Bread is deeply integrated into Persian culture, and many types of flatbread appear on the Persian table to accompany breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of these is Sangak, which is truly unique in both its flavor and its baking techniques.
Sangak is the Farsi word for the little rocks or pebbles which ultimately make this bread different from all others. The dough is baked on a layer of hot pebbles, giving this bread its signature look of an uneven surface with many indentations.
This beauty is another of the Caspian Sea region’s contributions to Persian cuisine. Not only is this pastry unique to this region, but also the two provinces that border the Sea – Gilan and Mazandaran – each have their own versions. Though a walnut paste is the most common filling, possible alternatives include dates, bananas and coconut.
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.