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Naan-e Barbari

According to Zoroastrianism, a widespread religion in the ancient Persian Empire, it was the prophet Zarathustra who taught his followers how to cultivate cereals from wild grasses and thus laid the foundation for agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle. While it is true that agriculture was first developed in the Middle East, in the so-called Fertile Crescent, that was thousands of years before Zarathustra was worshipped.

Once the first agricultural societies were established, one of mankind’s most important staples began taking over the world: bread. Its original form, flat bread, was produced by mashing the grain, turning it into mush by adding water, and then frying thin, flat cakes on hot stones. The discovery of sour dough revolutionized the art of bread baking: when dough is left unattended for some time, it picks up natural yeasts from the air and thus starts to ferment, resulting in an airy bread that is easier to digest than unleavened bread.

Flat bread is still eaten all over the Middle East in many different varieties. This Persian flat bread is traditionally eaten for breakfast with tabriz, a cheese similar to feta, along with a cup of tea.