|Persian Date Bread with Turmeric and Cumin|
Little is known about Komaj, a Persian date bread with turmeric and cumin only that it is a sweet bread and possibly comes from the town of Mahan in the south-east of Iran. Iran is one of the largest producers of dates in the world and although India is the top producer and consumer of cumin, it grows in profusion in the south-east region of Iran.The original recipe comes from A Chef’s Journey Through Persia authored by Greg and Lucy Malouf and is adapted by Aparna (My Diverse Kitchen) for this 18th edition of We Knead to Bake, a Facebook group bread baking event.
The turmeric, most often used in curried dishes, lends a soft yellow color to the bread dough while the toasted crushed cumin seeds adds a jolt of flavor. The date filling is enhanced with cardamom, a slightly smoky spice with hints of lemon and mint. All these flavors add up to a delicious bread roll perfect with a cup of tea or sparkling water with a cucumber slice.
For the Dough
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/8 cup warm water
3-3/4 cups bread flour, if you don’t have it, all-purpose can be substituted
2-1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, optional
2/3 cups warm milk, plus additional for brushing dough
1-1/2 teaspoon olive oil
For the Filling
12-15 dried dates (the slight soft kind), pitted and cut into chunks
25 grams (about 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
4-5 pods (1-1/2 teaspoons)cardamom, powdered
icing sugar, optional
Below are instructions for processing the dough in a bread machine, but if the food processor method is preferred, please refer to Aparna’s post.
Combine the yeast and 1/8 cup of warm water in the pan of your bread machine. Let stand about 10 minutes until the yeast mixture has bubbled up a little. Add the remaining ingredients with 2 teaspoons of the crushed toasted cumin according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your bread machine. Process on the dough cycle. When cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface, deflate it and shape into a round. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour
Meanwhile, prepare the date filling by mixing together the chopped dates, softened butter and cardamom in a small bowl. Set aside while preparing the dough.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and divide again so you have a total of 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is between 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch thick. Choose a cookie cutter no larger than 3-inches wide. Press down lightly on the dough to create an impression as a guide for the filling. Brush lightly with water to ensure a good seal.
Filling and Baking the Bread Rolls
Preheat oven to 400°F.
On the rectangle of dough, place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of the impression made by the cookie cutter. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and using the same cookie cutter, cut out the bun, making sure the sides are neat and well-sealed. If the sides are not sealed, the bun will swell up and open up during the baking.
Repeat process above with the remaining portions of dough, re-rolling the scraps of dough to make around 10 buns. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet leaving space for them to rise during baking. Let sit about 15 minutes.
Brush dough with a little milk or an egg wash, if you use it. Sprinkle the remaining crushed cumin seed, pressing down with your fingers. Bake about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the rack about 5 minutes, then dust with icing sugar, if desired. Best served warm the day they are baked, but leftovers can be reheated the next day. Serve with beverage of choice. Makes 10 komaj.
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