250 g flour (bread flour is best but all purpose works fine as well)
160 ml water (room temp or colder)
5 g salt
3 g dried yeast
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sugar
200 g ground lamb / beef (or both)
2 medium tomatoes, wet insides removed and finely diced
½ medium onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp turkish red pepper paste (aci biber salcasi, or 2-3 tsp aleppo pepper)
1 tbsp tomato paste
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
If you have a food processor, using that for finely dicing the tomatoes, onions, onion, garlic, and parsley will be very quick. We want to avoid adding the beef into the food processor, as this will make the texture less desirable. If you don’t have a food process, then hand chopping is perfectly fine.
Mix 160 g of the flour with the sugar, yeast, and water. Mix until it forms a wet dough. Cover and leave until doubled in size, 1-2 hours. This pre-ferment stage is supposed to give a light yeasty flavor to the bread. If you want a yeastier bread, add up to triple of the yeast, or use the original amount of yeast and leave the dough in the fridge overnight.
Add the rest of the flour, the salt, and the olive oil. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a hand mixer. Get the dough as stretchy as you can, like you’re making a pizza, then cover and leave to double in size for around an hour. This would be a good time to preheat your pizza steel/stone with your oven at its highest temperature. For a baking sheet, wait until closer to when you’ll actually cook them.
Tip the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 6-8 equally sized pieces, depending on how large and how many lahmacun you want. Form the pieces into tight balls and leave them to rise a final time, seam side down, for 15 minutes.
While the dough balls are rising, combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, and parsley with the minced meat, red pepper paste, tomato paste, and some salt and pepper to taste. If the diced vegetable mixture feels a little wet, strain some of the liquid off before combining with the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything until combined, making sure not to overmix and worsen the texture of the ground meat.
To assemble, roll out a piece of dough into a very thin disk. Place it onto a floured surface / pizza peel. Add a thin layer of the minced meat mixture to the top of the dough, spreading it as thin and evenly as you can to cover the entire flatbread. Don’t put too much topping on these, as they are meant to be thin! Bake the lahmacun until golden and crispy at the edges, 3-8 minutes depending on your oven heat. Keep an eye on the first one you bake, and adjust your timings and methods as needed. Once you have a good grasp on how they bake in your particular oven, repeat the same process as fast as you can for the rest of your dough and filling. Don’t feel obliged to use all of your filling, as you can always use the leftovers for something else.
Serve the lahmacun hot with toppings of your choice. Tomatoes, more parsley, sumac onions, a side of lemon, and pickles would be traditional, but feta cheese is also very tasty. Roll up the flatbread with the toppings and enjoy.
Crispy flatbread topped with a spiced minced meat mixture, typically wrapped around vegetables, tomatoes, or pickles. This dish is very popular in Armenia, Turkey, Lebanon, and other countries in the region. Usually eaten as a quick snack or purchased from street food vendors, this flatbread is very versatile and light. I recommend topping these with raw tomatoes and some sliced raw onions, tossed in oil, sumac, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and other spices of your choosing. Feta cheese, though not traditional, is also a tasty addition, but feel free to use whatever you want.