After enjoying the success of my new bread-making in a sourdough class at the weekend, (I made the very tasty Borodinsky bread) I was looking forward to joining another Bread Ahead class, this time for flatbreads. I’ve done a few Bread Ahead courses over the year, including the aforementioned sourdough one earlier in the week, and I was excited to revisit making lavash and pitta bread, as well as learning how to make Persian flatbread, Sangak. Unfortunately, yesterday my class was cancelled with no new date set for the future. This was a little frustrating as I’d already made the dough for the Sangak the day before, ready to use in the class. I decided to take matters into my own hand, followed the brief instructions in the course notes, and try and finish it off myself.
Sangak, meaning little stone, is one of Iran’s favourite flat-breads, named for its traditional cooking method where it is cooked over lots of small pebbles in a hot oven. I hadn’t heard of Sangak before, but after a little research, I learned that it’s a popular accompaniment to popular Persian dishes such as Fesanjoon and Adasi, and in fact goes with just about anything, at any time of the day.
As I said, I’d already made the dough for the Sangak and had it resting in my fridge for almost 36 hours. A sticky, shaggy dough, made with some rye sourdough starter and wholemeal flour, I was convinced it would come together very well but I left it on the side for an hour or so to come round to room temperature.
The simple instructions told me to divide the dough in two, stretch each one out into a long rectangle, before poking my fingers right through it to give the impression it had been cooked over the small stones. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any idea how thick or thin it should be, or if it should be soft or crunchy: information I’m sure would have become clear during the class. I trusted my instinct, stretched it the width of my tray, and cooked it until it coloured a little on top. It was a bit uneven in thickness, but it looked, and smelled, delicious.
I read lots of posts about eating it for breakfast with feta and walnuts, which I happened to have, so I paired it with that, some crunchy peppers, cucumber, and spring onion, and the only fresh herb I had on hand, some basil. I drizzled some olive oil over the veggies and cheese, and squeezed a little lemon, before piling everything on to the fresh, hot bread.
I have no idea if I’ve made it correctly, but whatever I did make tasted really good. The long time in the fridge had enhanced the sourdough flavour, and the combination of textures with the soft feta and crunchy walnut on top of the holey bread was a real treat.
Yes, I should have maybe looked at another recipe to fill in the gaps, but actually, it was quite fun following the sparse instructions, like waiting to see what would come out of the oven. The Sangak was very simple to make, and if I had an excess of active sourdough starter in the future I’d definitely make it again!