Taftan: The Flavorful Persian Saffron Bread

Taftan is a delicious and aromatic Persian bread known for its distinctive saffron flavor and soft, pillowy texture. This delightful bread is a perfect accompaniment to a wide range of dishes, making it a favorite in many Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through making Taftan, bringing the flavors of the Middle East to your kitchen.


For the Taftan Dough:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons of warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For Garnish:

  • White sesame seeds or black nigella seeds (optional)


1. Activating the Yeast:

  • In a small bowl, combine the lukewarm milk, sugar, and active dry yeast.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes frothy.

2. Preparing the Taftan Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour and salt.
  • Add the activated yeast mixture, plain yogurt, melted ghee, and saffron-infused milk.
  • Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft and slightly sticky dough.

3. Kneading:

  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise for 2-3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

4. Shaping the Taftan:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F) and place a baking stone or tray inside.
  • Divide the risen dough into equal portions and shape them into round balls.
  • Roll out each ball into a flat, round bread, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • You can use your fingers to create small depressions on the surface of the bread.

5. Baking:

  • Remove the hot baking stone or tray from the oven and carefully place the Taftan on it.
  • You can garnish the Taftan with white sesame seeds or black nigella seeds if desired.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the Taftan is golden and slightly puffed.

6. Serving:

  • Serve your freshly baked Taftan warm with your choice of Middle Eastern or South Asian dishes, or enjoy it on its own.


Taftan is a flavorful and fragrant bread that’s a fantastic complement to various dishes. Its saffron-infused aroma and soft texture make it a delightful addition to your dining experience.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

1. Can I use butter instead of ghee?

  • Yes, you can substitute ghee with butter for this recipe, but ghee adds a unique flavor to Taftan.

2. Is it necessary to use saffron in Taftan?

  • Saffron is a key ingredient for the distinct flavor and color of Taftan. You can omit it, but it won’t have the same saffron aroma and hue.

3. What can I serve with Taftan?

  • Taftan pairs well with a variety of Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes, such as kebabs, stews, or dips like hummus and baba ghanoush.

4. Can I make Taftan in advance?

  • Taftan is best enjoyed fresh, but you can reheat it in the oven or on a griddle to restore its softness and flavor.

5. Is Taftan vegan?

  • Taftan is not vegan due to the use of milk and yogurt. You can explore vegan alternatives to make it suitable for your diet.

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