Similar to Indian Naan, just lighter and flakier (and in my opinion yummier), taftan is a hearth-baked flatbread from Persia and Pakistan. It is often flavoured with saffron – as this one is – which gives it a striking golden hue and alluring flavour perfect to serve alongside curries and soups (although don’t discount just nibbling it on its own).
- 260 g (1¾ cups) bread or pizza flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp instant dried yeast
- 70 g (3½ tbsp) ghee, melted
- 2 tbsp Greek-style natural yoghurt
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) milk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra to grease
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 good pinch saffron, soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 40 minutes
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the milk, yoghurt and 40 g (2 tbsp) of the melted ghee, add to the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it.
Brush a medium bowl with extra oil to grease, add the dough and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 40 minutes or until risen slightly.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line two large heavy baking trays with baking paper.
Knock back the dough by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured bench top and knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic and the dough has returned to its original size. Divide the dough evenly into 2 portions and brush each with the oil to coat.
Use a rolling pin to roll out a portion into a rough circle about 22 cm in diameter and 5 mm thick. Then use your hands to pull one end to shape into a teardrop, about 17 cm x 24 cm, pressing the centre to create a thicker edge. Transfer to a baking tray and then use your fingertips to make indents all over the surface of the flatbread. Repeat with the remaining dough portion. Brush the flatbreads with the saffron liquid and then sprinkle with the nigella.
Bake for 10 minutes. Brush the surface of the flatbreads with the remaining melted ghee. Swap the trays around and then bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the flatbreads are golden and cooked through.
Serve warm or at room temperature along side a soup (like the Tunisian chickpea one, pictured) or curry.
• This flatbread will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days but it is best eaten the day it is baked.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Yeast-leavened flatbreadscolumn.
View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.