Persian Taftoon Bread
by fariba Rajabi
Hmm, first you might think that it looks like chaapati bread; and in fact, you are almost right! Flat breads like Taftoon and Chaapati are like cousins. What makes them different, is just the addition of ghee to chaapati at the end! That is all the difference. Both of them share the same ingredients and kneading process. In bakeries, they make them in open clay ovens (tandoor); but here I have adopted the house-hold Indian style of bread making! Bread making is a task that Persian women left behind when they immigrated to large cities, and left the job to the bakers. Now, with help of Indian ladies who are great modern bread makers, I have mastered making my own home country flat bread just on my stove. The cooked bread smells exactly the same as the traditionally prepared bread, and my whole kitchen becomes like a fairy place where I walk into my past memories.
I would wait in the line-up at the bakery and just drowned in watching speedy bakers. Their work looked magical to me, thinking it would be impossible to make those breads with my own hands. Now, I am here with making it for my family; not dependent to the proud bakers who thought they were the only ones who can make bread!
By and large, bread making is been a great experience in my life, and has totally changed my perspective. It has reconnected me to my roots, like my great grand mothers who baked and fed their family with bread and love. I follow their legacy and blow a great deal of love to my dough! It smells heavenly, tastes delicious, and every bite transfers that great deal of love.
In my recipe, I use a little oil since it helps the dough to be softer and easier to work with. It also increases the breads’ shelf life. You can totally omit oil to get 100 percent Taftoon dough. You can use this bread for making wraps, or serve it with fetta cheese omelet and Haleem. It is also great with cream and honey mix for breakfast. I sometimes simply bite into the plain bread since it is just so delicious by its own.
I will teach you how to make Persian Haleem (a traditional warm cereal) in another blog post.
2 full cups bread flour, sifted twice, extra for coating
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp (30 gr) softened butter or olive oil
About 2/3 cup warm water
cast iron or heavy skillet
small grilling net
Add the flour into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the salt and incorporate. Then, pour the oil and massage into flour.
Start adding the water slowly and mix with with your fingers until the dough starts to come together. Add enough water that the dough is very soft and does not stick to your hand.
Continue kneading the dough for one more minute and form the dough into a ball. Cover with a plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes knead the dough for another 1minute. Make small portions of large as small tangerine. This amount of dough will make 9-10 small breads. form the portions into balls. ِRoll the dough pieces in a small bowl of flour.
Heat the flat pan on medium heat. Dust the surface with a little flour and roll the each dough into a very thin round shape. After each roll, turn the dough ninety degree to the right. Roll and turn until you get a round shape. The thickness should be 1-2 mm. .
Place the flattened dough on hot pan. When the top part starts to pop up check the bottom part; if it is golden, turn it over. With your spatula, press down the corners that you think are not well cooked into the pan. It helps those areas to be cooked. Remove the golden brown bread from the pan and place it over a clean cloth in a clean container.
Cook other portions and keep the warm. Serve the bread warm.