Hazel recently picked up a flatbread called sangak from the Central Grand Market, a fabulous source for all edible things Lebanese Armenian in Glendale, California. It was chewy, still slightly crisp though it had been out of the oven for half an hour (the length of time it took to get from Glendale to my house and for us to tear into the bread), liberally dusted with sesame seeds, delicious with lebne and with the eggplant spread I’d made to go with it. I promptly began searching for recipes.
I found several, none quite what I was looking for, but this one gave me a place to start, as well as my favorite directions ever for dealing with bread dough: “Cover it and leave it to sit in a warm place for a few hours, until it has risen like a full moon. Beat it down and let it rise again, like hope, for all of another hour.”
The Iranian‘s recipe calls for baking on a bed of pebbles, which I don’t have. I do, however, have ceramic pie weights, which I figure are close enough. I expect a pizza stone would work just fine too, though it won’t give you a pebbled bottom.
Here’s my version. I’m still looking for the slightly sourdough-y flavor of the Central Grand Market’s bread, but this one is pretty good. And I don’t have to drive to Glendale to get it, which is a plus.
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon yeast (half a package)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 or 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
Dissolve the yeast in the water, then stir in the whole wheat flour and the salt. Set aside for half an hour or so, then stir in the remaining flour. I use my stand mixer and dough hook instead of kneading this by hand, but however you do it, you want to turn into it a smooth, elastic dough. You may find you need a little additional water to get the dough to come together. Add it just a spoonful at a time.
Let the dough rise, then punch it down and let it rise again–like hope–for a couple of hours. Or overnight in the fridge, which is pretty convenient. Heat the oven to 500 degrees, along with your pebbles, pizza stone or pie weights (safely contained in a jelly roll pan). Roll the dough out thin–I find this works best on an unfloured bread board–sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer carefully to the hot stone or pan.
Bake about five minutes, until golden brown. It will puff up a little. Remove from the oven and devour either straight or with hummus or any other dip of your desire. It’ll still be good cool, but why wait?