Bread is treated with great respect. Even in the city, stale bread is not thrown away with the household rubbish, but set aside next to the rubbish bins so that people can collect it to feed to their animals. Different parts of the country bake their bread in slightly different ways, but tandir choreyi (təndir çörəyi)is popular in much of Azerbaijan. The tandir or tandoor is a traditional clay oven, used across the South Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, India and Pakistan. The oven has become known as a tandoor in English, through its use in Indian and Pakistani cookery. In Azerbaijan, tandoor are used in many restaurants and small bakeries, and can be seen at the side of the road where warm fresh bread is sold to passing motorists. The dough is slapped onto the inside walls of the hot tandoor. While a tandoor gives the bread its traditional flavour with a hint of charcoal, you can make tandir bread at home on a baking tray in a conventional oven. News.Az is grateful to Gullu Cahangir for allowing us to use her tandoori bread recipe and photograph, taken from her informative website Azerifood.com.
Preparation time: 5 hours
Cooking time: 20 mins
- 300 ml/10.5 UK fl oz
- 500 g/1 lb 4 oz strong white flour
- 7 g/0.25 oz fresh yeast
- 3/4 tspn salt
- 1 tbspn granulated sugar
- plain yoghurt dissolved in water for the glaze (1 tbspn yoghurt to 3 tbspns water)
- poppy or sesame seeds
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water, add the salt, sugar and half the flour and knead with your hands into a dough.
- Leave the dough in a warm place for 30-45 minutes, kneading once more.
- Gradually add the remaining flour and knead into a smooth dough that does not stick to your fingers. The more you knead the dough, the better!
- Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 2 to 2.5 hours. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times during this period.
- Knead the dough once more and shape on a floured surface into one large, or two small, ovals, 1-1.5 cm thick in the middle and slightly thicker at the edges.
- Place the loaf on a baking tray, cover with a tea towel and set aside for 90 minutes to 2 hours to rise.
- Make a glaze from plain yoghurt and water and brush onto the top of the loaf.
- With a knife make 3 vertical lines along the top of the loaf and make some holes. Scatter poppy or sesame seeds over the top of the loaf.
- Bake the bread in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
- 5 minutes after putting the bread in the oven, brush it once more with the yoghurt and water glaze.
- When the bread is ready, take it out of the oven and brush it with water. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.