Noon Barbari - Persian flatbread

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I recently made a Barbari using a recipe from an Iranian source. I 'Googled' Barbari and was met with a plethora of images : breads of different thicknesses, shapes and even consistencies. As it was, I wanted a small roll-style barbari for dinner that night so I went with : which I called 'Iranian Flatbread'. 

Over on BreadClub20 it started something of a furore. Bakers commented that it was the wrong shape, they claimed a different thickness and they kept referring me to other sites and recipes. 

And then I discovered that Barbari is what you want it to be...even amongst Persian bakers, it takes on different guises. In her fabulous book Persiana, Sabrina Ghayour makes a Barbari that looks closer to a fougasse, along with two vertical slits the length of the bread. I also discovered 'varieties' of barbari, such as non barbari and noon barbari. Clearly, it's not a level playing field. 

What to do? Well, there's only one thing to do in these situations. Weigh the varied opinions and seek out an 'authentic voice'. 

Homa, who calls herself a 'Persian Mama' is fluent in Farsi, Azeri and English. She grew up in Iran and moved to the USA after high school. Now living in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, she offers her experience, knowledge, skills and recipes online at 'Persian Mama'. I thought. 'Her credentials are good enough for me...let's make Noon Barbari."


for the dough

5 gms instant yeast

¾ teaspoon granulated sugar

480 gms tepid filtered water (as 2 x 240 gms)

539 gms strong white bread flour

10 gms sea salt

for the glaze

1 teaspoon all purpose / plain flour

60 gms cold water

¼ teaspoon baking soda or bicarbonate of soda (same quantities)

60 gms boiling water

to garnish

2 - 3 teaspoons of white or / and black sesame seeds


1. Mix the flours and the salt in a large bowl. 

2. Add the yeast and the sugar and mix

3. Add 240 gms of tepid water and mix. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. 

4. Gradually work in the rest of the tepid water. The dough will be very sticky. Continue to mix until all the flour and water has been combined. 

There is no need to knead nor is it necessary to add any further flour. 

5. Cover the bowl and place somewhere warm for about 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in volume. 

6. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a pan, add 60 gms of cold water and 1 teaspoon of flour. Mix thoroughly. Place the pan on a medium heat and immediately add 60 gms of boiling water and ¼ teaspoon baking soda / bicarbonate of soda. Interestingly, the Farsi word for the glaze is 'roomal'...the same word in Hindi means 'hankerchief'......

7. Cook and stir constantly until it reaches a slow boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. It will thicken as it cools. 

8. Liberally flour the work surface. 

9. Gently tip the dough out onto the work surface and divide (by eye) into three portions. The dough will be very sticky so make sure you flour the dough and your hands. 

10. Gently make into three balls of dough (dust them with flour). Try to avoid punishing the dough...just handle it very gently.  Let the three balls of dough rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 

Preheat your oven to 'Full' (240⁰C or higher if you can). Preheat a pizza stone in the oven at the same time.  Use a middle shelf. 

11. After 10 minutes and being very gentle, shape ONE of the dough balls into an oval - about 9 x 6 (inches). 

12. Using your fingertips, spread about 1 tablespoon of the glaze over one side of the oval. 

13. With your fingers touching, make several rows of deep indentations along the length of the dough. You should be aiming to make long deep grooves in the dough without tearing it.

14. Sprinkle ⅓ of the sesame seeds evenly over the ovals. Rest the oval for 5 minutes. 

15. Carefully lift the ovals and transfer to parchment paper. Be careful the dough may need to be released from the worktop using a spatula, fish slice or bench tool. 

16. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn the paper and bake for a further five minutes. 

While the first oval is baking, shape and glaze the second oval ready for the oven. As one is removed, start to bake the second...and then the third.....

Cool on a rack. 

Ready for an early dinner

When the bread is cool, dust the flour off the barbari

This bread is at its best flavour and texture fresh out of the oven. It is lovely with feta, grapes, sliced cucumbers, walnuts, olives, dips or with Sabzi Khordan.

Sabzi Khordan - fresh herbs and vegetables

Noon Barbari will freeze.....when you're ready, thaw and reheat at 200⁰C for 5 minutes. 

Happy baking.....


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