This bread is a part of We Knead To Bake challenge thrown every month by Aparna. Though I baked this bread more than a week back but amidst son’s assessments I could not get enough time to write the detailed post.
Komaj is a sweet and savoury Persian bread with a filling of chopped dates and served with tea. The bread is spiced with turmeric and cumin and it’s the turmeric that gives the yellow colour to the bread. I was looking forward to see how turmeric, cumin and dates work together.
The bread recipe has been adapted from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s book, Saraban – A Chef’s Journey Through Persia, and here’s what they have to say about Komaj.
“This is our interpretation of a wonderful savoury–sweet bread we tasted in the oasis town of Mahan in the south-east of Iran. Cumin is grown in abundance in the region and is used to flavour many of the local dishes, often in combination with turmeric.”
This enriched bread is cut into heart shaped buns in Iran but I have cut them into round shaped buns for my convenience. Also, the bread dough for the buns is raised thrice unlike other breads which are raised twice. The dates used are dehydrated ones which are still soft, this ensures an easy cutting of the buns.
The buns turned out soft and we loved the outer cover but somehow we did not like the combination of the three flavours put together. I thought S might like it as he loves the dates but even he did not. So the next time, I’m going to use a cheesy stuffing to make these buns. My co-bloggers in the challenge, loved the bun but it was to our disappointment that we did not. I hope the flavours work for you.
I made about 8buns using half the dough and with the remaining dough I made a simple rustic bread loaf. The quantity mentioned under filling is good enough to make 8-10buns.
Preparation Time:15mins | Rising Period: about 3hrs | Makes:8-10buns | Difficulty Level: Moderate
For the dough:
1tsp active dried yeast
1/8 cup warm water
3- 3/4 cups bread flour (or APF/ all-purpose flour)
2- 1/2tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2tsp turmeric powder
1/2 to 3/4tsp salt
1 egg (optional)
2/3 cups warm milk ( I required double the quantity of this)
1- 1/2tbsp olive oil
For the filling:
12 to 15 dried dates, pitted and cut into chunks (the slightly soft kind)
25gm unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
4 to 5 pods cardamom, powdered
Milk/ egg wash for brushing dough
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Proof the yeast: Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, with a pinch of sugar and keep it aside for 10 minutes. Observe for the bubbles/frothing on the top.
Put the flour, 2tsp of the crushed cumin, sugar, turmeric and salt in the bowl of food processor and give quick pulses to mix all.
Add the egg (optional) and the yeast and run the processor to mix them properly.
Add the warm milk and oil and run the processor at the slowest speed till all are properly mixed in to form a soft dough, which is not sticky. This should take around 4-5mins.
Place the dough in a properly oiled container and cover the container with a cling film or a damp cloth, to avoid drying of the dough. Place the dough in a warm place to rise. Once the dough has doubled in volume, deflate and knead gently again and let it rise the 2nd time.
Deflate the dough gain after the 2nd rise and shape it to a ball. Flatten the ball and puncture it right in the centre to form a hole. Widen the hole and cut at one end to get a rope like shape. Cut the rope into two equal halves.
Cut each half further into 4parts and shape them to get smooth balls.
Roll the balls to get a rectangular shape of 1/4-1/8” thickness and then using a 6cms wide cookie cutter gently press on one end so as to see the round mark. Apply water on the mark and place about a teaspoon of the filling in the centre and then fold the other end of the rectangle completely over it.
Press on all sides to seal the edges, this step should be done carefully. If not sealed properly, the buns would open up while baking and would not look nice. Once sealed, using the cookie cutter, cut the filled bun.
Place the bun on a greased baking tray. Repeat the process. If required use all purpose flour for rolling.
Let the buns rise again for 15mins. Apply a milk/egg wash and sprinkle the remaining cumin over the buns and press it gently on the bun.
In a preheated oven bake for 8-10mins or till golden.
Let the buns cool on a cooling rack and if desired dust icing sugar over them.
Serve warm with tea or coffee. They taste best the day they are made. If left over, warm gently in the microwave and eat.