I truly have a deep appreciation for bread, so I talk about it with anyone who is willing. A coworker and I have talked about bread on several occasions and he told me about a couple Persian flat breads that he loves, sangak and barbari. My coworker had his last day recently, so I decided it was a good time to try out one of the breads. The fact that sangak is cooked on stones was intriguing so I decided to try it out first.
This bread has been a welcomed challenge the past couple weeks. The only other flat bread I have made up to this point is naan, and the concept of cooking bread on stones was a bit foreign. First, I tried the recipe out with all-purpose flour since that’s what I had on hand. The depth of flavor wasn’t quite what I was thinking it should be, so I sought out whole wheat instead.
I also needed to tweak the recipe from the original after my initial try. There may have been a typo or the difference in climate and regional flours may have made the difference. Whatever the case, the ratio of dry to wet ingredients needed an adjustment. Excess moisture made the dough quite difficult to work with and shape.
This recipe is lovely in its simplicity. The base ingredients are whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water. The yeast is first crumbled into the flour, followed by the salt. Then the water is slowly added in. I’ve found it’s best to add water in a little at a time when nearing the maximum recommended amount to avoid over saturation.
Once the dough has come together into a smooth, firm dough, allow to rest for at least 8 hours. I know this seems a bit steep for a resting time, but this allows for the yeast to do its work and fermentation to properly take place. Fermentation allows the grains to be easier to digest. The resting time can take place over night, or during the day depending on what time you’d like to serve it. It’s fantastic served hot or at room temperature. I like to dip it in hummus for a quick lunch or snack.
Before working and shaping the dough, you’ll want to prepare your cooking area. Sangak is often cooked over an open fire or in a brick oven. Since I do not have access to an outdoor oven, I improvised with a cast iron skillet and stones. I placed the stones in the skillet, heated to a medium heat, and brushed both with peanut oil before placing the first piece.
I used peanut oil for its high smoking point. If you or someone you’ll be preparing the bread for is allergic to peanuts, here is a link with an oil smoking point chart: https://www.thespruceeats.com/smoking-points-of-fats-and-oils-1328753
Once the dough has rested, turn it out onto a work surface and knead for 10 to 20 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. The more practice you get kneading dough, you’ll get a feel for when the dough is ready. Cut the dough into eight approximately even pieces. One of the things I love most about flat breads is they don’t have to be even in size to cook well. (Sorry Paul Hollywood)
As long as they fit on the cooking surface being used, they’re perfect. 🙂
I sprinkled sesame seeds on my dough and ran the rolling pin over it a couple more times so the seeds didn’t fall off during transfer to the pan. Flip the dough, seed side down, into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the other side with additional seeds if desired.
Oil the bottom of a plate or other flat object to place on top of the bread. This helps the bread to take shape around the stones. I used a plate since it was just a bit bigger than the skillet.
Allow the bread to cook for 1 to 2 minutes and remove the plate. (The first flat bread may take longer if the pan is not yet fully heated). Use tongs to check the bread. It should have a bit of golden brown forming. Once it has reached your desired color, flip the bread and replace the plate.
Cover the finished bread with a cloth to keep warm if serving soon immediately. This bread can also be frozen, thawed, and reheated. I simply thawed mine out to eat with hummus and veggies. 🙂
4 cups/ 1lb 3.9 oz/ 563gm sifted whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon/ 0.4 oz/ 10gm dry yeast
2 teaspoons/ 0.4 oz/ 11gm salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups/ 12 to 16 fl oz/ 340 to 454 gm water
Cooking oil with high smoking point
For example peanut
- Measure out flour and crumble in yeast until well incorporated.
- Mix in salt and slowly add water. Add water until dough comes together as a smooth ball of dough.
- Allow dough to rest, covered for at least 8 hours. This can be done overnight or during the day.
- Before kneading dough, place stones in a cast iron skillet and heat on medium heat. Brush with oil once heated.
- Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for 10 to 20 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out first piece to be cooked and cover the others with a cloth to prevent drying of the dough. Add sesame seeds after rolling if desired.
- Place rolled out dough onto heated and oiled skillet seed side down and sprinkle opposite side with sesame seeds if desired. Oil the bottom of a plate or other flat object and place on top of skillet. This helps the dough form over the stones while cooking.
- Once first side has reached desired color, approximately 1 to 2 minutes, flip onto other side. The second side will take less time to cook.
- Serve immediately or freeze for future use.
- Adapted from: On the Gas https://onthegas.org/food/easy-sangak-bread-recipe
- Oil smoking points: https://www.thespruceeats.com/smoking-points-of-fats-and-oils-1328753