Authentic Turkish Lavas Puff Bread

Lavas with hummus

Cathy Scola / Getty Images 

  • Total: 48 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 8 mins
  • Rise: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
115 Calories
7g Fat
12g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 115
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1266mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 2g
Calcium 38mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you’ve eaten at an authentic 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. The bread is delicious and a lot of fun to make at home.

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).


  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, stir the dry yeast and warm water until the yeast is dissolved.

  3. Add the sugar and stir again until it has dissolved. Set the yeast mixture aside in a warm place for about 15 minutes to let it develop. You’ll know it’s ready when you see bubbles on the surface.

  4. Melt the butter then let it cool down. Stir it into the yeast mixture.

  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture and mix.

  6. Knead the dough first in the bowl, then on a lightly floured surface until it forms a smooth ball.

  7. Grease the inside of a deep bowl with a little olive oil, place the dough inside, and cover with plastic wrap. 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.

  8. Oil the bowl again and add the dough, this time letting it rise for about 2 hours. The dough should double in size.

  9. Preheat the oven to 480 F/250 C. Turn out the dough onto your floured surface and flatten it with your hands.

  10. Cut the dough in half, then cut each half into 3 even-sized pieces, making 6 pieces total. Form the pieces into balls, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise on the floured surface for 15 minutes.

  11. Using your hands or a rolling pin, make a disk out of each piece of dough. Continue to flatten the disk until it becomes very thin. Use extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and the surface.

  12. Sprinkle sesame and nigella seeds onto the dough and roll it in with the rolling pin with one last stroke to press the seeds into the dough. Grease 2 large baking trays with a little olive oil and place 3 pieces of dough on each one.

  13. Bake for about 8 minutes, or 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.

  14. Serve the lavaş hot with your choice of accompaniments.