Naan Barbari – Crusty Persian flatbread with nigella and sesame seeds

Naan barbari is one of the most popular flatbreads in Persian cuisine, most frequently consumed at the breakfast table to scoop up some creamy butter and homemade sour cherry jam or aromatic quince rose water jam!

Though we would certainly have this bread in Tehran, I mostly associate it with trips up north to the city of Babol by the Caspian Sea. I remember visits to my Da-yee (uncle) and zan da-ee (aunt) where for breakfast you would be greeted with some locally produced salted butter, feta cheese, a variety of homemade jams, and the intoxicating aroma of the freshly baked barbari bread from the bakery just around the corner. While the trusted samovar would be gurgling quietly in the background offering hot and strong freshly brewed black tea all day long.

Beam me up Scotty, I want to be back there!


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Naan Barbari

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Crusty Persian flatbread with nigella and sesame seeds
4.96 from 49 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine Persian
Servings 3 loaves


  • 1 package active yeast
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, and more for kneading


  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons hot water


  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds


  • Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water in a small bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes for the yeast to become active and bubbly.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the proofed yeast and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, olive oil, and salt and mix well.
  • Add one cup of the flour to the bowl and whisk until the flour is well integrated into the water mixture.  Continue adding the remaining flour one cup at a time and whisking in each step.  At some point when the dough begins to form, you will have to put the whisk away and switch to a spatula or use your hands to form the dough. 
  • Keep in mind that It is always better and easier to have a wetter dough that you add more flour to than to have a dry dough that needs more moisture.  
  • Once all the flour has been added, assess whether the dough is too sticky. If so then add a little more flour at a time so that the texture of the dough is kneadable and it won’t stick to your hands.
  • Lightly dust a working surface and knead the dough for about 15 minutes. The dough texture should be stretchy and soft to the touch with a gentle bounce back when poked with a finger.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of flour into a clean large bowl, covering the entire surface area of the bowl, and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a slightly damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.  The dough should then be doubled in size and somewhat sticky to the touch.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto your working surface and place the dough on top.  Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a round ball without working the dough too much.
  • Place the dough balls into a lightly floured bowl and cover with the same towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for an additional 60 minutes. 
  • Prepare the glaze by mixing the flour, baking soda and water in a small bowl until the flour has been dissolved and slightly thickened.  Set aside.
  • While the dough rises for the second time, preheat the oven to 500℉ and lower the oven rack to the lowest position.  If you are using a baking stone place that in the oven as well.  Otherwise, you can bake the bread on a regular baking sheet and raise the oven rack a notch higher so that the bottom of the bread won’t burn.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the working surface and place the dough balls on top of that.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch, press and flip each dough to form a 9X6 inches oval shape dough.  
  • If using a pizza peel lightly flour the surface and lift the dough and place on top of the pizza peel.  Otherwise, you can place the dough on parchment paper instead and then transfer onto a baking sheet. 
  • Using the tips of your fingers make 4 rows of indentations along the length of the bread. Brush the top of the dough lightly with the glaze and sprinkle the sesame and nigella seeds on top.
  • Swiftly slide the dough off of the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the bread has fully risen and has turned into a crispy golden brown loaf. 
  • Remove from the oven. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.
  • Naan Barbari is best served hot.  Otherwise, it can be stored in the freezer in an airtight bag for a couple of weeks. 


Though it is not traditional, I would always prefer using a whole grain flour instead of all purpose flour.  When switching to a whole grain, you can expect a denser bread and needing to adjust for the extra goodness of the whole grain by increasing the water or reducing the flour.
Keyword bread, breakfast, flatbread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. One of my favourites naan breads. It looks very tasty/

    1. Thank you, Rozinapersiankitchen! It is also one of my favorites and this batch came out just perfect and timely for the snow storm we are having in Seattle and consequently spending more time in the kitchen cooking up stews and baking breads!

      1. Yes nothing is better than cooking a hearty dish or baking bread in cold weather.

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