Monday, November 24, 2014

Sheermal (Saffron Flavored Flat Bread) ~ We Knead to Bake #22

For this month's We Knead to bake Challenge,  Aparna chose Sheermal.  Sheermal is a Naan-like milk bread, apparently of Persian origins, and it is suggested that the name comes from the Persian word for milk which is "sheer".  In India, this "milk" bread is predominantly found in Muslim neighborhoods of Kashmir, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

Sheermal is traditionally served for breakfast with tea, or served as a meal with rich mutton curry called Nihari.  It can also be served with vegetable korma.   Though the original recipe calls for an egg to add in the dough, I skipped using egg.  Still the bread turned out super soft.  As for the flavoring, again I skipped kevra or rose water and used orange blossom water instead.

Active dry yeast - 1 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Luke warm water - 1/4 cup
All-purpose flour - 2 1/4 cup
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Egg - 1, lightly beaten ( I skipped)
Ghee - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup (or more, as required for kneading)
Orange blossom water or rose water- 1 tsp
A few strands of saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
Melted butter, for brushing

  1. Mix the yeast in warm water with sugar and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. You may knead by hand or in a food processor.  Put the flour and salt in a bowl.  Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg (if you are using) and run the processor a couple of time to mix well.
  3. Then add the ghee gradually and pulse until it forms fine crumbs.  Add the orange blossom water.
  4. Add the milk as much as needed.  Knead until the dough comes together and forms a soft and slightly sticky dough.
  5. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a moist towel.  Let it rise until the dough is doubled in volume for about 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Remove the towel and knead once more. Shape into a ball and lightly coat with ghee.  Cover with moist towel and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
  8. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and using your finger, press each portion into a round disc (approximately 4" diameter and 1/8' thick).
  9. Place the rounds on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking tray.  Using a fork, dock (prick holes) the whole surface of the disc.
  10. Brush with saffron milk all over the disc.  Bake for about 10 o 15 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
  11. Take it out and immediately brush the bread with melted butter or ghee.  Serve warm.
  12. I served it with pineapple - habanero sauce.

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