Recently I came upon an Iranian bread at Jay’s International Market. The sheets of Sangak, made with whole wheat flour and sourdough, were almost 3 feet long! Robin was pleased to see the bread, that she had once eaten warm from an Iranian bakery in California. It’s awkward to handle, but we managed to make room in my grocery cart for the funky flatbread.
An Army Travels on Its Stomach
I love food that comes with a story and Sangak comes with a delightful historic tale. This mainstay of the Persian army was first mentioned in the 11th century. It was baked atop small, blistering hot river stones, which caused the pebbly markings on its surface. (Sangak in Persian means pebble).
To facilitate the baking, each soldier carried a number of small stones, which at camp were placed together to create the sangak oven, that would bake bread for the entire army. Afterwards, each soldier scooped up some of the cooled pebbles and packed them away for the next meal. How clever is that! The world’s first portable oven!