Stone bread

Stone bread

Sangak

By
From
Saraban
Makes
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

Spotting a sangak baker on our travels was always cause for celebration as this bread had quickly become our favourite. Sangak – or stone bread – is so-called because it is baked on a bed of small pebbles spread over the base of the baker’s oven. These create a distinctive pattern of indentations on the base of the bread, while the surface puffs into lovely brown blisters. The wholemeal flour gives the bread a nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture.

You can, of course, make sangak on a baking tray and still enjoy the flavour and texture. If you want to go the whole way, you will need to find a selection of small, even-sized pebbles – anywhere from 1–5 centimetres is good. The pebbles must be thoroughly washed and dried, then liberally oiled, before use.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons dried yeast
180ml warm water
270g wholemeal flour
500g strong white flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
300ml tepid water

Method

  1. Dissolve the dried yeast in the warm water and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and make a well in the centre. Stir the yeast mixture into the tepid water, then gradually work into the flour with your hands. Knead on a slow speed for 10–15 minutes until very smooth and shiny. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Knock back the dough, then leave to prove for a further 20 minutes. Halfway through the proving time, scatter the oiled pebbles, if using, over the base of a large, heavy baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until very hot (otherwise just heat the baking tray in the oven).
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knock back. Divide into 6 portions and shape into oval balls. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out to a thin rectangle, about 30 cm x 20 cm. Transfer the dough to the hot baking tray and push it fairly firmly into the pebbles.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. When cooked, the bread should lift easily away from the pebbles. While the bread is baking, prepare the next piece of dough. Continue with the remaining balls of dough.
  6. Sangak is best eaten hot from the oven as it doesn’t keep quite as well as plain white bread.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
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