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This meat-topped flatbread is the Levant’s answer to pizza
Milk Street Bowtie Lahmajoun

Lahmajoun

Appears in May-June 2020

2¼ hours 40 minutes active

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Lahmajoun

Free

Lahmajoun (also spelled lahmacun) is a meat-topped flatbread common in the Levant, as well as in Turkey and Armenia. Arugula and a drizzle of yogurt are unusual finishes for lahmajoun, but they add fresh, peppery flavor and a creamy coolness that complement the spiced meat topping. For convenience, the dough can be made a day in advance. After dividing the dough in half and forming each piece into a round, place each portion in a quart-size zip-close bag that's been misted with cooking spray, seal well and refrigerate overnight. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before shaping.

2

12-inch flatbreads

Tip

Don’t undermix the dough in the food processor; it needs a full minute of processing to build structure and strength. The dough may be warm to the touch when done; this is normal. But when processing the meat mixture, don’t overdo it or the protein may get tough. Pulse only three or four times, just until combined.

2¼ hours

40 minutes active

241 grams (1¾ cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
¾ teaspoon table salt
¾ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
¼ cup chopped drained roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
8 ounces 80 percent lean ground beef or ground lamb
¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Semolina flour, for dusting the pizza peel
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups (1 ounce) lightly packed baby arugula
For the dough:
  • 241

    grams (1¾ cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting

  • teaspoons instant yeast

  • ¾

    teaspoon table salt

  • ¾

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 1

    tablespoon honey

For shaping and topping:
  • 1

    small yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • ¼

    cup chopped drained roasted red peppers

  • 2

    tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2

    teaspoons smoked paprika

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 8

    ounces 80 percent lean ground beef or ground lamb

  • ¼

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • Semolina flour, for dusting the pizza peel

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2

    cups (1 ounce) lightly packed baby arugula

Directions
  1. 01
    To make the dough, in a food processor, combine the flour, yeast and salt; process until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the yogurt, honey and ¼ cup water. Process until the mixture forms a ball, about 30 seconds; the dough should be tacky to the touch and should stick slightly to the sides of the bowl. If it feels too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until incorporated. Continue to process until the dough is shiny and elastic, about 1 minute.
    See Demo
    lahmajoun-flatbread-step-1
  2. 02
    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter. Flour your hands and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a taut ball by rolling it against the counter in a circular motion under a cupped hand. Space the balls about 6 inches apart on a lightly floured counter, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 1½ hours.
    See Demo
    lahmajoun-flatbread-step-3
  3. 03
    Meanwhile, to make the topping, in a food processor, pulse the onion until finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add the roasted peppers, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the beef and pulse just until incorporated, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and 1 tablespoon water, adding more water as needed to thin to drizzling consistency. Cover both bowls and refrigerate until needed.
  4. 04
    About 1 hour before shaping the dough, heat the oven to 500°F with a baking steel or stone on the upper-middle rack. Working one at a time, gently stretch each dough ball on a lightly floured counter to an oval approximately 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.
    See Demo
    lahmajoun-flatbread-step-4
  5. 05
    Dust a baking peel, inverted baking sheet or rimless cookie sheet with semolina. Transfer one shaped dough to the peel and, if needed, reshape into an oval. Brush the entire surface with 1 tablespoon of oil. Using a spatula, spread half the meat mixture on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Slide the dough onto the the baking steel and bake until well browned, 9 to 12 minutes.
    See Demo
    lahmajoun-flatbread-step-5
  6. 06
    Using the peel, transfer the flatbread to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, oil and meat mixture. After the second flatbread has cooled on the rack for a couple minutes, top both with the arugula. Drizzle with yogurt, then serve.
Tip: Don’t undermix the dough in the food processor; it needs a full minute of processing to build structure and strength. The dough may be warm to the touch when done; this is normal. But when processing the meat mixture, don’t overdo it or the protein may get tough. Pulse only three or four times, just until combined.
.
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Mains

Reviews
Timothy P.

Is the meat put on the flatbread raw or am I missing where the meat it to be cooked?

Janelle C.

The meat on the flatbread should be left raw.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Paula K.

Can almond milk be substituted for the yogurt in the dough?

Janelle C.

In this case, almond milk would not make a good substitute for the yogurt in the dough as we found that it makes a supple dough that's easy to work with and bakes up with a chewy-soft crumb and subtle richness.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Mary D.

Fabulous and pretty easy. I will try it with lamb the next time and probably use only a generous teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

John D.

Would ground turkey work with this? Will it cook enough from raw?

Janelle C.

Hi John,

There shouldn't be too much of a difference between the cooking times for ground turkey vs beef or lamb.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Mariano I.

Hello, could you please confirm if the amount of yogurt for the dough is 1/4 or 3/4 cups? The step-by-step section states 1/4, while the recipe says 3/4. Thanks!

Janelle C.

Hi Mariano,

You'll need 3/4 cups yogurt for the dough, not 1/4. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, we'll update this immediately.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

John D.

I tried drizzling tahini instead of yogurt, because of lactose intolerance- not bad! Also sprinkled on some chopped pistachios - added a nice crunch. Thanks for the recipe - having an Armenian heritage, it was nice to see a great recipe for something I used to eat as a kid in my grandparents home.

Randall K.

I have a grill top pizza oven, it is a dual fuel grill but I usually use Gas when making Pizza since it is easier to control. Do you think this would work in the grill top oven? Wondering about timing, maybe 5 minutes? Any advice would be appreciated.

John G.

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eva c.

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Michelle Y.

Tried it on the grill tonight. 5 minutes is correct for the crust. Next time I will precook the meet a little so that is more done at the end of 5 minutes on the grill. Beyond that, it was great. Thumbs up by the entire family!

Mary D.

My lamb topping shrinks on these when I bake it. I've bought ground lamb from a few different stores and it's always the same. Any tips appreciated!

Renee J.

Can these be frozen after baking with just the meat topping?

Lynn C.

Hi Renee -

We haven't tested freezing the baked flatbread, so we can't say for sure. It would probably be OK to freeze but might end up dry upon reheating. I might drizzle with a little bit of olive oil before re-heating and would recommend reheating on a sheet tray or baking steel in the oven.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Lori O.

This was crazy good and minimal effort. Followed recipe to the letter and used ground lamb. I had to run out and buy a pizza stone while the dough was rising but well worth it!


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Lahmajoun

Get Ready to Cook

2

12-inch flatbreads

2¼ hours

40 minutes active

Tip

Don’t undermix the dough in the food processor; it needs a full minute of processing to build structure and strength. The dough may be warm to the touch when done; this is normal. But when processing the meat mixture, don’t overdo it or the protein may get tough. Pulse only three or four times, just until combined.

For the dough:
  • 241

    grams (1¾ cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting

  • teaspoons instant yeast

  • ¾

    teaspoon table salt

  • ¾

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 1

    tablespoon honey

For shaping and topping:
  • 1

    small yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • ¼

    cup chopped drained roasted red peppers

  • 2

    tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2

    teaspoons smoked paprika

  • teaspoons ground cumin

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 8

    ounces 80 percent lean ground beef or ground lamb

  • ¼

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • Semolina flour, for dusting the pizza peel

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2

    cups (1 ounce) lightly packed baby arugula

Step 1 of 6

Prepare Dough

241
grams (1¾ cups) bread flour
teaspoons instant yeast
¾
teaspoon table salt
¾
cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1
tablespoon honey

To make the dough, in a food processor, combine the flour, yeast and salt; process until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the yogurt, honey and ¼ cup water.


Process until the mixture forms a ball, about 30 seconds; the dough should be tacky to the touch and should stick slightly to the sides of the bowl.


If it feels too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until incorporated. Continue to process until the dough is shiny and elastic, about 1 minute.

Step 2 of 6

Divide Dough

Bread flour, for dusting

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter. Flour your hands and knead a few times to form a smooth ball.


Divide the dough in half and form each half into a taut ball by rolling it against the counter in a circular motion under a cupped hand.


Space the balls about 6 inches apart on a lightly floured counter, then cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 1½ hours.

Step 3 of 6

Prepare Meat Topping

1
small yellow onion, roughly chopped
¼
cup chopped drained roasted red peppers
2
tablespoons tomato paste
2
teaspoons smoked paprika
teaspoons ground cumin
¾
teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
8
ounces 80 percent lean ground beef or ground lamb
¼
cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

Meanwhile, to make the topping, in a food processor, pulse the onion until finely chopped, about 5 pulses. Add the roasted peppers, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper.


Process until smooth, about 10 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the beef and pulse just until incorporated, 3 or 4 pulses.


Transfer to a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and 1 tablespoon water, adding more water as needed to thin to drizzling consistency. Cover both bowls and refrigerate until needed.

Step 4 of 6

Shape Flatbreads

Bread flour, for dusting

About 1 hour before shaping the dough, heat the oven to 500°F with a baking steel or stone on the upper-middle rack. Working one at a time, gently stretch each dough ball on a lightly floured counter to an oval approximately 6 inches wide and 12 inches long.

Step 5 of 6

Bake Flatbreads

Semolina flour, for dusting the pizza peel
1
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Dust a baking peel, inverted baking sheet or rimless cookie sheet with semolina. Transfer one shaped dough to the peel and, if needed, reshape into an oval. Brush the entire surface with 1 tablespoon of oil.


Using a spatula, spread half the meat mixture on the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Slide the dough onto the the baking steel and bake until well browned, 9 to 12 minutes.

Step 6 of 6

Finish and Serve

1
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2
cups (1 ounce) lightly packed baby arugula

Using the peel, transfer the flatbread to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, oil and meat mixture. After the second flatbread has cooled on the rack for a couple minutes, top both with the arugula. Drizzle with yogurt, then serve.

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