I grew up watching my mom making Sheermal, a common Persian flatbread. Sheer in Farsi means milk and mal means applying/ kneading, so Sheermal refers to a bread that is made with milk. When I was a kid, this was the best after school snack, some feta cheese, walnuts, and of course sweetened black tea. Life was good.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had this bread. So imagine my surprise when I was looking through the book, “Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by the amazing and talented Zoë from Zoebakes, and saw the recipe for Sheermal. Zoë uses Saint Lucia Saffron Bread dough for making Sheermal, a nice alternative to our traditional Sheermal with turmeric, an yeast dough made with milk instead of water.
The key to making a delicious Sheermal, was the use of organic milk and natural oil from the grass-fed cows, which is still available in local shops in Iran. Even though my mom has never used saffron in the dough, there are many variation of Sheermal recipes, some add saffron & some add raisins.
I used my mom’s old recipe, mom said to brush the Sheermal with melted butter to give it a wonderful shine. I sprinkled Sheermal with a special herb & seed mix. You can find the recipe for the herb mix in my recipe for Kopoo, a Kermani bread.
Remember traditional Sheermal doesn’t have the herb mix, but it add beauty and flavor to the bread.
No matter how you would make it, Sheermal is a soft and light bread that is great for breakfast or afternoon snack.
Traditional Turmeric Sheermal
Yield: 8 pieces Bake time: 15-20 minutes
2 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
150g butter, divided 100g+50g, melted & cool
500g (4 cups) flour
2 tbsp turmeric powdered
1 tsp salt
50g herb mix (optional)
Mix the water with yeast and sugar, let it stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy on top.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the egg yolk, milk, and melted butter
Add the yeast mix to the milk, add the turmeric & salt to the flour
Finally add the flour mix to the milk and mix until the dough forms a ball around the paddle, remove the dough from the bowl and place it in a greased large bowl and cover with kitchen cloth, keep in an warm area for 2-3 hours or until doubled.
Divide the dough into tennis ball sized pieces (110g) and let them rest on baking sheet covered with a kitchen cloth for another 1/2 hour.
Dust your work surface with flour, flatten one piece of dough with a small rolling pin to 1/4” thick and 6” in diameter, place onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Once placed on the sheet, make fork holes on the dough. Sprinkle with the herb mix (optional).
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Repeat the process until you’re done with the dough. Place the tray on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and brush with remaining melted butter & serve.
Sheermal is best used fresh, but if you have extra bread, you can easily freeze and use as you need. Just wrap in plastic and place in a ziplock bag & keep in the freezer up to 15 days.
Try the bread with butter and jam in the morning or with feta cheese & walnuts for the afternoon snack. I’m sure you will love it.
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Until the next recipe and next week,