The name of this famous Uzbek layered bread is similar to some other breads of Middle East, but it’s different. It can be made with unleavened or leavened dough, with melted lamb (tail) fat or with melted butter. It’s soft, flaky, and crunchy at the same time. If lamb fat is used, it adds additional flavor. Nigella seeds taste like a combination of onions, black pepper and oregano. Get them if you can for the topping, they also contribute a very nice flavor to the bread. In Austin, nigella seeds are available in Savory Spice Shop by the name “chernushka.”
Many traditional Middle East recipes are for large gatherings. Can you make just two small breads for 2-4 portions? Yes, you can.
Any bread needs patience. It’s not so much about hard labor, it’s about waiting. Good news is you don’t need to wait in the kitchen. You can use timer and incorporate making this bread into your other home chores.
Mix all the ingredients and knead a soft and elastic dough. Place it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, make tiny holes in it, and leave to ferment in room temperature for about an hour.
Roll the dough into 6" square, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into 7" x 12" rectangular, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into 8" x 30" rectangular. Melt butter and brush the dough.
Layer the dough: cut it in half and place one on top of another, repeat. You will have 4 layers, 2" wide.
Roll layered dough tight.
Cut the roll across into two 1" thick rounds, [lace them into covered container, and let it rest in room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Turn on to heat oven 425F, convection mode, baking/pizza stone inside.
Rolls In 30-45 minutes:
Flatten them with a heel of your hand, and let them rest for 10 minutes, covered (I use 2 upside down bowls to cover them).
Roll each one into a 1/4" thin round. Let it rest for 10 minutes, covered. The tool on the left is chakich.
Brush both rounds with melted butter.
Use a fork to prick the dough all over except the 1/2" wide border. This allows some steam to escape, and prevents layered bread from puffing unequally as it bakes. It looks nicer pricked with some kind of pattern. Traditionally it is stamped by the special tool called “chekich.”
Sprinkle rounds with some nigella (chrnushka) and sesame seeds.