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Oct 13, 2019

Nan e Barbari | Persian Flatbread

This Nan e Barbari is a delicious leavened flatbread that is coated in seeds and baked on a heated stone in your oven to replicate one of Persia's favorite breads. 

This Nan e Barbari is a delicious leavened flatbread that is coated in seeds and baked on a heated stone your oven to replicate one of Persia's favorite breads.

Nan e Barbari is a Persian flatbread that is traditionally served at breakfast in Iran with a soft spread such as goat cheese. It is made from a very high hydration dough, but is fairly easy to work with, mostly because it is a leavened flatbread.

In Persian restaurants and bakeries, Nan e Barbari is typically a single super long and dramatic looking flatbread, much longer than will fit in your oven. This recipe is divided into two loaves so that it will fit into an home oven equipped with a baking stone.

Nan e Barbari, Persian flatbread

Nan e Barbari is somewhat like focaccia but without the olive oil. Instead, it is brushed with a sauce called "Romal" (and sometimes spelled "roomal"), which consists of a boiled mixture of water, a bit of flour, and baking soda. It adds moisture to the surface of the dough, helping to create an amazing crust without having to use a steam oven.

The yeast in the bread is also boosted by baking powder, so the bread doesn't need a long time to develop wonderful "air."

It develops amazingly wonderful flavor for a bread that is made so quickly (a generous sprinkling of black sesame, poppy, flax, and baby sunflower seeds helps).

Nan e Barbari, Persian flatbread sliced

How to make nan e barbari:

First, you mix all of the dough ingredients until you have a rough dough. 

Next, you do three "stretch and folds," each about 10 minutes apart, and then let the dough rise until doubled. While the dough is rising, you prepare the romal by boiling the flour and water and then letting it cool. 

After that, you brush the dough with the romal and  shape the dough by pressing furrows into the dough with your fingers to form long, stretched out flatbread shapes. 

After a second rise, you stretch out the dough even longer and reinforce the furrows, brush with more of the romal, sprinkle with some of the seeds, and let the dough rest again. 

Finally, you brush the dough again with romal and sprinkle with the remaining seeds. Bake the loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet set on a preheated baking stone. 

Nan e Barbari, Persian flatbread stretched out

As you can see, the bread got nice and burnished. The aroma as it was baking was amazing. This is one of those breads that you want to stick your face close to just to inhale its fresh baked goodness (bread geeks do this).

We tried the bread warm with some Boursin and loved it. So good. I will definitely make this one again.

Nan e Barbari, Persian flatbread with cheese

P.S. for more flatbread recipes, try this Moroccan Ksra, this Norwegian Potato Lefse, this Georgian Adjaruli Khachapuri, and these Spanish Red Pepper Coques.

This is an updated post with new photos and printable recipe card. I originally posted this bread in June of 2013, and the last two photos are from the original post. It was totally worth making this bread again!

Nan e Barbari Bread Recipe

Nan e Barbari Bread Recipe
Yield: 2 loaves
This Nan e Barbari is a delicious leavened flatbread that is coated in seeds and baked on a heated stone in a super hot oven to replicate a wood fired oven.


Dough Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 Cups lukewarm (90 - 100 degrees F) filtered water
  • 60 grams whole wheat flour
  • 360 grams unbleached all purpose flour plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 grams (one tsp) salt (preferably fine sea salt)
Romal Ingredients (for brushing the dough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Seeds of your choice such as sesame, poppy, or nigella. I used black sesame, regular sesame, poppy, flax, and a few baby sunflower seeds.


How to cook Nan e Barbari Bread Recipe

  1. Add the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in the water.
  2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and stir together.
  3. Mix with the dough hook on low medium speed for about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and do a "stretch and fold" with your wet hand and a wet dough scraper by pulling the four "sides" of the dough out to the side and folding it over onto the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Repeat the "stretch and fold" two more times in 10 minute intervals. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and cover.
  5. Place the dough in a warm place and allow it to rise until more than doubled, about an hour or so.
  6. While the dough is rising, bring the Romal ingredients to a boil, whisk, and allow to cool.
  7. Lightly flour your countertop and gently dump the dough onto the surface. Cut the dough into two pieces with a wet dough scraper. Form the two pieces into loose balls (keep a bowl of water nearby to wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking).
  8. Place two 13 inch by 9 inch pieces of parchment on a sturdy cookie sheet and sprinkle them with corn meal or polenta.
  9. Place the dough balls on the parchment pieces and brush them with the cooled Romal.
  10. Using your fingers, gently press down on the dough to create lengthwise furrows in the dough, pushing the dough to create a rectangle. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven with a pizza stone to 500 degrees F.
  12. After 30 minutes, using wet hands, pull the dough to stretch it further lengthwise. Brush it with the Romal, and press the furrows again with your fingers to re-emphasize the rows. Sprinkle with some of the seeds and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let it sit for 30 more minutes.
  13. Brush the loaves with any remaining Romal, press your fingers into the furrows to re-emphasize, and sprinkle with more seeds.
  14. Place the cookie sheet on top of the baking stone, close the oven door, and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. 
  15. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until a golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F.
  16. Remove the parchment and place the loaves on a cooling rack. Enjoy warm.
bread, flatbread, nan-e-barbari

Created using The Recipes Generator

Adapted with permission from Blog from OUR Kitchen, adapted from 1001 Recipe for the Bread Baking Babes. 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Beautiful!! And doesn't it smell amazing? I cannot get over how fantastic it is. I'm so glad to hear that baking it in a convection oven works so well. Many thanks for baking with us!

    1. It does smell amazing Elizabeth. Thank you for choosing this one!

  2. Yum, that looks so good! All those airy holes...

    1. Thanks Korena. It didn't last long in our house!

  3. This looks so yummy! I've been wanting to try and make bread at home more often. Maybe I can start with this one!

    xo Jackie

    1. Thank you Jackie. If you are comfortable with sticky dough, you will love this bread.

  4. Your bread looks so wonderful - I can't wait to make this again!

  5. I need you come and teach me how to make bread! This looks amazing as usual.

    1. Would love that, and you can teach me to make macarons!

  6. This looks wonderful and I think I saw a flat bread theme coming up on Bread Bakers. I may just steal this recipe from you for that.

  7. I love seeds on top of my flatbread. You always make the best breads!

  8. My first thought when I saw the pictures was "look at all of that air!" Double leaveners will do the trick. I need to make this when my kitchen is back to normal.

    1. Thanks! Hope your kitchen comes together soon!

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Kelly! It was an old BBB recipe from before I joined.

  10. What a great option! This would be a big hit in our house!

  11. I am ALWAYS in awe of your bread skills and recipes. This looks totally devourable!


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