One rather fascinating aspect of this bread is that it uses a spoked stamp, also known as a chekich, to decorate the bread before baking. Sometimes these Uzbek bread stamps are used all over the dough and sometimes just in the middle for a single decorative mark. They are not absolutely essential to the bread however, which can be imaginatively decorated using many kitchen implements, the easiest of which is simply a fork and shears or scissors. I will add that the dough does need to be gently flattened all across the center, leaving just a small ring around the edge. Otherwise the dough will swallow up the beautiful design of the stamp, as happened to me. I used the floral patterned stamp in my center and surrounded it with little flowers using a wax stamp. Those exterior patterns at least stayed in perhaps a lamentable pattern. Fortunately, this is a nice little bread, easy to try again and easy to double when you decide you love it. Some of our Babes have baked it dozens of times now!
I did do something possibly sacrilegious as I was looking at a Turkish bread recipe around the same time. I added a little oil (1½ tbsp) to my dough to soften it a bit. After all, the dough is kneaded on an oiled surface... So my results are probably softer but still have a little chew to the bread. At any rate, very tasty!
We would love for you to try this beautiful and tasty bread and bake along with us this month! No blog is necessary to participate, a picture will do. Just send a picture or your post of your finished flatbread to our host by the 29th of this month. New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.
190 g plain flour or desired blend of whole grain flour (I used all purpose and flax seed meal)
1½ tsp fast-action dried yeast (I used instant yeast)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp caster sugar (optional)
125 ml water
oil or melted lard
½ tsp black onion seeds (Nigella, Charnushka), or sesame seeds
Allow 2 hours for the initial rise and 45-75 minutes for the final proving stage.
Put the flour(s) in a large bowl or mixer, add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar, (if using), to the other. Make a well in the middle and pour in 125ml water while mixing thoroughly. Add enough water to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes until no longer tacky and the dough is soft and smooth. Return to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise for about 2 hours, until at least doubled in size.
Knock the air out of the dough and form it into a wide, rounded disc.
Set on a wooden board or peel, lined with a piece of baking parchment or sprinkled with semolina, and cover again with the tea towel. Leave to rise for another 45-75 minutes, or until doubled in size again.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 260°C/500ºF, or as hot as it will go, and put a pizza stone or baking sheet in to heat up. The oven and stone both need to be screaming hot. Make a wide indentation across the middle of the bread by pressing with the heel of your hand, leaving just a doughnut-shaped ring around the edge. Create a pattern in the middle using a non bread stamp or the tines of a fork. Brush the top with oil or lard and sprinkle with the onion seeds. Trim the excess parchment from the sides of the bread to keep it from scorching.
Put a handful of ice cubes on the floor of the oven – these will create steam. (I, of course, forgot this part). Use the board to lift the bread to the oven and carefully slide it onto the preheated stone or tray. Bake for 13-15 minutes. The top should be golden and the loaf sound hollow when tapped underneath.
The rest of the Bread Baking Babes
- Blog from OUR Kitchen – Elizabeth
- Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
- My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
- Bread Experience - Cathy
- Thyme for Cooking - Katie
- My Kitchen in Half Cups - Tanna
- Feeding My Enthusiasms - Elle
- Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen