Naan and Non-Naan
Updated: Feb 20, 2021
This is for my friend Valarie. She happened to witness my seriously failed attempts at making naan with alternative flours - cassava flour and almond flour. (See embarrassing picture below) and thought I should share with you all. I could have re-soled my winter boots with what I came up with, batch after adjusted batch.
Gluten gets a bad rap these days, but there’s nothing like it for creating light, airy elastic doughs (See the wonderful bubbles in the bottom right photo).
So sticking to the basics, shown here, the naan was absolutely perfect, and a really simple process for a bread that can go with almost anything.
I’ve made it in a dry pan and with some oil, but I think the sweet spot is in between - just brush a little oil in the center of the pan - cast iron if possible.
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2-3 cups flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes to proof - until it is frothy on top. Once frothy, whisk in the oil, yogurt, and egg until evenly combined.
In a separate medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour, a half cup at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).
At that point, turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. You’ll end up using between 2.5 to 3 cups flour total. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky. Avoid adding excessive amounts of flour as you knead, as this can make the dough too dry and stiff.
Loosely cover the dough and let it rise in an area that’s relatively warm - not near any drafts, etc., until double in size (about an hour). After it rises, gently flatten the dough into a disc and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter.
Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Stack the cooked flat bread on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm as you cook the remaining pieces. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs.
I like it to dip into hummus or labneh, but it’s great with a stew or soup as well.