My relationship with flatbread

I grew up with the aroma and taste of freshly baked flatbread from the local bakeries in downtown Tehran.


We mainly enjoyed Taftoon most of the time for breakfast or sangak occasionally - mainly because the queue in front of the sangak shop was much longer, and my busy dad did not have the time in the morning for long lines. As a result, sangak in our house was a special treat for the weekends. 'Sangak' in Persian means little stone, and it is a popular wholemeal traditional flatbread in Iran. Traditionally, the bread is baked on a bed of red hot pebbles in a dome-shaped oven. From my occasional visits to our local bakery with my cousins, I well remember the heat inside the bakery on scorching hot summer days in Tehran and, more importantly, that wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. Years later, I realised my childhood treat is so popular that now you can find a recipe for it on MasterClass website. 


My love story with traditional flatbreads entered into a new chapter in my adult life when I developed a low carb diet, and I have followed that for most of my adulthood. By choosing that lifestyle and eating habits, I did not have that much opportunity to enjoy flatbread in the way that I used to. Bread, in general, became an exceptional and occasional treat. Moreover, when I immigrated to the UK, where I did not have access to any traditionally baked flatbreads, my bread experiences became limited to my travels. In an unconscious search for missing aromas and flavours from childhood, I started to explore the whole new world of flatbreads in other countries and cultures like focaccia and borlengo in Italy, pita in Greece, pide in Turkey, among so many others. 


Over time to keep up with my busy life, I was also constantly looking for ways to sustain my healthy eating lifestyle, which would be equally satisfying. I came across the concept of mindfulness. More than ever, I realised that mindfulness and mindful eating is the only way to achieve it. As part of this journey, I started to get to know my carbs and understand the concept of slow-release carbs and healthier carb choices rather than eliminating carbs and rejecting my love for bread. According to the British Dietetic Association, whole grain bread can be a healthy source of fibre, B vitamins and folic acid, omega-3 fats, antioxidants and more nutrients. 


When I decided to turn my passion for food and bread into my business, I was determined to promote whole grain and healthier carb options. However, whilst I was collecting recipes from friends and family in the Middle East and North Africa, I realised that most of the traditional recipes generously shared with me included white flour. So, as an amateur baker, the journey started by exploring different wholemeal flours on my Wednesday baking evenings. Both my own research and recommendations from two friends, a pastry chef and a baker, led me to Shipton Mill, where I source your flour from. It is an independent family-run English mill that offers a wide range of organic wholemeal and gluten-free flour. 


This was when I started baking my first flatbreads, with a minimal three-line recipe and no detailed instructions, on a Wednesday evening after work in spring last year. My love for flatbread baking began! 


There is simply nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread drifting through your kitchen and the joy of tearing into your irresistible home-baked flatbread. 


Since then, I have enjoyed my wholemeal home-baked flatbreads, and my mission is to share that pleasure with all the bread lovers. I am here to gather all the ingredients for you so that you can just enjoy the baking experience whilst exploring new and authentic aromas. Then you can share the flavours with friends and family by simply using your baking kits. 


I believe in educating people about food, so in every Bake2Explore journey, I include the story of the people, the culture and the heritage behind the flatbread recipe.

 

Leila