Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Do not let your passion for the Beloved
be less than your hunger for bread.
Khoubz Markouk or Lavash: Mountain Bread
Popular throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, Iran and the Caucasus, this bread is traditionally made in a tannur, a pottery oven set in the ground
Total rising and baking time: 2-½ hours
Cooling: 1+ hour
1-¼ cups warm water
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
3+ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup poppy seeds

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, sprinkle in the yeast, and set it aside until it bubbles. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir vigorously in one direction, until the ingredients are well-blended and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for at least 10 minutes, adding more flour a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth. Clean out the bowl, oil it lightly, then put the ball of dough into the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Set in a warm spot to rise until the dough is twice its original size, from 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450F and position two racks in the center. Since lavash is thin, the racks can be close together.

Knead the dough briefly and divide it into 12-16 pieces. Sprinkle the work surface and a rolling pin with flour, then roll each piece into a thin 8x3" square. Peel the dough off the surface and transfer it to a lightly floured baking sheet. Prick holes in the dough with a fork, brush or spray it lightly with water, then sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, or a combination of the two. Three pieces of dough should fit comfortably on a large baking sheet. Once the first sheet is full, put it in the oven to bake for 3-5 minutes, until it is golden brown; continue to roll and bake until all are finished. Let the breads cool completely before serving with soup, cheese or spreads.