I love my flatbreads (pizza is namely one of them). I am not really a fan of those risen loaf bread, white, brioche, challah, etc. I am more of a pita, paratha and in this case, barbari guy. Barbari is actually an Iranian flatbread and it is usually serve with a stew. It is also largely known as Persian flatbread globally.
What I love about this bread is it's aromatic chewiness and at the same time crispy. Perhaps it is the sesame seeds which contribute to the amazing aroma. The final step before baking is almost like making a bagel or a pretzel which is boiling the dough in a baking soda solution. But for barbari, the baking soda solution or romal as they called it, is brushed onto the dough instead. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this flatbread as much as I do. Let's get started with the recipe.
(Make 4 bread)
Active Instant Dry Yeast, 3 TSP
Lukewarm Water, 1.5 Cup
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 454g
Baking Powder, 2 TSP
Sea Salt, 1 TSP
White Sesame Seeds, 1 TBSP
Black Sesame Seeds, 1 TBSP
Olive Oil, For Greasing
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 1 TBSP
Baking Soda, 1 TBSP
Water, 1/2 Cup
In a bowl, combine yeast and water.
Stir to dissolve the yeast. Stir, stir, stir.
Set aside for 10 mins or until becomes foamy.
In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt.
Mix to combine well. Mix, mix, mix.
Add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture.
Combine the mixture well until it becomes a dough. You can do this by hand or a spatula.
Once it becomes a dough, knead the dough inside the bowl until all the nooks and crannies of flour is kneaded into the dough, about 5 mins.
Transfer the dough onto a working surface and continue kneading for another 3 to 4 mins.
The dough should be soft, subtle and tacky, but not sticky. It should pass the "window-pane" test.
If the dough is too dry, add in water, 1 TBSP at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add in flour, 1 TBSP at a time.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces with a weight scale.
Lightly grease each dough ball with olive oil.
Transfer onto a baking tray.
Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 90 mins to 2 hrs or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is resting, prepare the romal.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, add flour, baking soda and water.
Stir until well combined.
*Make sure no lumps.*
Bring it up to a boil.
Once it starts to boil, remove from heat and set aside to cool down to room temperature.
Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough into working surface.
Using your hands to stretch the dough ball into a long rectangle or oblong shape to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
*As much as you're tempted to, do not use a rolling pin. It will knock out all the air pockets which will result in a dense and hard bread during final baking process.*
Using your fingers, dip into the romal and create slits lengthwise on the dough.
Transfer onto another baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Brush the dough with romal.
In a bowl combine white and black sesame seeds.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the dough.
Repeat the process for the remaining dough.
Cover with damp kitchen towels.
Set aside to rise for 45 mins.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius or 375 fahrenheit.
Wack into oven and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
Slice and serve with your favorite stew.