Chorak refers to a variety of breads prepared in Azerbaijan, ranging from the paper-thin sheets of "Lavash" to the dark, round, whole-wheat Russian-style loaves, such as Karpij Chorak (brick bread), Agh Chorak (white bread) and Gara Chorak (black bread). There is also Damiryol Chorayi which means railroad bread and Bulka which is a slightly sweet bread roll. In Azerbaijan, fresh breads are available all day long, daily from the local bakery or at distribution points nearby. The bread pictured here is called "tandir chorayi" (oven-bread). Bread is a "must" with every meal and serves as one of the main sources of carbohydrates in the Azerbaijani diet. Bread is usually sliced and set beside each individual plate. Generally, for guests, tandir chorayi is preferred. During Soviet times, bread was made in state-owned factories. It was a substantial, round loaf weighing more than a pound. Since independence, more and more private bakeries have opened up. Loaves are becoming smaller now that people are more conscious of their weight. One popular type is a Turkish-style white bread (turk chorayi), similar to a French baguette. Certain breads disappeared from Azerbaijan following the Soviet takeover in 1920, including sangak , which is a flatbread (usually about 20 x 40 inches long) made from whole wheat sourdough and baked in a tandir oven. (See photo essay, page 45, where the sangak is hung up on display.) Because sangak is made by hand, the Soviets opted for mass production of loaves, and sangak soon passed into oblivion. Fortunately, sangak is still widely available in Iran (South Azerbaijan).

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