Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sheermal - We Knead to Bake 22

Sheermal was the bread that members of the We Knead to Bake - Bread Baking Group had tried in November last year. I would have joined them too. Some unforeseen plans developed that I travelled home and skipped this bread then. Now that I am back to my routine, I am hoping to work on all the breads that I had missed baking along with Aparna and others.
Sheermal is a slightly sweet,  flavoured with saffron, flat bread that possibly was introduced to India by the Persian invaders.The word 'sheer' indicates milk in the Persian language, and this naan like bread, is traditionally famous in the Muslim neighbourhoods of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It is slightly rich in texture, differently made at different regions of India.
They are normally eaten as it is, with tea, or for breakfast.They can also be servered as part of a meal with mutton curry called Nehari or spicy kebabs.Sheermals can be had with qorma as side too.
We attempted the sheermal that uses yeast and not baking powder for our bread. The kewra water added to the dough gives a unique flavour. It is an acquired taste, thus it may be substituted by rose water too, or without any flavour. Incorporating ghee in stages into the dough, kneading it well until very soft makes one superior sheermal. The hall mark of good sheermal is the glaze from the ghee that is brushed on top of it soon after it has been baked. while egg gives it a great texture, you might do without too.
The sheermal is traditionally made in the Tandoor, we just baked them in our ovens.

Sheermal- Saffron flavoured Flatbread

Makes 4 sheermals of 4" diameter each.

2 &1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg lightly beaten (or up the milk/ water by 1/4 cup to substitute)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup luke warm water
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 cup milk (or more as required while kneading)
1 teaspoon kewra essence(screw pine extract) or rose water (optional)
Few strands of saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons warm milk
Melted butter or ghee for brushing

Add the yeast to the luke warm water and sugar. set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to proof.
Kneading can be done by hand or using a processor. Add flour and salt in a bowl. Whisk to mix well.
Add the yeast mixture and egg/ the extra liquid that you are using to substitute for the egg. Mix them well.
Add ghee in two lots and to achieve a crumbly texture of the dough.
Finally add the milk as needed and finally the kewra essence and knead to a very soft, elastic dough that is slightly sticky. Remember a well kneaded dough is essential for the sheermals to turn out well.
Transfer the dough ball to an oiled bowl, turning it to coat well all over, and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Allow the dough to double in volume. this may take from an hour to an hour and a half.
remove the cover and knead again. shape into a ball and lightly brush ghee all over and allow another raise for 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide the rested dough into 4 equal portions.
Keep ready the milk- saffron mix and a baking tray that has been lightly greased or parchment lined.
Pat one portion of the dough with hands to a circular bread which is 4"in diameter and 1/8th of an inch thick.

Transfer the patted sheermal to the baking tray and dock out small pores using a fork on the surface.
Brush all over, generously with the saffron infused milk.
Repeat the same for the rest of the dough.
Bake them in a pre-heated 180 degrees C oven for 10 to 15 minutes, taking care not to over bake them.
Soon as they are out of the oven brush melted butter/ ghee all over the surface while they are warm.

Serve warm. i served them with Dum aloo  Banarasi recipe from Tarla Dalal cookbook Swadisht Subziyan.
There are links to posts by others here in Aparna's post, all just a click away. please do check them out.


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I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.