What is Obi Non?

Obi non is made with wheat flour and other simple ingredients.

In Middle Eastern countries, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, various types of flatbreads are prepared in tandoor ovens to accompany or form the center of various meals. Obi non, one of several historically prepared Lepyoshkas pastries, is similar to the more common naan flatbread, only thicker. A simple mixture of bread flour, water, salt and yeast, this flatbread is often marked with a chekish before it goes into the oven, leaving a distinct mark in the center and along the radius-shaped edges.

Although obi non is considered one of many Uzbek pastry styles, it is made with flavorful ingredients shared by many tandoor breads. After rolling the flour, water, salt and yeast into a ball, the dough is flattened into a round disc that is thicker at the edges than in the center. According to one recipe, the edge is almost 1 inch (3 cm) thick, while the center is less than 0.25 inch (5 mm) thick. To get the right consistency, you need 2 cups (473 ml) of water, 2 teaspoons (about 10 ml) of salt, and 1.5 ounces (43 g) of yeast for every 7.5 cups (1 kg) of flour.

After the dough has been rolled to the proper measurements, a tool called a chekish is often used to add aesthetic value to the obi non. Available in a variety of designs, letters and religious symbols, the device also makes a distinctive design of rays along the edges of the disc. When the bread is baked in the tandoor oven, the design becomes more evident.

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Tandoor ovens have been in use since Sumerian culture took root in ancient Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago. It is still the preferred method of cooking a variety of main dishes and breads across the Middle East and South Asia. Although styles vary widely, a traditional tandoor oven has a cylindrical top into which bread or meats are fed and suspended from the walls, while the fire burns deep in the bottom of the oven to provide intense, even heat.

Several Lepyoshkas besides obi non are in the tandoor cook’s arsenal. Bukhara lepyoshkas add sesame seeds to the crust of the bread before baking. Another variety, called patir, is usually prepared for wedding rituals and incorporates sour cream and butter for a more pastel-like effect. Perhaps the tastiest of these breads, piyozli non adds lard, milk and diced onions for a ready-to-go wrap.

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