Noon Rogani, aka “Cinnamon Turban Bread”

The July BOM (bread of the month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group was Noon Rogani, a breakfast bread from Azerbaijan. We followed the recipe posted on the King Arthur website. This simple yet impressive bread is filled with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and looks almost like a giant cinnamon roll. The shape is supposed to resemble a turban: hence, the name my daughters gave it — Cinnamon Turban Bread.

The dough is fairly straightforward and consists of flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil. My six-year-old helped me mix up the dough. We began by weighing the flour.

Then we mixed the flour, yeast, and water to make a slurry, which we allowed to rest for 10 minutes.

We mixed in the rest of the dough ingredients and kneaded everything together. The recipe was rather vague on the kneading time, saying only to knead “until the dough is smooth and elastic”. I didn’t time myself while I kneaded the dough, but I’m pretty sure I under-kneaded and didn’t develop the gluten enough. The next time I make this recipe, I’ll knead the dough for about 10-12 minutes and make sure I get a good windowpane.

After kneading the dough, we put it in an oiled bowl to ferment.

After about 40 minutes, I (my daughter had lost interest by this time) dumped the dough out onto the dining room table and pressed it out into a rough square. Then I rolled the dough out to a large square. The recipe said the square should be about 23 inches, but mine was nowhere near that large. I rested the dough several times, but was never able to get it rolled out to the correct size, which I blame on the under-developed gluten mentioned above. 

Never one to let failure dampen my spirits, I pressed on with my dough as it was. The next step was to brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled the bread like a jelly roll. I continued to roll the dough like you would a baguette, stretching the rope out gently as I went. The rope was supposed to reach five feet, but again mine fell well short of this goal.

Still undeterred, I twisted the rope from the center to the ends, then coiled it into a turban shape.

After brushing the “turban” with butter, I covered it and let it rest for about 45 minutes. I baked the loaf at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until it was well-browned and baked through.

The final embellishment was my own. Since it looked so much like a giant cinnamon roll, how could I resist glazing it?

I was afraid that the loaf would be too dense, since I wasn’t able to roll it out to the proper length. But it tasted just as others have described it — slightly crunchy on the outside, and warm, gooey, and tender on the inside.

Like a giant cinnamon roll.

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Sunflower Seed Rye – The End of an Era

Sunflower Seed Rye, the 35th bread (out of 43) in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, is also the last in a series of sourdough breads featured in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. If you have read my blog before, you know I am a big fan of sourdough, often adding it to yeast bread recipes and having gone so far as to make a sourdough starter tutorial. Needless to say, I loved this bread. And my wife, who is a sunflower seed fanatic, was pretty fond of it, too.

This bread starts with a soaker of pumpernickel grind rye flour and water. In a departure from many of Peter Reinhart‘s other sourdough recipes, this recipe calls for instant yeast, in addition to the firm starter.

I made the soaker and firm starter the day before making the dough.  The dough was supple, soft and just a tad on the tacky side. Although I’ve had mixed results stirring in fruit, nuts, etc. with the Kitchen Aid dough hook, the sunflower seeds folded in easily and didn’t change the consistency of the dough.

After a 90-minute fermentation, I divided the dough in half and shaped each piece into a couronne, or crown. This is done by making a boule, poking a hole in the middle, stretching it into a giant bagel shape, and finally pressing a dowel (or in my case, the handle of a wooden spoon) into four sides of the dough. I dusted the creases with flour to help keep them from growing shut as the bread proofed.

I proofed the dough for about 90 minutes, until it grew to about 1 1/2 times its original size.

While the dough was proofing, I got the oven ready by putting a roasting pan on the bottom shelf and preheating the oven to 500 dF. I proofed the bread on parchment paper that I had placed on a baking sheet, and when the dough was ready, I put the baking sheet in the oven and poured a cup of boiling water into the roasting pan.

I lowered the heat to 450 and baked the loaves for about 25 minutes, rotating them after 10 minutes. The loaves looked pretty nice when they came out, even though the holes baked closed.

The bread was delicious, with a nice tang from the sourdough, a sweet saltiness from the sunflower seeds, and a robust flavor from the rye — definitely a bread worth making again.