Persian Flatbreads

One of the best memories I have of my travels around Iran is buying bread in the morning, which was our breakfast meal with some fresh cheese and dates. We would get each ingredient from different vendors in the market and eat in one of the amazing squares. In each city we found different styles of bread, but it’s usually flat and cooked in a tandoor oven. Of course, reproducing a tandoor oven at home is not really possible, so the best way you can cook this flatbread is on a hot non-stick frying pan. This simple recipe, taken from the stunning book Saffron Tales, is not only an exotic exploration from the usual ways of making bread, but also a great solution for those midweek evenings when you don’t really have the time to go through the whole bread making process. Makes 16 flat breads, which must be consumed on the spot, so reduce your ingredients if you need less.

350g strong white flour
100g whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
300ml luke warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
A 22cm diameter frying pan

Step 1 – Place all the solids in a bowl and add the olive oil, mixing it to the flour with your hands, to achieve a crumbly texture.

Step 2 – Add the water and start kneading with your hands, so you start creating an homogeneous dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and keep kneading until you have a soft and sticky dough.

Step 3 – Make the dough in a tidy ball and place it in a bowl. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes. I let mine rest longer because I wanted to make sure dinner was ready so I could make the flat breads at last, and serve them hot.

Step 4 – After rest, make 16 small balls of similar weight out of the dough. Then on a floured surface, flatten one ball with your fingers, cover it in flour on both sides and with a rolling pin roll it to the size of the pan. Repeat the process for each ball and then start the cooking process.

Step 5 – Place the pan on the stove at a medium-high heat. When the bottom of the pan is hot, place the first disc of dough on it. When the bread starts making bubbles, turn it to the other side. You should have a sense of when it’s cooked because it will start having dark spots where the bubbles have formed, you don’t want those to become burned. Place the flatbread in a tea towel to make sure it stays warm, and repeat the process until you cook all of them.

I had mine with homemade hummus and grilled aubergines. How will you have yours?


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2 thoughts on “Persian Flatbreads

    1. You find flatbread a bit everywhere in the world (see tortillas, crepes, focaccia, pita…), because it was the first version of bread at all. In the past, nomadic tribes had a need to make bread quickly and on the go, so this was the best way. I love chapati, but next time we might try naan!

      Liked by 1 person

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