As I had mentioned sometime back, I joined We Knead to Bake – a baking group in August. Aparna chooses a bread and posts the recipe every month and all them members bake the bread and post it on 24th of the month. This month Aparna chose this very fragrant bread Sheermal.
Wiki says – Sheermal or Shirmal (Persian: شیرمال), is a saffron-flavored traditional flatbread made in Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lucknow regionand Hyderabad, India, probably from Persian influences. It is one of the several rare Lucknow and Hyderabadi delicacies in India. It is also part of the Awadhi cuisine and is enjoyed in Old Bhopal, especially with meat delicacies.
When I saw this recipe in the beginning of the month, I was very intrigued by the beautiful color of the bread from saffron. I could imagine the saffron aroma coming out of the bread. I don’t remember seeing/tasting this bread anywhere before.
From last few months, I wanted to prepare an Indian meal for a good friend who loves Indian meal. He wanted to taste chicken tikka masala. I decided to bake this bread to go along with that. I wasn’t sure how he would like a very fragrant bread with that. I thought if I added rose water (which was there in original recipe), he probably would not like it much. Also, it was crazy cold last few weeks and it was not possible for me to go for shopping to get it. I know rose water or cardamom would have totally changed the aroma of it, I chose not to use them. I will try it again sometime with those two.
V and I really enjoyed this bread a lot. Even my almost 8 month old, loved to pick up and eat pieces of it. It was very fluffy and tasty. Since I wanted more bread, I used 1 and 1/2 tea spn yeast, so I increased the amount of all the ingredients by 1 and 1/2 times (except egg, I just used 1 egg). It still came out really really good. I will be making this bread again soon. I will take this recipe as a base and will substitute all purpose flour with wheat flour, a little by little, to come up with a consistency that we will enjoy.
I am posting the quantities that I followed for future reference. Check Aparna’s post for more details.
- 1 and ½ tea spn (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 3 tea spn sugar
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 3 and ⅜ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tea spn salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ⅜ cup ghee + ghee for brushing
- 1 cup milk (or more, as required for kneading)
- 1 tsp kewra water (screw pine essence) or rose water
- A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tbl spn warm milk
- In lukewarm water, add yeast and keep it aside till it is active (frothy).
- Add egg and till it is mixed.
- Now add melted ghee a little at a time till it is mixed.
- Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
- Add milk and rose water to the yeast mixture.
- Now slowly add flour a little at a time, mixing till it forms a soft and sticky dough.
- Add more milk if necessary.
- Keep the dough aside covered till it doubles in volume (for about 2hrs).
- Preheat the oven at 350F for 10mins.
- Divide the dough in 8 equal parts and press them out into rounds of about ⅛" thickness.
- With a fork, prick holes on the rolled dough.
- Keep them on a parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
- Soak saffron in warm water and brush the surface of rolled dough.
- Bake for 10-15 mins.
- Take them out and immediately brush with some more melted ghee.
- Serve warm on their own or with some spicy gravy.