Naan is a type of Indian flatbread that is traditionally baked in a tandoor, a beehive-shaped oven that can reach scorchingly high temperatures. Since I, like most people, do not own a tandoor, I decided to look for a recipe adapted to the typical American kitchen. I found one in the newest Spring Entertaining, by Cook's Illustrated magazine.
The recipe was not to complicated, and made naan thattasted just like the ones I get from Indian restaurants. Rather than baking them in the oven like most American adaptations, it called for cooking the naan in a cast-iron skillets on the stove to simulate the one-sided high-heat of tandoor. The disadvantage of this was that I had to cook each loaf one at a time, but according to the magazine, using the oven resulted in dry and tough bread. It also instructed to brush the finished naan with melted butter or ghee, but I decided not to.
Naan (from Cook's Illustrated, makes 8 6"-7" naan)
- 13 1/2 oz (2 1/2 cup) bread flour
- 1 1/2 oz whole wheat flour
- 1 package instant/rapid-rise yeast
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water (I used more)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tbps olive oil + extra for bowl
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds (opt)
- 4 tbsp butter, melted (I didn't)
- Combine flours, yeast, sugar, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and mix with paddle attachment until blended.
- Add water, yogurt, and oil and mix on low speed until shaggy dough forms, about 30 sec, adding more water in 1 tbsp increments if necessary.
- Replace paddle with dough hook and knead on medium speed until smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes, adding more flour if necessary (one tbsp at a time), to allow dough to clear sides of bowl but stick to very bottom.
- Transfer dough to clean work surface and knead by hand 1 minute.
- Shape dough into ball, transfer to lightly oiled large bowl, cover w/ plastic wrap, and place in draft-free spot. Let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour (Until dough has doubled in size)
- Transfer dough to unfloured work surface, cut into 8 equal portions, and roll each into a ball using a cupped palm and the friction of the work surface.
- Let balls rest 5-10 minutes.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll each ball into 6-inch circles (add sesame seeds on top if using.)
- Heat a heavy skillet (I used an iron tortilla pan) over med-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes (no oil).
- Working with 1 piece of dough at time, left dough and gently stretch about 1 inch larger, and lay in skillet.
- Cook until dough starts forming bubbles under the surface (about 30 sec), then flip (tongs are good) and cook until bottom is speckled brown/black (2 minutes)
- Flip again until other side is also brown (1-2 minutes)
- Transfer bread to wire rack and brush lightly with melted butter. (if you want to)
- Serve immediately, store uneaten portions in a plastic bag or aluminum foil at room temperature.
My vegetable curry with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, and tomatoes