Friday, 28 July 2017

Naan

I can't believe it has taken me this long to make naan!

The first time I encountered naan was as a child at a friend's house. I was quite impressed by the fact that my friend's mother had made it. I couldn't imagine either of my parents making bread. She told me it was very easy to make, but I was dubious. Somehow I have managed to carry that dubiousness right up until now, even though I have made lots of other breads that are really more tricky to do than this.

She was right, though! It really is a very easy bread. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to make.

My first attempt bears the marks of amateurishness, of course. The smaller skillet was plainly hotter than the other, even though they were set at the same mark, and tended to scorch the naans.  They are a bit uneven in size and texture. We didn't care though; they were warm fresh bread and very tasty. I think I will be making these often. This kind of pan-cooked bread is also far more pleasant to make in the summer than a loaf, since the oven does not need to be turned on.

4 to 6 breads
40 minutes prep time
1 to 2 hours rising time

Naan Bread

1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons fast-acting yeast
3/4 cup yogurt
2 1/2 cups hard unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
more hard unbleached flour to roll
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Warm the water gently. It should feel definitely warm to the touch but not actually hot. Put the water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let it sit 10 minutes; the yeast should dissolve and begin to foam up.

Mix the yogurt into the water, then stir the salt into the flour and mix it into the liquid ingredients. Turn it out onto a clean surface, dusted with a little more flour, and knead for 5 minutes. It will be a soft, sticky dough; sprinkle it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands but keep it as soft as is reasonable.

Clean out the mixing bowl, and put in a little of oil to coat the dough. Return the dough to the bowl, turning it until it is coated in the oil. Cover with a clean cloth and put it in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Heat 2 large skillets at the temperature you would cook eggs or pancakes. While they heat, take a portion of the dough (1/4 or 1/6) and pat it out, again sprinkling it with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. When it is evenly less than 1/2" thick, place it in one of the hot skillets. Cook until it is puffed and looking a little dry on top, and the bottom shows brown spots. Turn and cook for a few more minutes on the other side, until it too shows some brown spots.

While the first naan is cooking, pat out the next one in the same way and cook it in the second pan. Prepare the next 2 naans and cook them when the first 2 come out of their pans.

As each naan is removed from the pan, brush it with a little melted butter on each side. Set it on a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. 




Last year at this time I made Cold Zucchini Stuffed with Cheese & Seeds.

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