Nan-E Babari


 Prep Time : 20 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! We need options. Snack options. Bread options. This flatbread has an amazing crust that uses a special trick. And it looks striking and fabulous. Perfect for the holidays. It’s delicious and provides the perfect opportunity for a humble-brag… Shut down the snarks with your prowess and knowledge. And make the perfect accompaniment to a meal. All in one go. Efficiency is key at this time of year. If you’re hosting make a couple of these a few days ahead and refresh them in a hot oven for 10 minutes when they’re thawed. Or turn up at Christmas lunch with a warm fabulous contribution that smells like heaven. The key to the fabulous colour and chewy crust is a roux-like paste called roomal that is spread onto the dough before baking. It will change your life. To make this dough easier to handle and bake at home and still get great results I have reduced the amount of water from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with adding more water if you are a confident bread baker. To make more loaves just scale up. A little bit of math never hurt anyone…

Measure the water into a jug or bowl and add a pinch of sugar. It’s just a bit of food to get your yeast up and going. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and leave it to get all foamy.

Measure out the flour and salt into a large bowl. Mix the salt into the flour.

When the yeast is all frothy add the liquid to the flour. Use your hand to bring the dough together. It will be sticky and soft.

When the dough is reasonably mixed cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step – it makes your life a lot easier in the next steps. Because the flour has a bit of time to absorb some of the water the dough will be easier to handle.

Now with the dough still in the bowl, moisten your hand with a little water and fold the dough. Reach under the dough and grab a handful.

Pull it up and over the dough and stick it down.

Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Go around the bowl twice for a total of 8 folds. Cover the dough again and leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the folds 2 more times making 3 rounds of folding altogether. Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to double in size. The dough will have become springy and elastic by the time you have finished folding.

When the dough has risen tip it out onto the bench. Divide it into two equal pieces. Make a neat ball of each. As neat as you can. Pull the dough up and pinch it together on top.

Place each ball onto a piece of baking paper that is as big as your baking sheet. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. It will be much easier to stretch it out when the gluten is relaxed.

Use your fingers to push and stretch the dough out into a square-ish oval. If you find the dough is sticking to you moisten your hands with a little water. Your ovals should be about 30 cm long. If they’re a bit shorter and squarer then that’s fine too.

Leave the loaves to rise again until they have puffed up to about double. While this is happening make the roomal. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until thickened and opaque. Keep whisking while it cooks so you don’t get lumps. Scrape the paste into a small bowl the help it cool faster. Cover with a bit of plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin.

Heat the oven to 230C (450F) with your heaviest baking sheet inside. If you have a cast iron griddle that usually goes on the stove top use that.

When the loaves have puffed up use the tips of your fingers to make 5 parallel lines in the dough of one of the loaves. Press down so that the ridges stay clear. Dip the tips of your fingers in water to stop the dough from sticking.

Brush the top of the first loaf with the roomal. Do this gently so you don’t deflate the dough. Make sure it isn’t pooling in any of the lines. Sprinkle the top with sesame and nigella seeds and slide the loaf onto the hot baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is dark golden. If you use a griddle the baking time will be a bit shorter as it can hold more heat than a regular baking sheet. Don’t worry about it being stuck to the paper – it will release when the crust forms on the bottom.

When the first loaf comes out repeat the steps for creating the ridges and finishing the dough for the second loaf and bake. Do the finishing steps just before the loaf goes in the oven so the roomal doesn’t soak into the dough.

Let the loaves cool before slicing. This bread also makes a great sandwich – split the bread horizontally and fill with whatever takes your fancy!

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Nan-E Babari


Prep Time : 30 + 15 mins | Cook Time : 20 mins | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread | Makes : 2 small loaves

Fluffy inside and chewy outside – the perfect bread to accompany any meal.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 500 grams strong bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 350 mls warm water
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast

For the roomal:

  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water
  • sesame and nigella seeds for sprinkling

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowls and spoons
  • Baking sheet and parchment
  • Cast iron griddle (optional but awesome)

Directions:

Measure the water into a jug or bowl and add a pinch of sugar. It’s just a bit of food to get your yeast up and going. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and leave it to get all foamy.

Measure out the flour and salt into a large bowl. Mix the salt into the flour.

When the yeast is all frothy add the liquid to the flour. Use your hand to bring the dough together. It will be sticky and soft.

When the dough is reasonably mixed cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step – it makes your life a lot easier in the next steps. Because the flour has a bit of time to absorb some of the water the dough will be easier to handle.

Now moisten your hand with a little water and fold the dough. Reach under the dough and grab a handful.

Pull it up and over the dough and stick it down.

Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Go around the bowl twice for a total of 8 folds. Cover the dough again and leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the folds 2 more times making 3 rounds of folding altogether. Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place to double in size. The dough will have become springy and elastic by the time you have finished folding.

When the dough has risen tip it out onto the bench. Divide it into two equal pieces. Make a neat ball of each. As neat as you can. Pull the dough up and pinch it together on top.

Place each ball onto a piece of baking paper that is as big as your baking sheet. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. It will be much easier to stretch it out when the gluten is relaxed.

Use your fingers to push and stretch the dough out into a square-ish oval. If you find the dough is sticking to you moisten your hands with a little water. Your ovals should be about 30 cm long. If they’re a bit shorter and squarer then that’s fine too.

Leave the loaves to rise again until they have puffed up to about double. While this is happening make the roomal. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until thickened and opaque. Keep whisking while it cooks so you don’t get lumps. Scrape the paste into a small bowl the help it cool faster. Cover with a bit of plastic wrap so it doesn’t form a skin.

Heat the oven to 230C (450F) with your heaviest baking sheet inside. If you have a cast iron griddle that usually goes on the stove top use that.

When the loaves have puffed up use the tips of your fingers to make 5 parallel lines in the dough of one of the loaves. Press down so that the ridges stay clear. Dip the tips of your fingers in water to stop the dough from sticking.

Brush the top of the first loaf with the roomal. Do this gently so you don’t deflate the dough. Make sure it isn’t pooling in any of the lines.

Sprinkle the top with sesame and nigella seeds and slide the loaf onto the hot baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is dark golden. If you use a griddle the baking time will be a bit shorter as it can hold more heat than a regular baking sheet. Don’t worry about it being stuck to the paper – it will release when the crust forms on the bottom.

When the first loaf comes out repeat the steps for creating the ridges and finishing the dough for the second loaf and bake. Do the finishing steps just before the loaf goes in the oven so the roomal doesn’t soak into the dough.

Let the loaves cool before slicing. This bread also makes a great sandwich – split the bread horizontally and fill with whatever takes your fancy!

Cook’s Notes:

  • This recipe is for the traditional plain version of this bread. Experiment with adding a few herbs and spices to the dough – tarragon and black pepper would be delicious for example
  • If the dough is sticking to you, remember to moisten your hands a little to make it easier to handle the dough.

 – Eat this bread the day it is made or freeze for longer keeping. When thawed refresh in a hot oven for 10 minutes to restore the crust – 

Adapted from The Hot Bread Kitchen by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez.

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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