Naan-e Barbari (Barbari Bread )
Also called Naan-e Tabrizi (Tabrizi bread) for its connection to the snowy city of Tabriz, North West of Iran, neighboring Turkey. My parents are from this region, but my brother and I were raised in the province of Esfahan, and had the privilege of learning both Farsi and Turkish (Azeri dialect).
I have a foggy memory of being sent with my cousins( Elham & Mehdi) to buy this bread, and tediously tolerated the hour long line-up that snaked out of bakery well into the street. Traditionally this bread is baked in a tanoor, an earth oven with burning charcoal inside, where the rolled out bread dough is slabbed onto the walls to be cooked. The old timer here, is cooking a different kind of bread in a rather small tanoor, something you might see in the villages.
I’d wait a whole day for the same bread now, but here in the West, we can make due with an oven and your preferred bread flour. The soup that you see in the picture is Persian barley soup. See here for recipe.
Making this bread is not labor intensive, but does require 6 hours to allow the dough to rise. Consider starting earlier in the day. The first time I embarked on making this bread, I finished around mid-night. By that time no one was awake to enjoy it at its freshest.
Ingredients ( 2 loaves):
- 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast
- 1.5 cups warm water
- 1/2 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 1/4- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour ( If you’d like to use whole wheat flour use about 1/2 cup less flour)
- 2 Tbs oil
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (for dusting)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp flour
- 1 Tbs warm water
- 1/2 Tbs sesame seeds or nigella seeds ( also called black caraway seeds)
Time~ Prep: 30 min Rising: 6 hr Cook: 12 min each
- In a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in 1.5 cups of warm water then add the sugar and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Add the salt to the yeast mixture and mix well.
- Gradually add 3 cups of the flour and stir constantly ’till you have a sticky dough
- Add 1/2 tablespoon oil and mix with your hands for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead for about 15 minutes (add the rest of the flour if the dough is sticky)
- Pour 1.5 tablespoons oil into another wide bowl and place the dough over it.
- Cover the bowl entirely with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 4 hours in a warm dark place (oven or pantry).
- Punch the air out of the dough with your fist a couple of times while it is still in the bowl and flip it over. Cover with a clean damp towel and allow to rise 2 more hours.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C) for at least 20 minutes and prepare the glaze by mixing together all the listed ingredients in a small bowl ’till smooth.
- With oily hands divide the dough into 2 balls and place each on a lightly oiled surface.
- Use an oiled rolling pin to roll each ball out to an approximately 14×8-inch oval shape.
- Place loaves on an oiled surface, cover with a towel, and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Dust the baking sheet with the cornmeal.
- Brush the glaze down the length of the dough with your fingers and make some dents on
- the top of the loaf and sprinkle the tops with seeds.
- Immediately slide the dough into the bottom shelf of a hot oven, cornmeal side down and bake for 8 minutes.
- Turn over and bake for 2 to 4 minutes longer.
- Repeat for second loaf.
- Remove the bread from the oven and slide it onto cooling rack.
Congratulations you are now done!
Serve fresh and use as you would toast.
When done wrap in aluminum foil and leave at room temperature. Toast before serving.
The dried bread is perfect for soups.