Sheermal is a milky, mildly sweet, soft and rich bread from the Persian cuisine. The word ‘sheer’ means ‘milk’ and clearly the name ‘sheermal’ is derived from the fact that the dough is kneaded with warm milk instead of water.

South Asian food is greatly influenced by the Central Asian and Persian cuisines. Many roadside eateries and small restaurants still bake Sheermal, Taftan, naan and other such Persian inspired flatbreads in clay ovens in Pakistan and India.

The bread has a light, buttery texture and taste but very rich aroma from Kewra or Rosewater and colour from saffron. It is a simple recipe that is easy to make and doesn’t require a long resting time but is quite versatile as you eat it with Kebabs and curries, vegetarian dishes, as a dessert with fresh cream or yogurt on top or simply with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast or evening snack.

Unlike naan, roti or paratha, Sheermal isn’t meant to scoop up gravies and curries. Though it compliments a lot of sweet and savoury dishes but it has such a distinct and delicious taste that I always prefer to eat it on it’s own with a cup of tea or Persian coffee.

Some versions sprinkle sesame seeds on sheermal but I like mine with raisins and roughly chopped almonds and pistachios. For me it’s a complete treat, a bread that tells stories of its rich royal heritage with each indulgent bite.

The best thing is you can bake these ahead and store them wrapped up in fridge till you need them. Before serving, brush them a little with melted butter or ghee and warm them on a skillet on stove top or in microwave for a few seconds.

If you can’t find Kewra or Rosewater where you live, you can also use cardamom or almond essence for that touch royal and exotic.


2 cups plain flour ( maida)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry fast acting yeast
1 teaspoon Kewra/pandan , Rosewater or cardamom essence
2 tablespoons Ghee or butter, melted
A few threads saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup mixed nuts and raisins

This Is What You Do:

Warm milk and add into a big mixing bowl. Add sugar and yeast. Cover the bowl and set aside for ten minutes to allow it to bubble up.

Always check the expiry date on the yeast packet before using so that you don’t end up with a brick instead of a bread.

Add Kewra or essence of your choice to the milk. Mix flour with salt. Add to the sweetened milk. Knead for 4-5 minutes. The dough will be soft and sticky at this stage.

Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 30 minutes.

Add ghee or butter to the dough and knead again till the dough is elastic and silky smooth (another 4-5 minutes).

Preheat oven at 180 degrees C. Lightly grease an oven proof dish.

Divide the dough into four equal portions. Make dough balls. Place a dough ball on your palm and press to make a thick round. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Place these dough rounds on the tray. Prick the sheermal breads all over with fork for equal heating.

Brush the saffron flavoured milk over the breads. Sprinkle mixed nuts and raisins over them, press lightly with hand to make them stick.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or till the breads fluff up nicely and turn golden on top.

When ready, immediately cover with a damp cloth for ten minutes and keep covered to retain the soft texture.

Serve with any curry; Seekh kebab,
Lamb Almond Korma ,Chicken Nihari taste great with it. Or serve for breakfast or evening snack with black tea or Persian coffee.

Serves 4

19 Replies to “Sheermal, Persian Sweet Bread”

  1. It’s nice to know about new things. I had not heard about this bread before this. Love the recipe, seems easy. Bookmarking this for later☺

  2. My mum used to get this bread during Ramdan in India, and we just used to devour with chai or milk. I have never tried making at home, but now I have seen your detailed recipe, I can try my hands on it. So tempting 🙂

  3. I love this rich aromatic flatbread. I maddest first time for a group theme and loved it. I make it often to go with egg curry or to enjoy it one its won with coffee.

  4. Maria, you know my weakness – Breads! So imagine what this post does to me. You will actually not believe this, Sheermal was on my mind for the next month blog post as it would be monsoons in India and the best time to indulge in these beauties along with a hot cup of tea. Wish we could enjoy this someday together with loads of stories to share. Also I loved that its an eggless recipe. Some add eggs for the softness but I dont think its really required looking at the texture of your bread.

  5. Never had a chance to taste this bread..but sounds flavorful..would love to give it a try some time

  6. I have tasted this bread with chai in one of my family’s friends place, very soft & melt in my mouth…Loved your recipe, sounds so easy & yumm..beautiful share

  7. Wow you make it sound so simple. I need to try it now that I have your recipe.

  8. I can’t express what an amazing bread this is, one of the best I have tried and enjoyed it so much dunk into spicy chicken curry… Looks so well made…

  9. Sheermal is one of my favourite since ever i tried them at home. A royal sweet bread, love this bread very much. Can have it with anything. Yours looks super tempting Maria..

  10. Had sheermal long back in purani Delhi, still the taste lingers on my tastebuds thanks for sharing the lovely recipe bookmarking it to try soon and revisit my memories.

  11. Shhermal is such a flavourful bread.. I had made it some time back too and we all relished it.

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