The Light, Fluffy Flatbread Found In Every Uzbek Bakery
Published 10:00 am, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one comes from community member Sarah Olmstead, who tasted this bread in Uzbekistan. Tashkent non is incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat.
I spent five weeks in Uzbekistan for research and became obsessed with these light, airy breads. Tashkent non is on every corner of every street in Tashkent. Vendors wield old-fashioned, big-wheeled baby strollers full of bread, fresh from the tandoor ovens tucked in the crevices between the old city’s buildings.
Tashkent non has a chewy, glossy crust that opens to a fluffy crumb; when served piping hot, there's nothing better. The toroidal loaves are served at every meal, placed around the table and broken up into chunks that help transport shashlyk or plov into your mouth. An individual can effortlessly put away two to four loaves (or at least I can...), either plain or buttered or dipped in honey.
The other popular Uzbekistani bread, Samarkand non, is a whole different story: it is dense, dry, and lasts a long time. Might be good for a stew, but not for just snacking. Samarkand non looks like a giant bagel and is what most people tend to make at home and (of course) in Samarkand markets. The main difference between the two non is that Samarkand non uses milk in place of water, which makes it more dense.
Although very easy to make, these breads require a single specialized piece of equipment called a chekich), which has a wooden handle on one end and a pattern of metal spikes on one end. The chekich is used to stamp the center of the bread and keep it from rising. Since most people probably don't have one, you can replace it with a fork.
This recipe makes about enough for a four-person dinner and multiplies easily if you're serving more people. It's also very fast to make and pretty forgiving of mistakes. This dish is derived from a mixture of recipes given to me in Uzbekistan; Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Homebaking; and The Art of Uzbek Cooking blog.
Don't let the ease with which this bread can be put together fool you into believing it has no taste. They are always delicious, but you do want to eat on the same day they are baked, preferably hot out of the oven.
Tashkent Non (Soft, fluffy Uzbek bread)
- 2 teaspoons Active yeast
- 2 cups Lukewarm water
- 1.5 - 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 3.5 - 4 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour
- A little milk or oil or rendered lard (not more than a couple tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon Nigella (kalonji) seeds (optional)
Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!