21
Feb

iran-sangak bakery copy

And here is my favourite of all Iranian breads, sangak, a large and very thin loaf that is pointed at one end and square at the other mainly because of the way the baker stretches the very wet doughΒ as he lays it on the floor of the oven which is covered with hot pebbles. You often find sangak bakeries attached to restaurants, either dizi or simply kebabs like in thisΒ post about such a place in Dubai — there is an important Iranian community in Dubai and as a result great Iranian food. The bakery in my pictures is in Tehran, at the back of a wonderful dizi restaurant where the owner stopped looking at fashion in the late 60’s, early 70’s. He was dressed in a white and black suit with flared trousers and wore a hat. Quite unexpected in a place where everyone looks rather drab (on the street) because the women have to cover their hair and hips and most men are in grey or dark suits.

iran-sangak bakery 2 copy

Sadly, I didn’t photograph him and I didn’t take a clip of the bread making when he took us to the back to show us the bakery section but Press TV did and even though their clip is rather boring not to mention the hideous fake Persepolis-like set, it gives you an idea of how the bread is made. And you can read more about it in my Saveur article when they put it online. I wonder if there is anywhere in London where one could have sangak bread. I doubt it somehow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhvBch-Lkyg&list=PLA30E6945F0BA2298&feature=mh_lolz


There is 16 comments on this post


  • Hi Anissa,
    twelve years ago, when I was living in London, I often went to a very unassuming albeit quite famous tiny place where they server what they called “persian organic” food. I can’t say if it was a true sangak, however after many years I still remember this this bread served with a gorgeous mix of fresh herbs and meat of your liking.
    From what I could see from Google street view it’s still open and is named Patogh, located in Crawford Place.
    It was a place for low budget, but I found the meal always delicious, so you may want to give a try.

    Tlaz

    PS: I own a little wood oven and one of the outstanding to-dos since a long time is to go gather some pebbles in the river and try to make “real” sangak πŸ˜‰ If I ever succeed, I’ll tell you.


  • the video is really good! Most likely what I ate was lavash bread, not sangak, but if you go there you can ask them if anyone does sangak.

    Cheers
    Tlaz


  • will do. thanks for letting me know and if you decide to make sangak, remember that the dough has to be very hydrated. look forward to hearing how it goes πŸ™‚


  • Oh God. That video backdrop is hideous. But at least it taught me that lavash is Iranian, never realized that.

    …and thanks for linking to my article Anissa! πŸ™‚


  • you are welcome arva. i have to say the decor in ur sangak place is pretty hideous too. rather spoiled your lovely pictures. shame they couldn’t just stick to simple white tiles like the place in tehran. must go there when i come to dubai πŸ™‚


  • One thing I don’t undestand is if the paddle where they place sangak is greased because that highly hydrated dough is very sticky, so how come that they drop it easily inside the oven?
    From what I see hydration must be between 70% and 80%.

    Tlaz


  • i don’t think it is greased although i cannot say for sure. i think that both dough and peel are moistened with water. if you look at the second picture you see the tap in the niche with the bucket and the rectangular tub must have water in it for the baker to wet his hands and the peel but i will ask to confirm πŸ™‚


  • If only we could temporarily replace the noisy decor in restaurants with white backdrops more conducive to food photography πŸ˜‰

    yes you must try the place when you come to Dubai, would love to get an expert opinion on it. We’ve got a huge crew of foodbloggers here who’d be up for accompanying you if you need help eating through that bread! πŸ™‚


  • i met some already at arwa (la mere culinaire). her lovely mother did a demo. it was great. i will let you know when i am next there and would love it if some of you joined me. excited to be having sangak outside of iran. mind you, some parts of dubai are a little iran πŸ™‚


  • Hi Anissa,
    I collected a half bag of pebbles in the week end, so the long march towards sangak has started πŸ™‚
    In the video he doesn’t mention the use of yeast in sangak or do you think he just assumed some yeast would be used anyway?


  • not sure. i will have to check and will let you know πŸ™‚


  • Hi Anissa,
    last Sunday I made my first sangak!
    Well, I still need to figure out how to make the dough detach perfectly from the paddle like in the video, that’s more challenging than expected.
    As far as I could see it doesn’t seem to be a question of water or oil on the paddle, it must be something else, may be 70% hydration instead of 80% or something like that.
    Apart from the “stickiness” problems, the flavor is fantastic, it’s amazing to see how different tastes the bread made on the pebbles, it was sooo good!

    I’ll try some more times, I want to get to the bottom of it πŸ˜‰

    Ciao!


  • great. i look forward to reading a post and seeing a picture once you have perfected it. if the bread didn’t come off the peel easily, what happened? did it tear? and how were you able to have it lay on the pebbles without the dough scrunching up? sorry about so many questions but it would be interesting to know not that i am about to try it. i have too many other recipes to test πŸ™‚


  • Anissa,
    some dough remained on the peel, however I managed to get the most layered on the hot pebbles. I did some research on the web after posting my last message and it turns out that various people suggest to grease hands and peel with peanut’s oil.
    I used olive oil which can be more dense than peanut oil, so I’ll give a try with that the next time.
    When I’ll get a nearly perfect sangak, I’ll put the recipe and pictures on the blog.

    Thanks!


  • great. look forward to it πŸ™‚


  • I was told that some kind of special soap is used to
    lubricate the paddle.
    I am not kidding, I was told this by a person who has been
    living in Iran for almost 50 years.

    Best regards

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