Sourdough Barbari Recipe

5 from 12 votes
Jump to RecipeComment

This post may contain affiliate links.

Sourdough barbari is so delicious. The texture and flavor is exactly the same as the ones in Iran. Topped with a simple glaze and sesame seeds, this bread is perfect for breakfast!

Many of you have already tried our barbari bread and have given us rave reviews! Today I’m going to show you how to make this classic Persian bread using a sourdough starter. Like our no yeast naan, this Persian bread also doesn’t call for yeast. Serve this bread with kashke bademjan (Persian eggplant dip), borani esfenaj (spinach dip) or simply with some cheese and walnut for breakfast!

Sourdough barbari is made with sourdough starter and is perfect for breakfast.

Baking with sourdough

Sourdough bread is made by the natural fermentation of dough. Unlike commercial yeast, sourdough is made with a starter which is usually homemade. If you already have a homemade starter or are gifted one, then you’re good to go. However, if you don’t have a sourdough starter, then you need to either make one or ask someone who has a mature starter to give you a bit and then you can feed it to have more. To make your own starter, I suggest following Clever Carrot’s instructions on how to make sourdough starter

A few notes and tips to make sourdough barbari

  • This dough is not as firm as the one you make with commercial yeast and has a higher hydration. Make sure not to add too much flour to handle the dough. 
  • It’s best to bake sourdough barbari in a steamy oven. To do so, place a cast iron skillet or a metal baking dish in the lower rack while heating the oven and right before you place the dough in the oven, add half a cup of water to the skillet. Don’t use a glass dish of any kind for this purpose since it would shatter when water is added. 
  • Working with sourdough requires patience and planning. Therefore it’s best to plan ahead and not to shorten the fermentation time. 
  • Having a kitchen scale helps a lot when making bread since it’s more precise. 

This recipe yields two loaves of barbari.

The ingredients

Luckily, you don’t need many ingredients to make your own bread at home. To make sourdough barbari you need the following ingredients: 

Starter: Make sure your starter is mature. If making the starter from scratch, it would take almost two weeks for it to mature. 

Flour: Unbleached all purpose flour works well for this recipe. 

Water: The water used for this recipe should be lukewarm. 

Salt: To enhance flavor and improve the texture of bread. 

Glaze: A classic barbari glaze made with flour, baking soda and water. 

Sesame seeds: Like simit, barbari is also topped with sesame seeds for more flavor.

How to make sourdough barbari

Mix starter,water and flour

In a large bowl, mix the starter and 320 gram of water with your hands until dissolved. Add the flour and using your fingers, slowly mix it into the water and starter until you have a wet mass of a dough. 

Mix starter with water, add flour and mix until a mass of dough forms.

Autolyse

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. 

Add Salt

After 30 minutes, sprinkle the salt and the rest of the water on the dough and using your fingers, mix the salt into the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes until you can’t feel the grains anymore. 

Add salt and water. mix and let it sit for 45 minutes.

Bulk fermentation

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a draft-free environment (like an off oven) for 3 hours and 30 minutes. Every 45 minutes, uncover the bowl and do a stretch and fold: wet your fingers and grab a side of the dough, stretch it and fold it over the dough. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the stretch and fold. Repeat until you have stretched and folded all the sides onto the dough. Repeat this process every 45 minutes for 3 hours and 30 minutes. With each stretch and fold your dough is going to be smoother. 

Perform a few sets of stretch and fold.

Preshape

After the bulk fermentation, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and dust it with some flour so you can handle it. The dough is going to be loose and not firm. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into two.

Fold two sides of the dough from left and right to the center and then from top and bottom to the center. 

Top with flour, and fold from each side to the center.

Folding from each side gives the dough some tension.

Next, fold in the corners to the center. Top the dough with flour. 

Now fold in the corners to the center and top with flour.

Using your bench scraper, lift the dough and flip it so seam side is down.

With your hands, push the dough towards yourself, turn 90 degrees and repeat. Do this process 4 times in total. Use a bit more flour if needed. 

Flip the dough and shape it into a circle.

Cover and let the dough sit for 20 minutes. You will start seeing bubbles on the surface and sides. 

Make the glaze

In a small pan mix the flour, baking soda and water and bring it to a low simmer and cook until thickens. This would take about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and set the pan aside. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. 

Final Shape

After 20 minutes, transfer one of the dough balls to a parchment paper and, using your hands, flatten it into an oval shape. Repeat the same with the other dough ball. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 480℉ and place a baking sheet inside the oven on the middle rack. Place a metal baking pan or a cast iron skillet on the lower rack as well.

Add the toppings and bake

After 30 minutes, top the dough with the glaze and with your hands, spread it all over. Using your fingers, make deep indentations on the bread but be careful not to tear it. Top the dough with sesame seeds. 

Spread the glaze with your hands, make indentations and top with sesame seeds.

Fill the cast iron skillet with ½ cup water and transfer the parchment paper with the dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Take the skillet of water out carefully and close the oven door. Reduce the heat to 450℉ and bake the bread for another 4 minutes. 

Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before cutting it. 

Serving suggestion

Nothing beats fresh homemade bread. You can serve it simply with some feta cheese or even cream cheese. You can also serve sourdough barbari alongside Persian appetizer platter or even with sosis bandari, kotlet, and menemen (turkish eggs and tomatoes). 

Storing 

Same as many other types of bread, barbari would keep in an airtight container or a sealed bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you want to keep it longer, you can refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for up to a month. To reheat, simply use a toaster. 

Cut the bread into pieces once it has cooled for 15 to 30 minutes.

5 from 12 votes

Sourdough Barbari Recipe

Sourdough barbari is so delicious. The texture and flavor is exactly the same as the ones in Iran. Topped with a simple glaze and sesame seeds, this bread is perfect for breakfast!
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves
Save this Recipe
Enter your email and get it sent to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients 

  • 100 gr sourdough starter, mature
  • 350 ml water, lukewarm
  • 500 gr all purpose flour
  • 8 gr salt

Glaze

  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water

Topping

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions 

  • Place the starter and 320 grams of water in a large bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
  • Add the flour and using your hands, mix the flour into the water and starter. Mix until you have a shaggy mass of dough. The dough is going to be wet.
  • Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • After 30 minutes, add the salt and the remaining water to the dough and with your fingers, squeeze the salt into the dough and mix for about 3 to 4 minutes until you cannot feel the grains.

Bulk fermentation

  • Cover the bowl and place it in a draft free environment (like an off oven) and every 45 minutes, do a stretch and fold: wet your fingers and grab a side of the dough, stretch it and fold it over the dough. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat the stretch and fold.
  • Repeat until you have stretched and folded all the sides onto the dough. You should do 4 sets of stretch and fold and let the dough sit for 30 minutes after the last set. Meaning the whole bulk fermentation time will be 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Preshape

  • Transfer the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle a bit of flour on top so you can handle it. using a bench scraper, cut the dough in half.
  • Fold two sides of the dough from left and right to the center and then from top and bottom to the center.
  • Next, fold in the corners to the center. Top the dough with flour. Using your bench scraper, lift the dough and flip it so seam side is down. With your hands, push the dough towards yourself, turn 90 degrees and repeat. Do this process 4 times in total. Use a bit more flour if needed. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes. You will start seeing bubble on the surface and sides.

Make the glaze

  • Place the flour, water and baking soda in a small pan and bring it to simmer. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until it thickens. Turn the heat off and set it aside, the glaze will thicken more when cools.
  • Final shape
  • After the 20 minute rest for the dough, transfer one of the dough balls to a parchment paper and using your hands, flatten it into an oval shape. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 480℉ and place a large baking sheet inside the oven on the middle rack. Place a metal baking pan or a cast iron skillet on the lower rack as well.
  • After 30 minutes, divide the glaze between the two loaves and spread it over using your fingers. With your finger having the glaze on them, make deep indentations in rows on the dough (this way the dough wouldn't stick to your fingers) and be careful not to tear the dough. Top with sesame seeds.
  • Open the oven door and pour ½ cup water into the cast iron skillet or metal baking pan on the lower rack. Transfer the parchment paper with the dough onto the baking sheet on the middle rack and close the oven door. Bake for 9 minutes.
  • Take the cast iron skillet or metal baking pan out of the oven and close the oven door. Reduce the heat to 450℉ and bake the bread for another 4 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  • Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before cutting it.

Notes

  • This dough is not as firm as the one you make with commercial yeast and has a higher hydration. Make sure not to add too much flour to handle the dough. 
  • It’s best to bake the barbari in a steamy oven. To do so, place a cast iron skillet or a metal baking dish in the lower rack while heating the oven and right before you place the dough in the oven, add half a cup of water to the skillet. Don’t use a glass dish of any kind for this purpose since it would shatter when water is added. 
  • Working with sourdough requires patience and planning. Therefore it’s best to plan ahead and not to shorten the fermentation time. 
  • Having a kitchen scale helps a lot when making bread since it’s more precise. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1015kcal | Carbohydrates: 205g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1883mg | Potassium: 305mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 13mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

You may Also Like

5 from 12 votes (4 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. Looking forward to trying out this recipe. Questions: Does your recipe make the Barbari a bit chewy or is it more fluffy? Also, can we put it on a pizza steel instead of baking pan? If so, do the oven temperatures need to be the same? Thanks.

    1. It’s more chewy. You can put it in a pizza steel but keep an eye since it might cook faster.