One of my favorite bread to enjoy with any meal from breakfast to dinner. Barbari (Bahr-bar-ee) is a staple alongside some of my favorite Persian stews and rice dishes. In the summer it’s perfect with feta style cheese and melons, or tea time with sour cherry jam and marmalades.
Easy to make, freezable, toastable, and always enjoyable! Have fun!
Persian Barbari Bread
1 1/2 cup warm water (100-105 degrees F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups + extra All-Purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 teaspoon white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons nigella seed (may substitute with poppy seed)
3 teaspoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup water
In a large mixing bowl, add the warm water. Be sure the water isn’t too hot, or you will kill the yeast. Add the sugar and salt, then mix. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to “bloom” and activate approximately 5 minutes.
To the bowl and using your hands ( you may also use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but it’s more fun using your hands) add 2 cups of the flour. Mix with your hands into a nice paste. Add and an additional cup of flour, again mixing in thoroughly. Finally, add the last cup of flour and continue mixing and kneading the dough.
The dough will be wet and slightly sticky (shaggy dough). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until it is a bit less sticky and more smooth.
Lightly oil the same mixing bowl and add the kneaded dough. Cover in plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise for at least one hour or until doubled in size.
In a small saucepan combine 3 teaspoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2/3 cup of water. Mix well, and set on the stove to heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it has thickened remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl to cool. Set aside.
Combine the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt or flakey sea salt along with the nigella seed (or poppyseed) and sesame seeds. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a large sheet pan (or two) with parchment paper. Once the dough has properly risen, divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface and using your fingers, press one of the half pieces out into a long oblong shape. Remember this is “rustic” so no need to be absolutely perfect unless you’re one of those kinds of people.
Press the dough out using the tips of your fingers, and keeping them wet with water helps too (set a bowl of water next to you). The shape should be long, oblong, able to fit on your large sheet pan, and about 1”-1/2” thick.
Using a pastry brush or your fingers, spread a light glaze of the thickened water, baking soda, and flour mixture over the top of the dough. This will give the top crust a chewy texture, almost like bagels. Carefully lift the Barbari and place on the lined sheet pan. Create rows on the top of your barbari with your finger running parallel to the next one from top to bottom; This is a characteristic of barbari. Continue the same procedure with the second piece of dough.
Sprinkle the seed mixture on top of the barbari evenly. Allow each barbari to rest and rise at least 15 minutes. Place the pan in your oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool just enough for you to handle. Serve the barbari whole or cut into squares, but just be sure to serve warm. Barbari is excellent with any meal period.