Barbari Bread with Nigella and White Sesame Seeds
Considered to be one of the thickest flatbreads in the world, the key to making barbari at home is to preheat a pizza stone in a very hot oven. The result? A deep golden brown bottom crust. Read more about throwing a Persian New Year feast here.
- 1 ¼-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
- 4 cups bread flour, plus more for surface
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
- 2 teaspoons nigella or poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons white and/or black sesame seeds
- Feta, tender herbs (such as mint, dill, cilantro, and/or parsley), and brined walnuts (for serving)
Combine yeast, sugar, and 1¾ cups warm water (110°–115°) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let stand until foamy, 5–10 minutes. Add kosher salt and 4 cups bread flour to bowl and mix on medium-low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and begins to slap the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. (The dough will stick to bottom of bowl.)
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough, adding more bread flour as needed to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with nonstick spray and plop in dough; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 60–75 minutes.
Punch down dough, divide in half, and form into 2 oblongs. Lightly flour a parchment-lined baking sheet (you don’t want it to have a rim) and arrange dough on top. Dust dough with more flour to help prevent any sticking and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 30–45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook all-purpose flour, baking soda, 1 tsp. oil, and ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Place a rack in lower third of oven and set pizza stone on top; preheat to 450°. Let stone heat at least 20 minutes before cooking bread. (This will ensure that your bread gets a gloriously crispy bottom crust.)
Transfer 1 oblong to a work surface. Punch down remaining oblong on baking sheet and press and stretch to make a 14x6x½" rectangle with tapered ends; dust off any excess flour.
Mix sea salt, nigella seeds, and sesame seeds in a small bowl.
Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and press several lengthwise ridges into the dough (be careful not to punch through dough). Brush dough with cooked flour mixture and sprinkle with half of the salt-and-seed mixture. Working quickly and with confidence, slide dough from baking sheet onto hot stone and bake until lightly golden brown on top and crusty, 15–18 minutes. Use baking sheet to transfer barbari from stone to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Repeat with remaining dough to make second loaf.
Serve bread warm with feta, herbs, and brined walnuts.
Do Ahead: Bread can be made 1 week ahead. Cut into pieces and freeze. Thaw and reheat in oven before serving.