Author Topic: Iran - Persian Barbari Bread or Snowshoe Bread (Nan-e Barbari)  (Read 4673 times)

Olga Drozd

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This popular bread is common in Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan, and the recipe varies a great deal from place to place. In Afghanistan, it is primarily made with whole wheat flour, but in Iran, it is often made with white flour. The dough is first shaped into a flat disk, allowed to sit for 15 minutes, and then "potholed" all over with very wet fingers.  Then the wet dough is picked up and stretched, forming approximately the shape of a snowshoe, and immediately put into a hot oven. Use this bread to put toppings on for breakfast, appetizers or snacks. It's best baked on a hot baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, but you can use a heated jelly roll pan about 18 X 12 inch. I used a heated jelly roll pan, but don't grease the pan until you are about to put the bread on it and just grease lightly where the bread is to be placed on. You can make this bread using only white flour if you wish.


2 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour or Bread flour

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used 4 cups)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nigella seeds, or 1 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)


1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cups water

Place the water in a large bowl, add the yeast, and stir to dissolve.  Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose flour and stir well, then stir for about 1 minute, always in the same direction. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight or as long as 12 hours.  The longer wait helps develop flavor.

BREAD: To the starter, sprinkle on the salt, then add another cup of flour, and baking soda and stir it. Continue adding flour and stirring until you can stir no longer.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, incorporating flour as needed, until the dough is smooth, and easy handle, about 10 minutes.  This is a soft dough.

Place the dough in a large clean bowl, cover well with plastic wrap, and let rise until more than doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.

Gently push the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, on a rack on the second level from the bottom.  Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Meanwhile, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Shape each into a flat oval approximately 5 inches wide by 8 inches long.  Leave these disks out on your work surface, covered with plastic wrap, to rise for 15 to 20 minutes. 

GLAZE: Mix the dipping/ glazing liquid together and bring it to a boil, remove from heat and let it cool down.

Ten minutes after the oven has preheated, begin shaping the first bread.  If you are using a baking sheet rather than a stone or tiles, place the sheet in the the hot oven to heat up.

Brush bread with glaze and then dip your fingers in the liquid, then beginning at one end of the disk of dough, make tightly spaced indentations all over the surface pressing down firmly with your fingertips and re-wetting them as necessary, until the dough looks pitted and wet.

Stretch the dough gently into a long oval strip by draping it over the back of both hands and pulling them apart gently.  The dough should stretch and give, and after several tries will extend to make an oval 16 inches long with attractive marks along it.  Brush again with the liquid and sprinkle seeds if you wish. NOTE: Don't overstretch the dough or you will have crackers when baked.

If using jelly roll pan, remove it from the hot oven and lightly grease where the bread will go and place it in the oven. If using the the hot stone or tiles pick up the bread with both hands and place it directly on the hot stone or tiles.  While the bread bakes, begin to shape the next bread.

The cooking time for each bread is approximately 4 or more minutes, you will soon develop a rhythm so that you can bake two breads sided by side, one going in when he other is half done. NOTE: The bread on the baking sheet took longer to bake about 6 to 8 minutes.

To keep the breads warm and soft, wrap them in a cotton cloth 5 minutes after they come out of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 flatbreads, about 3 inches wide and 16 to 18 inches long, with hollows along the length of the bread. Wrap in plastic wrap when cooled. Note: To make larger breads as in Afghanistan, divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces.  Shape each bread so it is both longer and wider.  Makes 4 to 6 flatbreads.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 10:19:25 AM by Olga Drozd »