Sunday, October 2, 2016

Naan Bread

I love making bread. Whole wheat sandwich bread, hamburger buns, focaccia: I love to make it. Naan is great because it only takes one rise (AKA takes less time to make!). It is a GREAT accompaniment to chana masala or another Indian dish. It also makes a great flatbread pizza! But, that assumes you can keep your hands off it long enough to put toppings on it.

The bread doesn't take long to make, but I found the bottleneck is how big your griddle is to cook them up. My griddle is standard issue and can cook 2 small pieces or one large piece at a time. So, make sure you have a buddy to help you roll out the pieces or plan ahead with time if you're working alone.

Naan Bread

1 teaspoon active dry yeast 
3 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons melted salted butter, for brushing on finished naans

1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar with 3/4 cup warm water. Let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, flour, and salt. Set aside.

3. Add the yogurt and olive oil to yeast mixture and whisk to combine. 

4. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the dough together with a fork. When the dough comes together, knead gently into a ball (the dough will be slightly sticky). Knead as few times as possible to form the ball.

5. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let sit in a warm place for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size.

6. Dust your work surface with flour. Shape the dough into a long rectangle and cut into 6 equal portions, dusting with more flour as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. 

7. Warm a large cast iron or heavy nonstick pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Using a rolling pin, roll one of the dough balls into an oval shape about 1/8-inch thick (it should be about 9 inches x 4 inches). Pat off any excess flour.

8. Gently lay the dough in the dry skillet and cook until the top is bursting with air bubbles and the bottom is golden and blackened in spots, a few minutes. Flip the naan and cook about 1-2 minutes more until the the bottom is lightly browned and blistered in spots. Remove the naan from the skillet and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.

9. Note: To keep the cooked naans warm, place them in a 200°F oven. Store leftovers in a Ziplock bag and reheat in a 350°F oven wrapped in foil.

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