Sangak is a whole wheat flat bread made from sour dough. It is traditionally a bread eaten in Iran and is also known as the nan-e-sangak. It is also known as the national bread of Iran and is triangular or rectangular in shape. The name of the bread originates from the ancient method of baking it and means ‘little stones’.
Two distinct varieties of the bread are usually available throughout Iran. The plain one is the inexpensive kind while the ones consumed by the affluent classes have toppings of poppy and sesame seeds on it. It is best eaten warm although it can be cut into smaller portions and frozen for later use.
It is about 20 feet long and has an extremely short shelf life making it necessary to be prepared every day. It is similar to the “kaak’, a bread eaten in the Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan.
It is usually eaten with kebabs especially the lamb kebabs in Iran. Kale Pache, a kind of dish made from sheep’s head and feet is another traditional accompaniment to the bread.
History of Sangak Recipe
The origin of the bread can be traced back to the Persian army where each of the soldiers carried a small bag of stones along. The bread was usually baked in an earthenware oven lined with small pebbles or stones. The sangak is the staple of the Iranian army even today.
Ingredients Used and Popular Sangak Recipe
The bread is usually made by mixing three parts of whole wheat flour to a part of white flour. The dough made is a kind of sourdough with a small pat of last day’s dough being added to the ingredients in order to facilitate the rising.
The dough is allowed to ferment for around 1-2 hours after which it is rolled out and shaped before being placed on a bed of stones in the oven. The baking process is quick taking around 5 minutes and the elongated bread has indentations where it rested on the stones. In the Middle East, the sangak is often served with small stones sticking to it.
Variations Of Nan-E-Sangak
- Barbari- Thick and oval flat bread introduced by the Barbari tribe of Persia.
- Lavash- The oldest known bread of Middle East and Central Asia, it is a round and thin flatbread.
- Taftoon – A thin flatbread which is soft inside.
- About 45% of the flour in Iran goes into the baking of the sangak.