Monday, July 1, 2013

two hundred and seventy-one

Though I prefer homemade foods and meals, there are a couple of tasty things that come in packets--like butter curry mix.  I mix the paste with melted butter, coat the chicken in it, and cook until the chicken is cooked, then I top the whole thing off by adding water and making a pot of basmati rice.  Complex?  Hardly.  Delicious?  Yes.  As a housewife, however, I can't make a meal-in-a-box without feeling like a bum.  In most cases I would make bread or dessert, but for years naan was one of those breads that was easier and tastier to buy.  Finally, after much experimentation I realized I had tweaked my recipe and techniques enough to produce something pretty darn close to the naan I get from the local Indian restaurants without a tandoor.

P.S.  The unrisen dough can be frozen for up to a month.  The morning of the day you plan to bake the naan, place the frozen dough in a greased bowl at room temperature.  By dinner time, it will be risen and you'll be ready to start at step 4.

Homemade Naan

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
  • 3 + 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups bread flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  Use the dough hook as a spoon to combine the dry ingredients before you attach it to the mixer.
  2. Add 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 3 tablespoons melted butter to the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dough is smooth, elastic, and not sticky (about 10 minutes).  If the dough seems shaggy and dry, add a tablespoon of water.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, then grease the bowl.  Return the dough to the bowl and coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with a dampened tea towel and let rise until the dough has doubled (about 90 minutes).
  4. When the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into quarters and roll the quarters into balls.  (You can also add minced, sauteed garlic or onion to the dough at this point.)  Cover the dough balls with the tea towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.  While the dough is resting, place a large baking pan in the oven.  Set the oven to preheat to 475 F.
  5.  When the dough has rested and the oven is hot, flatten out two of the balls of dough and stretch them into 10 inch long, 1/4 inch thick ovals.  Remove the pan from the oven, then place it upside down on top of two cooling racks.  Carefully but quickly lay the naan side by side on the inverted baking sheets.  Brush the tops of the naan with butter, then return the pan to the oven.
  6. Bake the naan for 3 minutes, then use tongs to flip them.  Brush the top of the naan with more butter, then bake an additional 3 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.  Wrap the baked naan in a dry tea towel or napkin to allow them to soften.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the other two dough balls.

Makes 4 loaves.

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