Today I am here with a mix of mildly sweet and savory bun Komaj/Persian Bread for Aparna‘s We Knead To Bake (WNTB) Group. These breads are usually served with tea. The recipe is taken from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s book, Saraban – A Chef’s Journey Through Persia, and here’s what they have to say about Komaj. “This is our interpretation of a wonderful savoury–sweet bread we tasted in the oasis town of Mahan in the south-east of Iran. Cumin is grown in abundance in the region and is used to flavour many of the local dishes, often in combination with turmeric “. They cut their Komaj into heart shaped buns because that was the way they ate it in Iran. Here I chose to use heart and round cookie cutters. One other thing is that this dough has three rises instead of the usual two.
Recipe Source :- Adapted from Saraban – A Chef’s Journey Through Persia by Greg & Lucy Malouf
For the dough
Bread flour (or all-purpose flour) – 3n3/4 cups
Active dried yeast – 1tsp
Warm Water – 1/8 Cup
Sugar – 1/4 Cup
Turmeric Powder – 1/2tsp
Salt – 1/2 to 3/4 tsp
1 Egg (Optional, I didn’t use)
Warm milk – 2/3 Cups
Olive Oil – 1n1/2 Tbsp
For the filling
Dried Dates – 12 to 15, pitted and cut into chunks (the slightly soft kind, also replace with dried grapes)
Unsalted Butter – 25 gm, soft at room temperature
Cardamom – 4 to 5 pods powdered
Milk/ cream for brushing dough
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and keep it aside for 10 minutes and it will have bubbled up a little.
- Put the flour, 2 tsp of the crushed cumin, sugar, turmeric and salt in the bowl of your food processor and run a couple of times to mix.
- Then add the egg(if using) and run the processor again, till it is incorporated.
- Now add the milk and olive oil, and knead until you have a smooth and pliable dough that’s not sticky.
- I usually use my hands to knead the dough, so i divide the dough in to two for easy work.
- Shape the dough into a/two ball and place in a well-oiled bowl, turn to coat the dough and then cover loosely and let it rise till it has doubled (about an hour or so).
- When the dough has risen(Pic 1), deflate it and then shape into a round.
- Put it back in the bowl for a second rise till it has doubled (an hour or so, Pic 2).
- In the meanwhile prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped dates, soft butter and cardamom together in a bowl.
- Divide the dough in to 4 equal portions, and divide each in half so you have 8 portions.
- Working with one portion at a time, roll each one out into a rectangle that is about between 1/4″ and 1/8” thick(Pic 3).
- Choose a cookie cutter that is about 8cm at the widest, mine is little bit small so i got more mini breads.
- Press it down lightly and one half of the rectangle to guide you to put the filling(Pic 3).
- At this point, brush a little water over the entire surface to make sure the dough would stick well when folded over.
- Then place about 1 tsp (more than this is not necessary) in the centre of the cookie outline(Pic 3) and then fold the other half of the rectangle over the filling so that it’s now a covered square(Pic 4).
- Using the cookie cutter cut, with the filling in the centre, cut out the bun making sure the sides are neat and well sealed (Pic 4).
- If the sides are not well sealed, the bun will swell and open up during baking. It will taste good but look weird!
- Repeat with the remaining portions of dough, then reroll the scraps and you should be able to make two more buns making a total of 10 buns.
- Place them on a lightly greased baking tray leaving space between them because they will puff up on baking. Let them sit for about 15 minutes(Pic 5).
- Then brush them with a little milk/heavy cream (or egg wash if you use it) and sprinkle the remaining ½ tsp of crushed cumin on top, pressing it down a little with your fingers (Pic 5).
- Bake the Komaj at 200° C (400° F) for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let them cool on a rack a little and dust with icing sugar if you like.
- Serve them warm with tea or coffee. These are best eaten the day they’re made.
- Leftovers can be reheated and eaten the next day.