Sheermal / Shirmal ~ Persian Flatbread Flavoured with Saffron & Milk
Prep time: 2-1/2 hours (approx) | Bake time: 15 mins | Yield 4 breads of approx 4″ diameter each
- 1 teaspoon active dried yeast (I used instant yeast)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (maida)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup melted ghee, divided
- 1/2 cup milk (approx, you may require more or less) * I used just 1/4 cup
- 1 teaspoon kewra (screw pine essence) or rose water or orange blossom water
- a few strands of saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons of warm milk (soak for at least 30-40mins for a nice deep yellow colour)
- melted butter or ghee for brushing
- oil to brush the bowl
1. In a small bowl mix the yeast, lukewarm water and sugar and keep aside till the mixture turns frothy. If it doesn’t discard and start all over again with a fresh batch of yeast.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the frothy yeast mixture to it and the beaten egg and mix – you can use a food processor or use your hand to knead it. Next, add the ghee in two parts and mix after each addition, rubbing the mixture as you go – you are trying to incorporate the ghee well into the flour here and you should end up with a mixture that looks like fine bread crumbs
3. Now add the milk little by little and the kewra/rose water too. Keep kneading until you get a very soft and slightly sticky dough – don’t add extra flour. Don’t add all the milk in one go, instead, if required wet your fingers and continue to knead once you have been able to gather the mixture into the form of a dough ball. The dough needs to be soft and elastic or else your bread will turn out tough and chewy.
4. Transfer the dough ball into a well oiled bowl and cover it with a damp cloth and keep undisturbed in a warm place of your kitchen until the dough doubles in volume (it could take anywhere between 1-2 hours depending on the weather).
5. Once the dough has doubled, gently knead it once more and shape into a ball again and place it back into the bowl – this time brush it all over with some ghee. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rise for 15-20 mins
6. Remove the dough out and divide it equally into 4 parts and place one portion on a clean working surface. Use your fingers to flatten the portion out roughly into a round of approximately 4″diameter. For that rustic look avoid using a rolling pin to flatten it out.
7. Place the rounds on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and use a fork to prick holes on the entire surface. Brush them evenly with the saffron-milk solution.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for about 10 to 15 minutes or till they turn a lovely golden on top.
9. Remove from the oven and brush immediately with melted butter or ghee. Serve hot with tea or as a bread with mutton or chicken curry.