To my wonderful inlaws in Ballard, Washington I brought this gift last night. While making the bread I had my doubts regarding the strange procedure—scorch the bottom of the dough on a skillet, broil the top in the oven–why? They appeared to be amoebic pancakes, sprung to life from wet, primordial dough. And yet, viola, they taste wonderful!
Pebbled Persian Bread: Hushva Naan
Recipe of Iran, from Flatbreads and Flavors
1 tablespoon yeast (or a cup of sourdough starter)
3 ½ cups warm water
7 cups whole wheat
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
Mix 3 cups of the water and yeast in a large bowl, then add 3 cups of flour. Stir for about a minute or 100 times in the same direction to start developing the gluten, then add the salt and as much more flour as you need to make a nice dough. Knead for about 8 minutes till it’s smooth and elastic. Let rise till doubled, 1-2 hours.
Punch down. Add the remaining ½ cup water to the dough, and knead until it is absorbed. Cover and let rise until it has yet again doubled.
Punch down and divide into 8 even pieces. Position an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler element. Preheat broiler, have a bowl of water ready.
Place the dough on a moistened work surface and push into an 8 inch round. The surface of the dough will be irregular and bumpy with fingermarks.
Cook for 3 minutes on the stove, and then transfer the skillet to the broiler and broil for 4 minutes or until top has begun to brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm.
4.5 stars. This cookbook doesn’t have pictures, so I never know if I’m getting close to what the authors intended, and because I’ve never been to no less dined in Persia, I have no idea if Pebbled Persian Bread means to look like this, like whole-wheat bear claws. Even if I’m wrong, whatever I’ve concocted based on the instructions here is a culinary experiment gone right. The bread is extremely moist and I enjoy the taste of it on its own, but would also make great dipping bread for some kind of masala.
And because this bread went to your folks, KP, this one is also dedicated to you. I love you, sorry I’m away.