Babari – A Persian Bread
3 1/4 cups bread flour (if not available, add 1 tbs gluten per cup of all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 ounces active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 -1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
cornmeal (for bottom of pan)
poppy seeds or sesame seed
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup water
- Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in 1/2 c water, then let the mixture sit for a few minutes to proof (foam).
- Mix bread flour, baking powder and salt together. Make a well in the flour, and slowly incorporate the yeast mixture, and then the remaining 1 cup of water.
- Knead 15 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
- Divide dough into 2 round pieces.
- Sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal, transfer the dough to it. Lightly cover and place in a warm place until doubled in bulk (~1.5 hours).
- Meanwhile, bring the glaze ingredients to a boil, let cool. Brush lightly over the dough.
- Now for the tricky part! Dip your fingers into the glaze, and punch the dough down with the edges of your hands to form several long parallel ridges along the dough.
- Brush the dough with the glaze again, and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Carefully stretch the dough lengthwise (it should be approximately 8 inches wide and 18 long– I never measured it!) until it is about 1/4-1/2″ thick.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden. The bread should be slightly flexible when done. If you overcook it (as I did in my first attempt- by 8 minutes), it will turn out more like ciabatta (still good anyway)!