I have a story in the Saveur March issue about Iranian food. My first ever Iranian meal in London may have been an impossibly glamourous one at Ava Gardner‘s house (cooked by an Iranian friend of hers) which I describe at the beginning of my piece or it may have been an almost equally glamourous one at Alidad‘s house (cooked by his mother). Both meals were totally delicious. Since then, I have had many more fabulous Iranian meals — it is one of my favourite cuisines. Anyhow, the story is not yet online but it will eventually, like my previous one on Ramadan and Emirati food. Until then, I thought I would post a clip of bakers making lavash (or perhaps it’s nan-e taftoon; the difference is slight with the latter being a little thicker) in Tehran. Like elsewhere in the Middle East, bread is an essential part of Iranian meals and they have several different kinds. This one can be baked on a hot plate like the one in the top clip or in a tannur oven as in the clip below.

I can never remember which bread is which but I think that the bread baked on the hot plate is lavash and the one in the tannur is nan-e taftoon but I may be mistaken. Comments welcome!

There is 21 comments on this post

  • Love these little videos you put together. Any luck finding the recipe for proper halwa?

  • Hello Anissa. I read your article on Saveur about Iranian cuisine and I was taken by your stories and food experiences. The Iranians have such a long culinary history. I wish I could travel there!
    I looked at the recipes and I’m looking forward to trying many of them. The veal and kidney bean stew looks particularly interesting but I won’t be able to find the dried black lime (it looks extraordinary). Could you suggest a substitute, please?

    The videos above are both amazing. I can’t believe how fast the man in the second video is with the rolling out of the dough. And that oven… wow if only I could have such an oven at my house 🙂
    Thank you.

  • you can magda. they have ready moulded ones but not sure where you can buy them :). glad you enjoyed both story and clips.

  • sadly not kerstin. i looked in a couple of notebooks but they were not the right ones. will look some more 🙂 and so pleased u like my little videos. i love shooting them. must learn to edit. x

  • Tannur-baked bread can be quite thick: leavened dough puffing up in oven to as much as a height of almost one inch. But the breads in these two videos start with what seems to be the exact same unyeasted dough. I am guessing that the tannur-baked lavash (fired very fast, left less than 1/2 min in the oven if you time it) would be distinguishable by being less supple, slightly more crackly and by perhaps a marginally smokier flavor.

    who watched Y?lmaz Güney’s The Herd at the University of Chicago last night and enjoyed very much the part where the women make (Kurdish) lavash over the convex-shaped saj.

  • i think you are right richard about the smoky flavour but not necessarily about the crackly texture. my aunt who made us tannur bread in syria all the time made it thicker and it was soft and pliable. and to tell you the truth i don’t remember noticing much difference between the breads baked over the hot plate and those baked in the tannur. both were much thinner than my aunt’s (but then they were machine rolled) and both had crackly bits and pliable bits. loved them both and preferred the tannur because it was wood-fired and the specatcle was more fascinating. have you been to iran?

  • actually richard i looked again at the tannur clip and they are flattening the bread by hand. amazing speed 🙂

  • amazing!
    I remember when I was in Jordan and I watched/filmed the men making/baking the bread. I wished for my stone oven.

  • What a great story for Fornacalia; thanks for the videos.

  • you are welcome jeremy. wish i could spend my life travelling and filming people like these bakers preparing traditional foods 🙂 would make me v happy.

  • wow. i have watched the 2nd video now twice in a row and simply can not grasp just how the baker so effortlessly tosses the rolled dough so it instantaneously lands perfectly on the flat board. and he moves at such a dizzying speed ! incredible. love this. always love your videos, and getting a glance at amazing crafts i otherwise wouldn’t discover and then continue to dream of tasting one day…

    looking forward to reading your piece in saveur !

  • thanks kerrin. they do work in the most amazing way. and imagine being there for real. mesmerising. hope you enjoy the piece. have you been watching the tennis :)?

  • Thank you for sharing the clips Anissa – they look amazing and wish I could taste the bread! Let us know when the article is available online, looking forward to reading it.

  • you are welcome keiko. the breads are delicious. will post link when article is online and let me know when you are next in london :).

  • i can just imagine how mesmerizing it must be to witness that ! and oh the smells !! and then tasting the breads, warm from those ovens… wow !

    haven’t seen any of the rotterdam tournament, but our boy goes on court in half an hour, semis vs davydenko. hopp federer ! =)

  • oh, too bad. i won’t be able to watch. he should win it. allez roger 🙂

  • Wow!! I love the clockwork precision of the bread being removed and another being placed on the wheel. And I can’t get over how quickly the fellow hand-rolls each bread! And the size of each bread too. That is so cool.

    Now I can’t wait til my March issue of SAVEUR arrives so I can read your article.

  • Just received my copy of Saveur – what a wonderful article! Now I am inspired to create an Anissa/Persian New Year menu come spring.

  • so glad you enjoyed the piece tracy, and definitely create the persian menu. wonderful food.

  • hope you enjoy it elizabeth 🙂

  • Hi Anissa,
    I loved watching the video of lavash makers, they make it look so easy and effortless! I would love to read your article on Saveur – do miss getting my copies in the UK – will definetely check it out online. Many thanks for sharing:)

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