A saffron-flavored flatbread, Sheermal is similar to Naan and can be served as a sweet bread for breakfast or tea time or a savory bread to accompany curries, soups or kebabs. It is found in the countries of Pakistan, India, Iran and Bangladesh and is of Persian origins. Slightly different from Naan in that milk replaces the warm water used in preparation of the dough. Traditionally, the sheermal is cooked in a clay oven called a Tandoor, but a conventional oven produces a very good bread. Sheermal is the November bread for the We Knead to Bake Facebook baking group. Our lovely admin, Aparna has the recipe on My Diverse Kitchen.
A few ingredients in this recipe for Sheermal sound very exotic, such as kerwra (screw pine extract) and rose water, however each flavor can be an acquired taste and can be left out all together. Crushed cardamon, a pungent and aromatic spice, and a member of the ginger family can be substituted for the kerwra and rose water. The saffron is essential and makes a lovely color sheermal.
Hipstamatic image of Sheermal
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 1/2 cup milk, more, if needed
- 1 teaspoon chewer water or rose water-Omit if desired, use 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom
- A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tablespoon warm milk
- Melted butter, for brushing
- Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water together. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until frothy. Place the flour, salt and crushed cardamom, if using,in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg. Pulse a few times to mix well. Add the 1/2 the ghee and pulse a few times, then add the remaining ghee. Pulse a few times until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
- Add enough milk and rose water or kewra, if using. Then knead until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
- Remove the tea towel, and knead the dough again. Shape into a ball, lightly coat with some of the ghee and let rest for about 15-20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and using your fingers, press out each portion into a 4 inch round (1/8-inch thick). Place the rounds on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Using a fork, prick holes over the whole surface of the dough rounds.
- Brush the dough rounds generously with the saffron milk mixture. Bake at 350°F or 180C for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Do not over bake. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the shells with melted butter or more ghee. Serve warm.
This bread has been submitted to Yeastspotting.
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