Last September when I travelled to Yazd and Naeen, I met a very "simpatico" young baker. He's name was Ali, he generously gave me his turmeric dry bread recipe and he showed me how he baked the turmeric dry flat bread in his Tanoor, and also he gave me some tips on how to make it in the conventional ovens. I'm still working on the turmeric dry flatb bread recipe but meanwhile I was making a burger at home, I thought it will be a great idea to use the same ingredients to make a simple burger bun too.
In central Iran where my grandparents come from, fire, light, food cooked on fire and sun dried ingredients are a big part of the culinary culture. The concept of sun and fire still are as important as they were thousands of years ago. In Yazd you can find one of the 9 Zoroastrian Atashkadeh in the wrold; Yazd Atash Behrem, which its fire is stated to have been burning since about 470 AD. Apart of that, there are ingredients that are a reminder of the sacred fire. The most important one is Saffron which it's been a sacred food in Iran since thousands of years. Turmeric instead came to Iran later from India and East Asia and became very popular among people who did not have access to Saffron or couldn't afford to have it. Nowadays both are considered the two most important ingredients of the Persian cuisine.
The use of turmeric is very common in the central regions of Iran. Especially for bread, different types of seeds such as Nigella and dry flowers are also added to garnish and to add flavor. Many of those breads are cooked in Tanoor ovens until completely dry, as you can see in the picture - Ali's Tanoor is a modern one built in a traditional way. Dry breads are easier to keep and are perfect to accompany Persian minestrone such as Ash-e Reshteh or cold Persian soups, such as Abdugh Khiar. To eat the dry bread with cheese, herbs and other non-liquid meals it is quickly soaked in water right before eating. Soaked in milk with some date or raisins is a perfect and healthy breakfast for many in Central Iran.
Soon I will share the turmeric dry flat bread recipe too, but for now, hope you enjoy these super easy to make, soft and lovely Turmeric buns with nigella seeds.
Making 8 big buns or 16 medium/small buns
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 teaspoon hot water
- 9-10 g dry active yeast
- 200 g warm water
- 30 g sugar
- 485 g bread flour (w260) - I use this
- 1 free range egg
- 35 g butter
- 7 g salt
For the top:
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- a pinch of Turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- In a small bowl, mix the turmeric powder with hot water until you have a thick paste. Set aside.
- In a big bowl mix the yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour, then add about a cup of your warm water. Let it be for about 10-15 minutes, until bubbly and foamy on top which also shows that your yeast is alive and active.
- Then add the egg, melted butter, sugar, salt and the turmeric paste, whisk the ingredients well before adding the rest of the flour.
- Use a fork or a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until you can not work it anymore - transfer the dough into a clean surface and work the dough by hand at least for 10 minutes or until you have very smooth, beautiful yellowish dough!
- If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour your hands and work the dough, by working it, it'll be less sticky and more manageable. In fact it should be sticky, elastic and soft dough but it shouldn't stick to your hands.
- Make a beautiful round ball, grease the bowl with some olive oil, place the dough inside the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 2 hours or until double in size.
- Take the dough out, knock the air out of the dough and place it in lightly floured surface. lightly flour the top, press the dough down and delicately shape it into a retangular. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces for 8 large buns or to 16 for 16 medium/small buns. Shape each dough into a mini loaf.
- Prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the buns on the sheet and press them down - making a (not too flat) round shape breads, about 2 cm thick.
- Very lightly flour the buns and just place a loose plastic wrap on top of it, with no pressure and no wrapping - to prevent drying the buns and to help them rise easily for about 1 hour, or until double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 190C - in a small bowl, mix an egg, milk and a pinch of turmeric for extra yellow buns. When the oven is hot and ready, brush the buns very gently with the mixture and sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
- Bake the buns in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown on top.
Main Recipe by Chef John