This bread has fast become a favourite of mine, its just that good, I’ve had it as an accompaniment with hummus, soup, curry and I’ve even used if for cheese on toast. The only downside is, that it doesn’t last very long at all, I can bake one on a Sunday afternoon and by the time I get home from work on a Monday evening, its gone. The prime suspect being my girlfriend who never leaves me any.
This recipe is actually taken from Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana cookbook which I must say is an excellent read. It has some great recipes and is definitely worth a purchase either for yourself or as a great gift for a loved one or friend. Her recipes from the Middle East & Beyond are full of flavour and with another one of my favourite books, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem are my go to cookbooks when I fancy something a little bit different.
I recommended this bread to my parents who were having a dinner party serving lamb curry. It was an alternative to naan bread and was perfect for them as it acted as a centre piece for the table and everyone could just dig in and help themselves.
It’s an easy bread to get started on, if your a little bit nervous about making your own bread as the ingredients are simple, and once you’ve found a kneading technique that your comfortable with, it just gets easier and I personally think its extremely fun and relaxing. But its a bread that even a competent bread maker should try as its fluffy like texture and great appearance is not to be missed.
Kneading – My best tip for kneading is too keep it fun. There are no set rules or methods on how knead, keep experimenting and trying new things until you find a method that you feel comfortable with.
I personally like to use a stretch and fold technique, where I use the heel of my hand to push down and stretch the dough, and then use my fingertips to fold the end furthest away back over on itself, before doing a quarter turn and starting all over again.
Ingredients: (1 Loaf)
- 1 x 7g Sachet Fast Action Yeast
- 250ml Luke Warm Water
- 350g Strong White Bread Flour
- 1 Heaped Tbsp Sea Salt
- 35ml Olive Oil
- 25g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
- Nigella/ Poppy Seeds (To Scatter On Top)
- Stir the yeast into 25ml of the warm water, then allow it to rest for a few minutes until it has dissolved. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the flour and sea salt and make a well in the centre.
- Pour in the remaining warm water and 25ml of the olive oil as well as the yeast dissolved in water and combine using your hands until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is too sticky add some more flour.
- On a clean floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes.
- Once kneaded allow the dough to rest for around 10 minutes before kneading it again for 2 minutes. Repeat this process another 3 times, and on the second, incorporate the remaining 10ml of olive oil.
- Once this process is complete return the dough to the bowl, cover it with cling film or a tea towel and leave it to rest for 3 hours.
- Once the resting period is over, the dough would of tripled in size. You will now be able to elongate the dough ball gently by stretching if from both ends. If your struggling just use a rolling pin and roll it out into a long flat shape, roughly around 30cm long and 1cm thick.
- Place the shaped dough on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, make 2 lengthways incisions away from each end as per the photos. This will stop the bread from rising too much is the middle and losing the title of a flatbread.
- Cover the baking tray with a clean towel and leave the dough somewhere warm for a further 30 minutes to allow it to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 7. Once the bread has risen, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with nigella/ poppy seeds.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving and enjoy.