Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Nan-e Barbari or Persian Breakfast Bread

I'm really pleased that I've joined 'A' in baking some Persian bread......and as you can see from the big chunk that's missing from it on the cooling rack ....it's really delicious....You can't help just break a bit off when you pass by! It actually tastes much better than it looks. Even though I did try to decorate it after noticing that it had moulded to the lettering on the breadboard, I actually went and found an old Indian woodblock which must have been used to print sari's at some point that my aunty had given me. I gave it a good wash and then tried to decorate the bread with. As you can see it didn't really work!

It tastes a little like a mixture between pitta and ciabatta bread and I think would make a good pizza base too. It's really simple as bread making goes, but you have to make it over a long period of time because the first proving takes three hours.

It's called Nan-e Barbari and is usually thought of as breakfast bread but it isn't sweet so I think could be served at any time.

You will need to make four breads:-

1 level teaspoon of dry yeast
120ml/4 1/2 Fluid ounces of tepid water
500g/1 1b of strong white flour
1 heaped teaspoon of salt
85-110 ml/3-4 fl oz of cold water

. Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.

. Mix the salt and flour together and slowly add the yeast mixture bringing it together.

. Slowly add the cold water and knead the bread until it's smooth and elastic. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

. Cover with a clean damp tea towel and then cover with plastic and leave in a warm place for three hours, or overnight.

. Flour your hands and knead the bread for a few minutes and then leave to prove for a further hour.

. Heat the oven with a flat baking sheet in it to 240 degrees c/475 f/gas mark 9

. Flour a work surface and knead the dough for a few minutes then divide into four equal sized portions. Pull with your hands into an oval shape about 30cm long/12 inches.

Some people make a glaze of flour, baking soda and warm water. I tried this but it's bit messy to work with it and I don't think the bread needs it. You could alternatively use milk or an egg glaze if you like. It's also traditional to sprinkle the bread with sesame seeds if you like too.

. Put onto the hot tray and bake for about 7 minutes til it's slightly risen and a light golden brown colour....making sure that the underneath is cooked properly. Cool on a rack. It's lovely served warm and freezes well.

It's lovely with humus and salad.

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