Sangak Bread نان سنگک or Persian flatbread is a traditional bread of Iran and many other central Asian countries.
Nan-e sangak is whole wheat leavened flatbread and the national bread of Iran. Its shape can be either triangular or rectangular, and it comes in two main varieties: plain and special, which is topped with poppy and sesame seeds. The name sangak refers to the old method of baking the bread, meaning little stones, because it is traditionally baked in a dome-shaped oven with a surface full of pebbles and stones.
The bread can be prepared in a way that its length is about two feet, which is enough to feed a whole family. In the past, sangak was the main bread of the Persian Army, and each soldier carried a bag filled with pebbles, which were used to cook the bread for the whole army.
Today, sangak is often decorated when served, especially at festivities such as weddings and New Year. In Iran, the bread is often consumed with lamb kebabs, and it is a typical accompaniment to kale pache, a dish made with sheep’s head and feet.
How To Make Iranian Bread: Sangak Recipe
Note: This basic recipe can make around six loaves of sangak bread.
- Two and a half cups of warm water
- Four cups sifted whole wheat flour
- One tablespoon dry yeast
- Four tablespoons sesame seeds
- Two teaspoons salt
- Peanut and cooking oil, as needed
Also, you would need to have gravel stones on hand for making sangak. While you can make sangak without cooking it on the stones, the roughness and texture created by the stones impart a certain flavor and feel to the sangak that separates it from other kinds of leavened bread.
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the yeast and about a quarter cup of water and let it stand for five minutes. Add the salt and a cup and a half of water and let the mixture stand for another ten minutes. Then slowly add in the remaining water and the flour. Mix everything until the dough becomes smooth.
2. Coat the bottom of a larger bowl with cooking oil. Transfer the dough into this bowl and cover it with a piece of a damp cloth. Let the dough rise by leaving it in a warm dark place overnight.
3. Preheat your oven to its highest setting. A wood-burning oven that burns around 700 degrees is very ideal for making sangak bread. A home oven with a baking stone is great too. You would need to spread your pebbles over the stone and heat them too.
4. While the oven is heating up, you need to knead the dough thoroughly with well-oiled hands for around twenty to fifteen minutes. To prevent the dough from sticking, you can also oil your work area. Divide the dough into six pieces.
5. Flatten the dough pieces until they’re half an inch thick. You can also perforate the dough sheet randomly in a few spots to better aid in cooking. But don’t be so fussy if the dough isn’t stretched out evenly though! The inconsistent thickness makes for a better-textured sangak. Sprinkle the dough with sesame seeds.
6. Brush the pebbles, baking stone, or rack with peanut oil. Transfer the dough sheet into the baking stone and cook for about a minute while pressing on it with a baker’s peel.
Flip the dough, cook it on its other side for three minutes, then flip it again, and cook for another two minutes. After this procedure has been done, remove the sangak from the baking stone using the peel, and remove any pebbles that have stuck to the bread as needed. Repeat for the other dough pieces.
7. While sangak bread is best served hot and fresh, you can keep it warm by wrapping it in clean towels before serving. You may also freeze it, and just reheat it if if you want to serve it again.