Nan-e-Barbari-Classic Flatbread

The most ancient of bread is the flatbread, often called the “original bread”. This bread was a crude mixture of grains  and water,  often cooked on hot stones by the nomadic tribes of long ago. Flattened dough cooked much faster than thicker dough and was easily carried from place to place. Somehow and it’s not known when or how, but wild yeast spores got into the dough which caused the dough to lighten and rise. Imagine the delight! 

I am so thrilled with this bread that I have made it twice more since baking it for this blog post. Split and toasted, it’s great with butter and jam! Also, split, filled with fresh mozzarella, dead ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil, the bread makes a delicious panini. The chewy texture and numerous holes remind me of ciabatta. And the recipes works so well in the dough cycle of my bread machine. Original recipe fromThe Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook and adapted recipe from King Arthur Flour Baking-Nan-e-Barbari. My version adds a teaspoon of sugar to encourage the yeast. One more thing mention-after rising and prep for the oven, a flour/water glaze is brushed over the dough. This roomal or glaze gives the bread a crispy chewy crust reminiscent of a true barbari oven. I have not make this in my wood-fired oven, but that is my next project. I used a heated pizza stone is my conventional oven which I recommend.



1-2/3 cups lukewarm water (in winter, increase water to 1-3/4 cups)

2-1/4 teaspoon active dry or bread machine yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons active dry or bread machine yeast

4 cups +3 tablespoons bread flour (I used King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour)

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1/1/2 teaspoons table salt


2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 sugar

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/3 cup cool water


2 teaspoons seeds of choice-sesame, nigella or poppy seeds or an everything bagel mix of seeds.


Combine dough ingredients in the pan of a bread machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your bread machine- OR mix ingredients with a stand mixer or with your hands. In your bread machine, process dough in the dough cycle, OR knead mixed dough until you have a smooth, somewhat soft dough. In bread machine, when dough cycle has completed, OR when your mixed dough has risen from about an hour in a lightly greased bowl.

Gently deflate dough and divide into two equal pieces. Shape into a log about 9-inches long. Tent the logs with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rest about 30 minutes.

While dough is resting, in a small saucepan, combine ingredients for the glaze. Bring to a light boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until glaze has thickened and coats a metal spoon. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450°F and place a pizza stone on the lowest rack. Preheat stone for at least 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, deflate and flatten into a 14-inch by 5-inch rectangle. Using your fingertips or the handle of a wooden spoon, pressed lengthwise grooves in the dough. Press firmly, but take care not to cut through the bottom of the dough.  Spread half the glaze over the dough and sprinkle with half the seeds. Slide bread onto the heated stone and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. 

Repeat with second piece of dough. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers well wrapped, for several days or freeze for longer storage.


Please do not use images or text without my permission. 


  1. Simona Carini
    July 7, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    Looks beautiful!

  2. Lynne Daley
    July 9, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Thank you, Simona!

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