Last week, Tyler and I ate something so good that I hurried home after I'd eaten every last crumb and began researching recipes. Over the course of the week, I began searching for the Russian equivalent of the ingredients (finding whole wheat flour is trickier than you'd expect) eagerly awaiting Sunday morning when I'd put the recipe to the test.
I came across a website that I'm very familiar with, Food 52, which happened to have what looked like a great and reliable recipe for Taskent Non. The author spent some time in Uzbekistan, the home to this bread, and raved about it in the same manner I had. I decided to give it a try, making a few tweaks here and there.
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Begin by putting the water, salt, and yeast into a large bowl. Mix it around until everything is fully dissolved. I find it's important to let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes so it can activate.
Once, time is up, add the whole wheat flour, again mixing it until it's fully incorporated.
Then, add the all purpose flour, one cup at a time. Don't over mix or it will become tough.
You're going to have a sticky dough, very sticky, but that's what you want.
Pour the dough out onto a WELL-floured surface and knead until it's smooth and perfect like a baby's bottom (there just really isn't any better comparison).
Prepare a large, clean, dry bowl with just a smidge of flour at the bottom to keep it from sticking (don't oil it). Plop your gorgeous piece of bread-to-be into the bottom of it, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 2 hours in a warm place. We have a "fireplace" that acts as the perfect space heater/dough-riser.
There's just something about baking that puts me in a festive mood.
When your alarm rings, fetch your dough and place it back on the floured surface.
Cut the dough into 4-6 even-sized pieces, depending on how big you want your loaves. Form each piece into "low-domed rounds" and cover once more for 20 minutes this time.
If your work station happens to be warm, just cover them right there on the counter, otherwise, transfer them to a baking sheet and move to a warm place.
While your babies are taking their final rest, begin preheating your over to 425°F with a baking stone if you have it. I don't, so I just used a regular baking sheet.
Before putting the bread into the oven, press your fingers into the center of each round.
Pierce the indent with a fork a few times, making a pretty pattern if you're up to it, then brush the top with milk or olive oil.
Next, sprinkle a few sesame seeds over them.
Transfer each one to the preheated stone or sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye out for a brown and crusty crust.
As soon as they're out of the oven, grab a kitchen towel or oven mitt, and cut one in half. It's best straight out of the oven. Tyler took his with some brie which melted all over the place (no complaints from him) and salami.
There are lots of things that I treasure in the world, and hot, steaming bread straight from the oven is most certainly one of them.
NOTE: My bread did not turn out like what I had at the restaurant or like the image in the link to this recipe. I should have pressed each loaf down with my fist instead of my fingers, and I think the flour I used might have had something to do with it, too. The loaves came out so flavorfully with a lovely crust and soft center anyways that I recommend you give it a try this way. Happy baking!