For this month's We Knead to Bake project, we made Komaj, a Persian bread spiced with turmeric and cumin, stuffed with buttery date filling. For my filling, I used both dates and dried apricots. Aparna has adopted this recipe from Saraban - A Chef's Journey Through Persia by Greg and Lucy Malouf.
Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
Warm water - 1/8 cup
Bread flour - 3 3/4 cups
Cumin seeds - 2 1/2 tsp, toasted and lightly crushed
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1 (optional), I didn't use it.
Warm milk - 2/3 cup , since I skipped the egg, I added 2 to 3 tbsp extra milk
Olive oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
For the filling:
Dried and pitted dates - 8, chopped (15 if apricots are not used)
Dried apricots - 8, chopped (optional)
Unsalted butter - 2 tbsp, at room temperature
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Milk / cream for brushing the dough
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
- Dissolve the yeast in war water and keep aside for 10 minutes or until it becomes frothy
- Put the flour, 2 tsp of the crushed cumin seeds, sugar, turmeric powder and salt in the food processor and pulse it for couple of time to mix.
- Then add the yeast mixture and the egg if you are using. Pulse until incorporated.
- Now add the milk (2/3 cup + 2 tbsp) and olive oil, and knead until it forms a smooth and pliable dough that is not sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn to coat the dough and cover loosely. let it rise until it has doubled (about and hour or so).
- When the dough has risen, deflate it and then shape into a ball. Put it back in the bowl for a second rise (about an hour).
- In the meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped dates, apricots, soft butter and cardamom.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
- Divide the dough in to 4 equal portions, and divide again to get 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is about between 1/4" and 1/8" thick.
- Choose a cookie cutter that s about 8 cm wide. Press it down lightly in one half of the rectangle to guide you to put the filling.
- Brush a little water over the entire surface to make sure the dough would stick well when folded. Then place about 1 tsp of the filling in the center of the cookie outline and then fold the other half of the rectangle over the filling. Using the same cookie cutter cut out the bun, making sure the sides are neat and well sealed.
- Repeat with the remaining portions of the dough. Then re roll the scraps and you should be able to make two more buns. Place the buns on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave some space between the buns. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Brush the buns with milk and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of crushed cumin on top and press it lightly. Bake the Komaj at 400 degree F. for about 8 to 10 minutes..
- Let them cool on a rack. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm with tea or coffee. These are best eaten the day they are made. Leftovers can be reheated and eaten the net day.