May 9, 2012

Barbari (Persian Sesame Bread)

This bread is light in texture, a good accompaniment to chili. My only issue with the bread was my sesame seeds did not stay in place, perhaps a lack of olive oil before sprinkling with the seeds.

Barbari (Persian Sesame Bread)
1 tsp. honey
1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp. dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to glaze
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Stir the honey into 2/3 cup warm water, and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

In separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the dissolved yeast to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl, and let the sponge rise until frothy, about 20 minutes.

Pour half the remaining water and olive oil into the well. Mix in the remainder of the flour. Add reserved water, as needed, to form a firm, moist dough. Knead until smooth and shiny. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down dough, and let it rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough equally into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a round, approximately 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425° F. Preheat 2 baking sheets lined with Silipats. Use your fingertips to gently make 9 dimpled indentations on the top of each dough. Brush liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Transfer doughs to preheated baking sheets, and bake 20 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding. Cool on wire racks. Makes 4 small loaves (or 4 enormous hamburger buns if you think like my husband's uncle).

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