I didn’t even get a chance to be nervous about whether anyone would make this month’s bread! The first BBBuddy email arrived on the very same day I posted the recipe!
Bread Baking Buddies (BBB): Nan e Barbari (Persian Flatbread)
This June, the BBBabes really got down to basics (well mostly) to make the Persian Flatbread, Nan e Barbari. I really thought there might be a few more who would be brave and mix this by hand, but I have learned that people really do love their electric stand mixers! And everyone used their ovens to bake the bread. It’s good to see that the oven works well for baking the bread. It means we can have Persian Flatbread in the winter too. Here is the recipe we used.
The BBBuddies are from all over the world, this month hailing from India, Israel, Scotland, Switzerland, Thailand and various parts of Canada and the USA.
Here, with no further ado, are the June 2013 Buddies (in alphabetical order by first name):
Aparna, My Diverse Kitchen
One of the things I really like about Aparna’s informative post is that she amalgamated the recipe I found with one she already had seen in “Ultimate Bread” by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. Following their lead, she added honey to our recipe. Her bread does look beautiful! She also linked to two handy YouTube videos Barbari Bread Recipe (nan or noon barbari) and how to bake Barbari at home) Aparna was one of the intrepid ones who hand-kneaded and said, “The kneading method here is a bit unusual, as one has to literally beat it into submission. I’m not joking!” I am doubly impressed that she says the dough must pass the window-pane test. But what pleases me most is how much she and her family liked the bread. She wrote, “This bread was an unqualified success with all of us.”
Carola, Sweet and That’s it
As usual, Carola posted in English and Italian starting by saying, “The 16th of each month is one of my favourite dates” “Il 16 di ogni mese è una delle mie date preferite”. How lovely! Carola was very brave and substituted Spelt flour for Wheat flour. She did have a little trouble with the hand-kneading and after some struggling with a gloppy mess, she switched to using her stand mixer. She wrote, “While making it I’ve became aware of something very important: I do need to practice "hand kneading". I’ve been so spoiled by my stand mixer that unfortunately I did not succeed as I had wished.” I keep wondering if some of Carola’s difficulties resulted from using Spelt flour instead of Wheat flour. Happily, in spite of her difficulties, Carola persisted and was determined to get good bread. And she succeeded: “We had some bread the same night I’ve baked it and it was crispy and delicious – absolutely delicious. […] Abbiamo assaggiato il pane la sera che l’ho sfornato ed era croccante e delizioso…veramente delizioso. “. Si, Carola, si! Davvero!
Cathy, Bread Experience
Cathy wasn’t in the mood for mishaps so she made an executive decision to add a little more flour right from the outset. And in spite of suffering from Tennis elbow, Cathy still hand-kneaded the bread. Yay, Cathy! But because of her elbow, she decided to use Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread kneading technique, saying “Basically, you do a series of turns and folds in the bowl.”. I do like Chad Robertson’s folding in the bowl method. But it’s not nearly as fun as the Bertinet lift, turn and slap down. “Baking this bread was a good stress reliever and it was delicious!” I hope that when Cathy’s tennis elbow gets better, she’ll give it a try. It’s a GREAT stress reliever.
Claire, Claire’s Baking Journey
(I’m having fits!!! I CANNOT get Claire’s picture to show up here. I’ll fight with it later.) Claire had quite an adventure making the bread. And I know it’s wrong wrong wrong to laugh at the misfortunes of others, but I fear I cannot help myself. Claire noted that when boiling the Romal, it does want to foam up and boil over. I did notice that the last time I made the Romal but it was long after I had posted the recipe. Remind me to put a cautionary note about that on the recipe. I must say that I’m thrilled to see that Claire mixed her dough by hand. “After a lot of slapping, folding, scraping off hands and more folding the dough was still very wet. I performed some stretch and folds during the first rise, hoping the dough would strengthen, which it did, a little. […] I had to skip the stretching of the loafs because they were glued to the baking paper”. And still her bread turned out beautifully with well defined ridges. In her email to me, she said she served the bread with olive tapenade, goat’s cheese and smoked peppers. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect things to have with this bread?
Connie, My Discovery of Bread
As wonderful as Connie’s bread looks, I loved even more the description of her monsoon garden! “[…] there’s the fresh smell of water in the air and the sound of all the frogs in the pond sounding almost as loud as the pouring rain. The sky looks grey, but there’s always a bit of blue in the far distant even if you can’t see it.” After reading that, how can anyone be depressed by rain? But the monsoon did make this bread even more challenging for Connie. She chose to use her electric mixer and also added a bit more flour. But still it sounds like her dough was very very slack. She wrote, “When I poured it out of the mixing bowl I left it as it was. In fact I can say I have a non-shaped flatbread. The difficult part was when I poured the dough onto my floured work counter and had to transfer it to the floured parchment paper. It’s too bad she didn’t get a chance to put in the ridges but even so her bread looks wonderful. How clever of her to put sesame seeds AND garlic on top. Clearly, it was a good decision: “And the best part is Peter’s smile when he finishes the last piece of Nan and he says: ‘and again delicious bread on our table'”.
Dewi, ~ e l r a ~
As usual, Dewi’s bread looks stunningly beautiful. She made two loaves, sprinkling one with nigella seeds and the other with za’atar. I’ve GOT to try the bread with za’atar! I bet it’s fabulous. The other thing I’ve got to try is the stew that Dewi served with her Nan e Barbari: “Couldn’t be more perfect to accompany my humble Rhubarb Stew (Khoresh – e Rivas) I made today. This […is…] delicious flat bread. I will definitely make it again each time I make persian stew.”.
Gilad, Gilad Ayalon Vegan
Gilad’s post is in Hebrew but thanks to the wonders of Google translation, I was able to get the gist of what he wrote. I really like these first two sentences on his post: מקור המתכון מכאן.
אם אני עושה לחם אירני והאירניים יעשו לחם ישראלי (מה זה בדיוק? פיתה?), האם זה יקרב את השלום?
(Awkward as it is, thank Goodness for Google Translate!) Here is my attempt at cleaning up the translation: If I make Iranian bread in Israel and Iranians make Israeli bread (what exactly? Pita?), will that bring peace? Let’s hope so.” What a shame that he got a strange odor from the bread. I’m thinking that there must be a decided difference in ingredients between the baking powder and/or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) available to him and those same ingredients that are available to us. But Gilad assured me in email that he liked the shaping technique so much that he will be making the bread again. Gilad served his bread with tahini. That sounds good too! Especially if the bread is garnished with sesame seeds.
Karen, Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Beautiful!! Karen had the same thoughts as I did and said, “The aroma as it was baking was amazing. This is one of those breads that you want to stick your face close to just to inhale its fresh baked goodness (bread geeks do this).” Karen used her convection oven and I’m so glad to hear that baking it there works so well. She served it warm with Boursin cheese. Oooh, now I need to try that too!
Louise, BBB and Friends on Facebook
Louise doesn’t have a blog but posted the photo of her bread on Facebook. I jumped for joy that she set her KA aside this time and hand-kneaded, something she doesn’t normally do. She wrote, “I could really feel the gluten adding structure as I continued to knead.” She added, “some interesting fun for my husband, as he tried this totally new (for us) bread” It’s always so wonderful when others seem to be as excited about new (to them) techniques as I am. Personally, I couldn’t get over how fabulous this bread was, in spite of the slack slack slack dough. And how, again, in spite of the slack slack slack dough, it allowed for these spectacular ridges. I really love how well-defined the ridges on Louise’s bread are. And the white sesame seeds look beautiful!
For people who do not have access to FB, Louise wrote the following description:
This is my third time baking as a Buddy with the BBB. Thank you to Elizabeth for the recipe and for all the posters who warned what a slack dough it is. I used my KA, and then kneaded by hand for good measure. As I did, I was able to feel the gluten develop more structure in the dough, and then I was able to form the two balls. All went well after that, and we enjoyed a new (for us) bread.
I was thrilled to get email from Rita on the very day that we posted this month’s BBB recipe! Wow! THAT is fast work! Rita noticed a chemical smell when she baked the bread. Rita’s page doesn’t say where she lives but I believe she is somewhere in Europe. I have to wonder WHAT is in baking powder and/or baking soda in other parts of the world. Still, she didn’t “tell the test panel what was in the bread, but both immediatly said it reminds them of Pretzels! They liked the bread very much, specially the Romal topping!”. How great is that? I do love a happy ending!
Sandie, Crumbs of Love
Like Connie, Sandie was in the middle of a monsoon. Except the monsoon she was experiencing was unprecedented because she lives in Calgary. Happily, she lives on higher ground and was not one of the many who were forced to evacuate. She was having phone difficulties though (only able to receive calls). And yet, she made BBB bread! What a trooper! As with all calamitous news, now that some people are returning to their homes, we are not hearing quite so much. But I do hope that Calgary recovers sooner than expected (the last I heard was that it would be ten years before the downtown would recover completely). Sandie’s bread looks fabulous! And I love the sound of black sesame seeds, golden flax seeds, course salt and a generous sprinkling of sumac that she used! The thing I really like is that Sandie affirms that the bread is “easy and oh so delicious”. I suppose I should note that she caved in and used her stand mixer. But she does plan to make it by hand and very kindly links to the video we made of the kneading technique I use. She even pleads with her readers to look at it, saying “This is a great bread to make by hand. I wish I had. Next time.” I can’t wait to hear how her hand-kneaded version turns out. I can’t imagine it will be much better than her machine mixed version that she served with roasted asparagus, preserved lemon vinaigrette, and bits of preserved lemon. Oh My! Doesn’t that sound good?
BBBuddies, you are the BBBest!!
If I missed posting about anyone’s BBB Nan e Barbari, please do let me know.
- email me with your name and a link to your post (please type “BBB June 2013 bread” in the subject heading)
- leave a comment on this post that you have baked the bread, leaving a link back to your post.
And of course, if you haven’t made it yet, just because the deadline is past, I hope that won’t stop you from making Nan e Barbari. You won’t be sorry. It’s that good.
edit 1 July 2013: EEEEeeeeeeek!!! I left out Louise Persson’s blurb in the initial draft. Luckily, I noticed my error relatively early (only about 24 hours late :stomp:) and have now inserted it into the roundup. Sorry about that, Louise
Now, have I left anyone else out? I hope not! I hope not!!
Bread Baking Babes