This Healthy Persian Barbari Bread is a must try for those who love baking bread. Crusty outside, tender inside, super tasty and nutritious!
Much has been written about the famous Persian barbari bread. I fell in love with it the very first time I had tasted it, decades ago, during one of my out of town visits. To my chagrin, I found out that this delicious bread was not available in the town where I lived.
I had to learn to make it. It was a long journey, trying to self teach myself this recipe. Only for it to be further perfected under the expert eyes of my father in law, who had grown up watching street side bakers skillfully make them. And now I have successfully made this for years, so much, that I could perhaps make it in my sleep! Well, that was a stretch! But the point is – making this bread had become a habit for me.
However, one thing always bothered me about this bread – much like French bread it is typically prepared with refined flour. I wanted to prepare a healthier version of this bread. I tried many different approaches.
Finally, I tested this recipe for a healthy Persian barbari bread with the addition of wheat bran and flaxseed meal in various proportions and found what worked best! Adding the bran and flaxseed meal to the dough in the final stage, once the gluten network was already developed, worked very well. It resulted in a super product – tasty and nutritious.
Wheat bran and flaxseeds are great sources of dietary fiber. And flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fats. Both, dietary fiber and omega-3 fats are very important for human health and have numerous benefits. Sesame seeds and black seeds along with flaxseeds, have come to be known as “Superfood” seeds. Sesame seeds are a great source of zinc, which helps immune health. They also provide protein and dietary fiber. Black seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber; provide a good amount of protein, fat and certain minerals – calcium, magnesium, iron. These wonder seeds have been used for centuries to treat a whole host of illnesses in traditional eastern medicine.
So, lovers of bread and good nutrition, please do try this Healthy Persian Barbari Bread. I promise, you will not regret once you are successful. This bread is really…..really delish!
Naan-e Sangak or Noon-e Sangak is a favourite Iranian bread, usually made in bakeries using hot gravel stones (sang means stone). You may bake the bread without using any stones if you wish, although the special flavor and shape of the bread does come from using stones.
Mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes and then add salt and 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let this stand for 10 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the warm water, and flour while mixing until it becomes smooth and consistent. Use a new bowl that has been lined with 2 tablespoons of regular cooking oil. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, dark place overnight. The dough will have a chance to rise in this manner.
Warm the baking stone in the lower level of the oven at 500° F for approximately 15 minutes. Knead the dough with well-oiled hands for 15 minutes. Use an oiled surface to divide the dough into 6 pieces. Flatten the pieces to be 1/2 an inch thick. Sprinkle some flour on the baker’s peel and place the dough on one end of the peel. Using wet fingers, perforate the top of the loaf and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. You may also use poppy or nigella seeds or a mixture of all three kinds of seeds to taste.
Brush the oven rack with some peanut oil. Transfer the loaf onto the hot stone and return the rack to the oven. Bake for 1 minute and then press down the dough with the baker’s peel. Bake for an additional 3 minutes, turn over and bake for 2 minutes. Using the baker’s peel, remove the bread from the stone. Cover the bread to keep it warm. Repeat this procedure for all remaining loaves. Sangak bread is best served hot. You may keep the Sangak hot in the oven on a low temperature. You can also use clean towels to wrap before serving, and you may freeze the Sangak bread and reuse when needed.