Shirmaal Bread (Persian Milk & Saffron Bread)


Hi lovelies!

Happy summer to those of you in northern hemisphere! My fellow Persian bloggers and I are celebrating this year’s start of summer by hosting a “picnic”! We are all spread out across a world, so unfortunately we can not celebrate summer together, but this has not stopped us by not making this celebration virtual! 😀 Each of us is sharing a Persian recipe that we could take on a picnic in nice warm summer weather to share with each other!

Shomal 2-MAsoud JaberiCHALOOS ROAD TO NORTHERN IRAN IN SUMMER (Photo by @masoud_jaberi via Insatgram, Click here for more beautiful pictures)
picnic gilan 3Picnic in Northern Iran! Aromatic tea served with a bag of cubed sugar
gilan danceNorthern Iranian women dancing in their traditional costumes (Photo by @Inja.guilan)

I have made a traditional “Shirmaal Bread”, which is a milk-based bread (“shir” means milk in Farsi :D). It is softened with oil in the dough and ginger and saffron add such a delicate yet beautiful taste and aroma to it. It was my first time making this bread, and I’m happy with how it has turned out! 🙂


Hope you like this bread too. Compared to other breads I have shared with you before, this one is the least messy 😀 Meaning, you can knead the dough in the mixing bowl and because of the slightly higher oil content, the hand kneading is sufficient to yield a nice smooth dough. So, you can easily make this too, even if you are a beginner in baking breads!

Also, don’t forget to check out other wonderful recipes from my friends!




3 1/4 cups plain flour (more for dusting)
1 teaspoon instant active dry yeast
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron (brewed, method here)
1/2 cup oil (canola or light olive oil)
1/2 cup milk (heated, but not boiling)
sesame seeds


Grid Shirmaal 2

1- Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar in a jar. Then add 1/2 cup of warm water and stir until mixed well. Then let sit for 5 minutes.

2- In a large bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, until pale in colour and sugar has dissolved a bit.

3- Add warm milk to the mixture and continue whisking. Then,  add salt, ginger powder, and oil. Stir well (e.g. with a wooden spoon) to combine.

4- Add the yeast mixture to the bowl, then stir to combine the ingredients.

5- Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing each time until the flour is incorporated in the mixture.

6-After the last addition, you’ll have a rough dough. Knead this dough by hand for 7 minutes, until smooth.

7- Then, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour.

8a- Preheat oven to 175º C. Put baking paper on a large baking tray and sprinkle flour on it. Then divide the dough into three equal portions. Shape each portion into an oval shape.

8b- Mix the brewed saffron with the remaining egg yolk. Then, brush the breads with it and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

9- Bake shirmals for 30 minutes (I used a fan-assisted mode on my oven), until golden brown on top!

~~~~Enjoy with honey or cheese !!!

17 thoughts on “Shirmaal Bread (Persian Milk & Saffron Bread)

  1. Parisa joon, this is so lovely and great step by step instruction 🙂 lately, I’ve been into bread baking and I will try your recipe. Happy Summer xoxo


  2. Parisa jan, This is a beautiful post, with stunning photos, packed with nostalgia. I love shirmaal bread, and thank you for this step-by-step recipe and tutorial. Your creation looks perfect! 😋


  3. I love any kind of bread but this one is my absolute favorite. I’ll have a loaf of your shirmaal with tea :). I buy shirmaal from the the Persian market but I’m sure yours is far tastier, sure looks it. Great recipe and photos, thank you!


      1. Awww! I sure hope you do continue to post more recipes regardless. It makes me happy to see your generation cook. I was wondering why your posts weren’t appearing in my reader and found out the follow box was accidentally unchecked hmm. Now I get to see your posts. Happy cooking and have a great summer yourself 🙂


  4. Hello Parisa, your recipe looks so tasty so I tried it. The taste was there (so delicios) but mine turned out really stodgy. It also didn’t rise much. What could it be?


    1. Hi Jehan! I’m so happy you liked the taste!… About the texture, I think not rising enough can be due to either not kneading enough, not letting it rise enough or the yeast that you used. … Was it still very sticky after kneading? What kind of yeast did you use?


  5. Thank you for replying Parisa. I had packet yeast (gold star – local brand here in SA). To be honest I baked about 2 weeks ago so the half packet yeast had been open in my cupboard since then, maybe it was no good?! The shirmaal was devoured within minutes, needless to say that I will definitely be making it again. Will let you know how goes.


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