRC Press. p. 217. ISBN9781439855652. Lavash is another popular flat cracker bread with ancient roots in Armenia.
^Albala, Ken (ed.). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. p. 5. ISBN9780313376269. ...on lavash, a traditional flatbread of Armenia similar to tortilla...
^Encyclopedia international, Volume 2. Lexicon Publications. 1980. p. 39.
^Irina Petrosian, David Underwood (2006). Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore. Yerkir Publishing. pp. 26, 27. ISBN978-1-4116-9865-9. Women baking lavash is a theme that has always inspired Armenian painters. One such portrait by the famous Soviet-era painter Minas Minassian is displayed at the National Museum of Art in Yerevan. A print of the painting "Armenian Ladies Baking Lavash" by Manuel Tolegian, an American artist of Armenian origin, was selected by US President Gerald Ford to hang in the White House Bicentennial Collection. The weekend open-air arts-and-crafts market in downtown Yerevan now offers countless lavash-related paintings and handiworks. These many renditions of happy women making lavash have almost becomes a tired cliché.