Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bread Baking Babes Bake One For Summer

It's the time of year for cooking out of doors, with today in the U.S. being a big one...Father's Day. I was hoping to bake the June Bread Baking Babes bread, Nan e Barbari in the Weber but that didn't happen. Maybe next time. Our Kitchen of the Month hostess, Elizabeth of blog from OUR kitchen had us gather around the BBQ to make a lovely flatbread topped with seeds.

One of its virtues is that it can be started and baked the same day, plus it is an easy bread as long as you don't mind a very slack dough. Another virtue is that the slack dough, very hydrated, lends the finished bread a nice spongy texture with big and little holes, making it perfect for sopping up the last of the juices on the plate from whatever you made for dinner. Although my plan was to make lamb meatballs and veggie kebabs, in the end we had left over pot roast with delicious mushroom/red wine pan juices, plus the veggie kebabs (which will show up in the next post).

 Sweetie really enjoyed using pieces of the bread to soak up the rich sauce and he said he really liked the chewy texture, too.

I could see thin slices of this bread being toasted and used for bruchetta, too. It has a wonderful mellow flavor. So gather together some yeast, water and flour, plus a few seeds and some baking soda. Fire up the grill or oven and make it. Then get your Buddy badge by sending an e-mail to Elizabeth with a photo of your results and a few words about your bread baking experience.

I'm sending this to Yeastspotting, too. Susan of Wild Yeast hosts this weekly round-up of delicious yeasted breads and things made with them. Check it out!

Also, please visit the other Bread Baking Babes to see their take on this delightful flatbread. Links are on the right in the Web version of this blog.

Thank you Elizabeth for choosing this yummy flatbread for June...perfect for warm weather and the food that goes with it!  Here are Elizabeth's instructions, with some comments from me in Italics. By the way, I'm posting much later than I had thought I would because our daughter came over with her boyfriend and we went out the Sturgeon's Sawmill for Fathers' Day under the redwoods. I think they will be open again later in the summer, or in early fall. It's a great place to visit and to see how lumber used to be milled. Check it out if you are able to get to western Sonoma County this around September 14th or 15th.

Nan e Barbari (Persian flatbread)
based on Lida's recipe for Barbari Bread at

This is a same day bread. It takes 4-5 hours at most to make.

5 gm (~1.5 tsp) active dry yeast
360 gm (1.5 c) water, at 90F (32C)
60 gm (~0.5 c) 100% whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
360 gm (~2.75 c) unbleached all purpose flour (I used and additional 2 tablespoons of flour)
6 gm (1 tsp) salt
nigella seeds (or black sesame, poppy, sesame seeds) (I used sesame seeds)

1/2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
160 gm (2/3 c) 80 gm (1/3 c) water

1. Mixing the dough Pour the water into a largish bowl. Whisk in the yeast.

2. Add the flours, baking powder and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Kneading: Turn the dough out onto an UNfloured board. Wash and dry the mixing bowl. Please do not be tempted to skip this step.

4. Using both hands on either side of the dough and thumbs resting on the top in the center, lift it up and flip it over in the air before plopping it back down on the board. Fold the dough in half away from you as you plop the dough down. Keep repeating until the dough is smooth. Every so often, use the dough scraper to clean the board. Stretching the dough is desired on the turns. But this won't start happening right away. (Please look at this video for clarification.)

5. When the dough is smooth, place it in the clean mixing bowl (there is no need to oil the bowl). Cover the bowl with a plate and leave in a draft-free area to rise to double.

6. Prepare the sauce: Whisk flour, baking soda and water in a small pot. Bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

7. Pre-shaping: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scatter a light dusting of flour on the board and gently remove the risen dough onto it. Don't worry that the dough is quite slack. Cut the dough in half. Form each piece into a ball and place well apart on the cookie sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a plastic grocery bag and allow to rise to double in a draft-free area. (about an hour)

8. Final Shaping: Brush each round with the sauce. Really slather the sauce on. It will keep your hands from sticking to the dough.

9. Dip your fingers in the sauce and dimple the rounds down to form two ovals with lengthwise furrows. (Please see photos below; also see photos on the right side of the page at

10. Liberally brush ovals with the sauce once more and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Allow the ovals to stand for about 30 min.

11. Baking: Put a stone into the barbecue and preheat it to high. Before putting them onto the stone, pull each oval with your hands to lengthen it. Wet your hands so they won't stick to the ovals and pull the dough from the bottom with your palms facing downwards. (Please see photos below; also see photos on the right side of the page at

12. Put the lengthened ovals onto the hot stone. Move the stone over to cook the bread on indirect heat. Close the barbecue lid. Every so often turn the bread around to account for uneven heat in the barbecue. Cook the bread until it is golden (about 15 minutes).


1.) Water: Please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave (to create lukewarm water, add cold water until it is the correct temperature of 90F (32C). If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can do the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist.) Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

2.) Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Some of the other BBBabes said they detected a chemical flavour from the baking powder and/or the baking soda. If you're worried about it, it's probably safe to omit them entirely to let the yeast do all the leavening and the flour and water in the sauce (Romal) do all the caramelizing. (I used the baking soda in the sauce, but no baking powder in the bread...seemed fine.)

3.) Mixing: I always mix by hand, because we don't have an electric stand mixer. If you usually use your stand mixer to mix and knead, go to town and do so. But bear in mind that making this bread by hand is not only traditional, it's dead-easy and may well add flavor. Lida notes that if you are using a bread machine, you should add the main ingredients in the order suggested by your bread machine manual and continue to follow the manual instructions for mixing and kneading the dough. If you are determined to get your money's worth out of your electric stand mixer, I suspect that at least one of the other BBBabes has left instructions on her site about how to mix and knead using the machine. Then skip to the "pre-shaping" step. (I used my stand mixer because I was lacking patience worked just fine with the addition of 2 more tablespoons of flour.)

4.) Baking: If you do not have a barbecue, this bread can be baked in a conventional oven. Lida suggests baking it in a preheated 375F (190C) oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown. (I baked it in a 400 degree oven on a preheated baking stone, sliding the parchment with the shaped bread on it onto the stone. I baked them for 20 minutes each, baking the loaves one at a time.)

Serve the bread warm.


  1. Beautiful daughter and beautiful bread. You are right on about the slicing it, we used one loaf for sandwiches by doing that. Funny my plan was for lamb meatballs and just couldn't get there.

  2. It's nice to know that the bread turns out so well baked in the oven and when mixed and kneaded the 21st century way in an electric mixer. (I hope you try the hand-kneading version at least once though!)

    Ha! Slice this bread for Bruschetta? We didn't have any left to do that! Clearly I will have to bake more.

  3. Lovely slices, we just tore the bread into pieces (barbarians as we are here). Lovely sesame seed topping,yummy.

  4. Beautiful! It looks delicious. Love those big holes in it; perfect for dipping in balsamic vinegar!

  5. Too bad you didn't get to do it on the Weber - I would have loved to now how that turned out. Looks lovely as is, though!

  6. Such scenery so close by... must have been a gorgeous day out! I like the way your bread turned out, so dipping worthy!

  7. Anonymous8:24 PM

    How lucky you are to sit under the beautiful redwoods. I haven't been to CA in almost 10 years now- sigh... yummy looking bread, BTW!