The Uniqueness of Kaak Bread

Balochistan's culinary heritage evokes nostalgia for simpler times. The nomadic struggles birthed Kaak bread, reflecting the traditional Baloch way of life.

Four doughs bake on top of a stone with a Balochi man working the burning embers of a log fire (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

History

In times of drought, shepherds opted to climb up the mountains in search of greener pastures alongside their herds. In order to travel light they only carried essentials and no proper crockery to bake. This led to the creative use of stones for baking.

Baking Stone for Balochi Kaak (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Process

Kaak bread is one of the dishes whose eccentric preparation method leaves outsiders fascinated. The practice begins by searching for adequately round stones that are then thoroughly cleaned and placed into a wooded fire to be heated. 

A Balochi man pouring salt into metal dish (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Step One

Adding salt to a pan.

A Balochi man pouring salt into metal dish (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Step Two

Adding water.

A Balochi man pouring flour into the metal dish (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Step Three

Add flour.

A Balochi man pouring flour into the metal dish (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Step Four

Mix the ingredients.

Once the stones are sufficiently heated, the cook wraps a thick layer of dough around individual stones so as to engulf them entirely. This is the trickiest bit; the chef has to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the hot stone immediately and burn. This requires a lot of practice and expertise to be able to acquire just the right temperature for the flour.

Baloch Food Tales: Sajji & Kaak Bread (2023)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Nomadic Balochi Dishes - Sajji and Kaak Bread

Watch our film about the making of Kaak bread and Sajji.

A Balochi man mixing the flour, water and salt, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A Balochi man moulds the dough for Kaak bread, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A Balochi man moulds the dough for Kaak bread, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Four clumps of mixed dough, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A Balochi man holds a clump of mixed dough, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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Two stones for baking Kaak bread, 2021, From the collection of: SOCH Outreach Foundation
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A Balochi man moulds the dough for Kaak bread (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The Shape

The bread is wrapped around the hot stone, taking its shape.

Burning embers of a log fire (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The Cooking Utensil

The already heated stone acts as the oven.

A Balochi man places the dough onto the stone to bake Kaak bread (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The Cooking Process

Once all sphere-shaped dough balls are made, they are placed near a fire and on top of other pre-heated rocks.

A Balochi man uses a cloth to remove the Kaak bread from the baking stone (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The cook then spends three to four hours looking after them and rotating them so that the bread gets cooked evenly from all sides.

Four doughs bake on top of a stone with a Balochi man working the burning embers of a log fire (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Kaak Tradition

It is said to be tradition for the dignified matrons of the household to direct the preparations for the making of Kaak bread in a home. Once the dough begins to rise and the practice is set in motion, then the responsibility falls on the other household women.

Three doughs bake on top of a stone with the burning embers of a log fire (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

The Final Look

The bread darkens at places and turns brown.

Bread baking on stone (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Breaking the bread (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Removal of Stones

Before serving, the heated stone is removed from the inside of the bread.

Bread with Sajji (2021)SOCH Outreach Foundation

Kaak Bread

All of these complex histories and customary practices make Balochi food incredibly rich and meaningful, and of course Balochistan too – a perfect place to find peace in chaos.

Credits: Story

Produced by SOC Films 
Project Director: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Producers: Syed Ayub , Sameer Khan 
Project Manager: Huma Shah 
Director of Photography: Murtaza Ali 
Photography: Asad Amaan, Murtaza Ali 
Photography Editor: Murtaza Ali 
Additional Video & Photography: Khurram Victor 
Exhibits Writer: Raania Durrani 
Exhibits : Syed Ayub , Sameer Khan 
Video Editors: Sourath Behan, Asad Amaan, Nina Zehri 
Color Grade: Sourath Behan, Asad Amaan
Sound Design: Sameer Khan 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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