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In the Middle Eastern countries of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, several types of flat breads are prepared in tandoor ovens to accompany or form the center of various meals. Obi non, one of several types of historically prepared Lepyoshkas pastries, is similar to the more common naan style of flat bread, only thicker. A simple mixture of bread flour, water, salt and yeast, this flat bread often is marked by a chekish before entering the oven, leaving a distinctive marking in the center and along the spoke-like edges.
Though obi non is thought to be one of many styles of Uzbek pastry, it is made with savory ingredients shared by many tandoor breads. After rolling the flour, water, salt and yeast into a ball, the dough is flattened into a round disk that is thicker at the edges than in the center. According to one recipe, the edge is nearly 1 inch (3 cm) thick, while the center is less than 0.25 inch (5 mm) thick. To get the right consistency, 2 cups (473 ml) of water, 2 tsp (about 10 ml) of salt,and 1.5 oz (43 g) of yeast is needed 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 range of designs, letters and religious symbols, the device also makes a distinctive design of spokes along the edges of the disk. When the bread bakes up in the tandoor oven, the design becomes more evident.
Tandoor ovens have been used since the Sumerian culture took root in ancient Mesopotamia more than 5,000 years ago. It still is a preferred method of cooking a range of entrees and breads throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Though styles vary widely, a traditional tandoor oven has a cylindrical top into which breads or meats are fed and suspended from the walls, while a fire burns deep within the oven to provide an intense, even heat.
Several Lepyoshkas besides obi non are in the tandoor cook's arsenal. Bukhara lepyoshkas add sesame seeds to the husk of the bread before baking. Another variety, called patir, is usually prepared for marriage rites and incorporates sweet cream and butter for a more pastry-like effect. Perhaps the most savory of these breads, piyozli non adds feef lard, milk and diced onions for a ready-made wrap.
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