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Photograph by Jennifer May
Makes 6 (5-inch/13 cm) rounds; serves 6
Rich with butter and milk and sweet from a bit of honey, nan-e qandi is an addictive bread from Iran. This dough has a long fermentation; it is the first dough we put in the mixer in the morning and the last one we bake. Serve nan-e gandi with coffee or tea, or use it to make a killer grilled cheese sandwich or, as we found out, Muffuletta. Who would have thought?
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cup/180 g whole milk
3¼ cups/415 g bread flour, plus
more for shaping
1 teaspoon koher salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons/125 g unsalted
Butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon/105 g
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Stir together the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the bread flour, salt, baking powder, melted butter, and honey. Mix on low speed until all of the dry ingredients are combined and a loose dough forms, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is supple, smooth, and has some shine, about 5 minutes. Do the windowpane test to ensure the gluten is fully developed.
Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or put the whole bowl in a large plastic bag and let it stand at room temperature until the dough is softer than a firm balloon, is supple, and holds an indentation when pressed lightly, about 8 hours. Note that since there’s so little yeast in this dough, this rising will happen very slowly.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal pieces (each weighing about 4.75 ounces/135 g). Form each piece into a roll, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 5 minutes. Use a rolling pin to form each roll into disks measuring 5 inches/13 cm across.
Evenly space the nan-e qandis on 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Use a fork to make a few pricks on top of each one and then coat the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Drape the nan-e qandis loosely with plastic wrap or a large plastic bag and let them rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Bake the nan-e qandis until they’re golden brown, rotating the trays halfway through baking so that the nan-e qandis brown evenly, about 20 minutes altogether. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight plastic bag at room temperature for up to a couple of days. Reheat in a 350°F/180°C oven for a few minutes before eating.