Now that it’s fall, it’s a perfect time to dig into curries, hearty soups and stews. And there’s nothing better than freshly baked bread to help sop up all that goodness. One rainy dark night with the thoughts of curry already bubbling away in my brain, I decided that naan bread would be the perfect accompaniment. Who cares that I’ve never made it before…how hard could it be?
The truth is that naan bread is pretty simple to make. If you can make pizza dough, you can make naan. All the ingredients get a good stir with your trusty wooden spoon and then you let it rest for 2 hours. Take a nap, clean the apartment, turn up your favorite records and have an impromptu dance party! Then, when the rising time is complete, you give it a couple punches, roll out the dough into snake-like lines and pinch it off into small balls. Then you flatten and bake them. The best part is realizing that you’ve baked something that looks almost as good as the naan bread that comes with your lazy Indian night take aways. I say almost because Indian restaurants have large clay ovens to bake their bread and you are probably just making do with a cranked oven from the 70s and a banged up cookie sheet. Or maybe that’s just me. Do you have a pizza stone? Use that instead! Brush with butter and sprinkle with your favorite seed and dig in!
Elsewhere: Go make this raspberry vinaigrette that I posted on ReadyMade this week. Seriously awesome and who-put-the-crack-in-that addictive.
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)
2 t instant yeast
2 T milk
2 T yogurt
1 T sugar
3 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c water
2 t salt
canola oil, for the bowl
4 T butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T sesame seeds (black or white)
Stir together the yeast, milk, yogurt and sugar and set aside. In another large bowl, combine the flours, egg, and salt together, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yeast mixture until combined and start adding in the water a little at a time until the dough forms into a slightly sticky ball.
Knead the dough for a few seconds right in the bowl until the dough becomes a bit smoother. Add a bit of oil to the bottom of the bowl and roll the dough ball around in it, and around the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Heat oven to 500F and put a baking sheet on the lowest rack.
Punch down the dough and then break the dough into 2 balls. Dust your board or table lightly with flour and roll one ball into a snake, then break into 6 small balls. Repeat with the other larger ball of dough until you have 12 smaller balls of dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll out each ball into an oval shape and add it to the hot baking sheet. Flip the naan bread after 3 minutes. The naan is ready when it’s puffed up slightly and is mottled with golden spots. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter and garlic and brush freshly baked naan with the garlic butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.