Shirmal Bread

Aunt Jacqueline, who prepares this delicious bread for special occasions, generously shared her Shirmal recipe with me.

I’ve made Shirmal with all-purpose flour, cake flour and gluten-free flour. I have also made it using walnut milk instead of dairy products. All versions are delicious. Cardamom, saffron, ginger and cinnamon are the earthy spices that make this Persian delicacy a wonderful treat any time of the day.

I modified the recipe and used gluten-free flour for this post. Cut the recipe ingredients in half for a smaller portion.


5 cups flour (can substitute cake flour or gluten-free flour)

2 cups sugar

6 eggs plus 1 egg (for egg wash)

1 cup butter, melted

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon ground cardamom

1 Tablespoon ground ginger

¾ cup milk (can substitute non-dairy milk)

2 Tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)

2 packets of yeast

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon saffron strands

2 Tablespoons black or white sesame seeds (optional)


1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 – Activate the yeast in warm water. Set aside for ten minutes.

3 – In a large bowl cream sugar and butter.

4 – In another bowl whisk the flour and the other dry ingredients (baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and ginger) and mix well by hand or with an electric mixer. Incorporate the eggs.

5 – Add the activated yeast to the milk and cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix well.

6 – Transfer to 2 greased rectangular Pyrex dishes. Brush the egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the dough (optional).

7 – Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Bake for 30 minutes for a crispier Shirmal.

Serve warm with Sarsheer (Mascarpone cheese), jams or as a dessert.


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