Nan E-Barbari

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This bread marks a milestone in my baking life. I bought the book ‘Hot Bread Kitchen’ just by looking at this bread on the cover almost a year ago. Ever since I would glance at it every once in a while and sweep my hands over the images trying to feel the texture of the bread through the pages. But I kept postponing the actual bake. I was very scared and somehow convinced I would make a mess of it. I read the recipe a few hundred times and would sigh every time as I slammed the book shut.

But I knew if I did not do it during this mega marathon, I would not get a better chance. I am baking breads almost every day for the past fortnight and felt a tad more confident, mostly due to very encouraging comments I got for my efforts so far. So I dived in and tried this phenomenal looking bread. Guess what, it turned out tasting simply divine.

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Nan-e-Barbari is a Persian flatbread and is known to be one of the thickest flatbreads. It is usually almost 3 feet in length and nearly one foot in breadth. It is served with cucumbers, olives and feta cheese though I totally recommend biting into its crispy crust as soon as it is baked. The crisp crust is on account of a glaze applied over the dough before baking which is called the ‘roomal’. The roomal or glaze is nothing but a mixture of flour, sugar, oil and water heated to form a thick paste and this glaze is what gives the nan its to-die-for crisp crust. The traditional barbari oven is specialized for baking barbari breads. The oven, always built within wall, is a masonry, brick-domed, wood-fired oven with a circular hearth and relatively flat dome. A typical barbari oven has an internal floor diameter of 300 centimeters (118 inches) and internal dome height of 60 centimeters (23.6 inches), which renders it a low-dome oven. If you are interested, you can read this very detailed account on this bread here.

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Country – Iran

Makes two 10″ breads

Recipe adapted from ‘The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook’

WHAT WE NEED

For the dough

All purpose flour                           2 cups

Lukewarm water                           1 cup

Instant yeast                                   1 tsp heaped

Salt                                                    1 tsp

Olive Oil for greasing

For the roomal

All purpose flour                           1 1/2 tsp

Sugar                                                1/4 tsp

Cool water                                       40 ml

Olive oil                                           4-5 drops

Toppings

Sesame seeds, caraway seeds and carom seeds to sprinkle

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the flour, lukewarm water, yeast and salt together and knead for 8-10 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic
  • Transfer it to a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap and set aside till the dough doubles in size, about an hour
  • Grease a baking tray or line it with parchment paper
  • Take out the dough and divide it into 2 equal portions
  • Take each dough portion and roll it into a rectangle approximately 10″ in length and 3 inches wide and place it on the baking tray
  • Loosely cover it with cling wrap and set aside for 30 minutes
  • In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients for the glaze – flour, water, oil and sugar.
  • Turn on the heat at medium and whisk the mixture using a fork till it becomes a paste, less than a minute
  • Set aside to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 235C
  • Lightly oil your fingers and make indents in the dough almost resembling 4-5 straight lines vertically
  • With a brush, spread the roomal / glaze generously on the dough
  • Sprinkle the sesame seeds, caraway seeds and carom seeds on top
  • Bake for 18 minutes by which time the top should have turned golden brown. Else wait for a minute or two more
  • Set it on a wirerack and let cool slightly
  • Serve with cucumbers, olives and feta cheese or have it as is
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. The recipe prescribed bread flour for the dough but I used all purpose flour.
  2. The toppings can be other seeds of your choice – nigella seeds, black sesame seeds, cumin seeds, etc.
  3. The bread stays good at room temperature if wrapped well in plastic upto a week. To store for longer time, freeze it

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This is my post for the mega marathon under the letter ‘N’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75