Nan-e Barbari (Persian flat bread)
This bread holds a special place in my heart. I grew up with it at every meal and it's my favorite bread, ever. My dad would come home with stacks of fresh barbari and I would be so excited to eat a slice of the fresh bread as he would cut them up. Since we ate this every day, he would buy them by the dozen and freeze them. Feel free to do the same with your leftovers!
Persians eat nan-e barbari with several different things. At breakfast, we eat it with hot sweet tea, feta cheese, walnuts, and herbs or with jam and butter. At my house, we also eat it with every Persian rice dish because we're all obsessed with carbs. It's also great with potato salad, eggplant dips, and hummus! My mom used to make us sandwiches with barbari and I remember being at school thinking it was so weird that no one else was eating the same bread as me. Since it was such a staple at our house, I just assumed everyone knew what it was.
I used black and white sesame seeds to top the barbari, but it's more traditionally made with nigella seeds and white sesame seeds. It's also important that this be made with bread flour and not all purpose flour if you want the crunchy exterior and chewy interior.
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
- 2 tsp white sesame seeds
- In a stand mixer bowl, combine active dry yeast, sugar, and water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add in salt and bread flour. With your hook attachment, mix on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough will stick to bottom of bowl.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough, adding bread flour as needed to prevent sticking, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a large bowl coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm spot for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and form into 2 ovals. Put the ovals to an greased baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the all-purpose flour, vegetable oil, baking soda, and water. Cook over low-medium heat, whisking the whole time until thickened, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Place a pizza stone on the lower third of oven and preheat the oven to 450°. Let stone heat at least 30 minutes before cooking bread.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on a pizza peel. Punch down 1 piece of the dough and press the dough to a 14-by-6-inch rectangle on the parchment paper.
- Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and press 5-6 lengthwise ridges into the dough, making sure you don't push all the way through the dough.
- Brush dough with cooked flour paste and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
- Slide dough from peel with the parchment paper onto hot stone and bake until golden brown on top, about 15–18 minutes.
- Repeat with the second half of the dough