Naan Bread

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Bread is one of those things that’s found in pretty much every culture. One of my favourite non-loaf varieties is Indian naan bread. Naan is a flat bread that’s perfect for picking up curry veggies or for soaking up that last drop of delicious curry sauce.

We make a lot of curries in my home (as you can probably tell by its regular appearance in my meal plans), so naan bread is always in high demand. While a full-time job means I can’t make this during the work-week, when I get the chance to make naan bread on the weekend, my family loves the treat!

You may notice that the basic process for making naan bread dough is similar to making regular ol’ bread dough. The main difference is that naan bread has a bit more milk powder in it, giving it a slightly different flavour than if you just cook regular dough.

However, because of how naan bread is cooked, you can use regular bread dough in a pinch. If you do, just make sure to add a bit more butter to the pan, and you can make up for a bit of that missing flavour.

Naan Bread Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 250 grams flour plus extra for dusting
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1+1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2 of an 8-gram pack)
  • 1 teaspoons + 1+1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1+1/2 teaspoons oil or butter
  • 5 Tablespoons skim milk powder
  • butter for the pan.

Tools

  • Mixing bowl and wooden spoon (or stand mixer)
  • Large flat surface for kneading and rolling the dough
  • Rolling pin
  • heavy-bottomed frying pan or large cookie sheet

Directions – Dough only

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  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in 3/4 cup hot tap water. Set aside for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. It should be foaming after a few minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, sift the flour, remaining sugar, salt and skim milk powder into a mixing bowl. Stir it together so the dry ingredients are mixed evenly.

  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the liquid ingredients – the yeast mixture and oil.

  4. Mix until there are no dry spots. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry.

  5. Knead for 10 minutes.

  6. Set aside for about an hour in a bowl covered with a damp tea-towel. It should be about double in size after an hour.

  7. Knead the dough again for just long enough to work out any air bubbles.

  8. At this point, you can freeze for later use, or you can make naan bread immediately either on the stove or in the oven.

Directions (The Easy Way) – Oven-baked Naan bread

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  1. Preheat the oven to 450F, with the baking sheet in the oven. You want the baking sheet hot.

  2. While the oven is heating, separate the dough into 4 balls. Hand-squish them and pull until they’re more-or-less flat, about 1/4″ thick.

  3. When the oven is heated, slap two “loaves” of naan bread onto the pan and put it in the oven. It should sizzle.

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  4. Bake for 4 minutes, flip, then bake for 2-3 more minutes. You’re going for golden-brown on each side.

  5. Cover with a dry tea-towel until ready to serve

Directions (The Hard Way) – Stove-top Naan bread

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  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan such as a cast-iron skillet. Add a small amount of butter and make sure it coats the pan evenly.

  2. While the pan is heating, separate the dough into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and flatten them out so they’re about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Do this one at a time, while the previous one is cooking.

  3. When the pan is heated place a naan “loaf” into the pan and cook until the dough rises a bit, about 2-3 minutes. Flip it over and cook for another few minutes until both sides are a nice golden-brown.

  4. Place cooked naan bread on a plate and cover with a cloth or napkin while the rest are being cooked. Add more butter to the pan as it dries up, and repeat until you have all the naan bread you need. You may have some leftover dough, which you can freeze for later, if desired.

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