Spelte Naan
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Food Memories – Naan Bread

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I have very specific memories of my first experience with Indian food.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was in DC – near Dupont Circle.  It was raining and I was 12ish.  I had a mango lassi, and naan… I forget the rest.  I do know that this meal kicked off my rather serious love of Indian food, and continued my scandalous affair with carbohydrates and all things bread. 

While I have since made a halfhearted attempt (several actually) to at least think about reducing my intake of processed carbs.  Look – I know.. science is still waffling on how bad white bread may or may not be for you or me or whoever.  In the meantime, I’ll just make it and then I don’t have to feel guilty about it.

I make quite a bit of loaf bread, see post #1, but I don’t make a ton of what would be considered flat breads.  And I should, because they are wicked easy.  Keeping a handle of the temperature of your skillet is the hardest part of this recipe.  I suppose if you have an electric griddle, you could combat the issue by setting it and forgetting it, but for the rest of us with just a stove, you really do have to pay attention to what the bread it telling you via bubbles and browning.  Double the recipe and you will have plenty of extra that you can throw away and pretend didn’t happen.

This recipe started with King Arthur Flour, which I use almost exclusively for my common flour needs.  It uses two sources of leavening, a yeast and baking soda.  The yeast gets going in a starter, while the baking soda reacts with the acid in the yogurt to give an extra burst of bubbles.  The yogurt is important, not just for authenticity, but also in ensuring a tender and moist interior.  I use a local raw-milk Greek yogurt, but it is not as thick as store-bought Greek yogurt, so I recommend using regular, plain yogurt for this recipe – it will be too dry otherwise.  Also a note about method: this recipe uses a different method order from regular yeasted bread.  You create a sponge, allow it to ferment overnight and then make a dough.  The dough does not sit for a regular “double in size rise”, rather you portion it and allow the portions to rest briefly before cooking

Naan

Course: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

45

minutes

*Prep time does not include fermentation time of 4-16 hours.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast (1.5g)

  • 3/4 C Warm Water (180ml)

  • 3 3/4 C All Purpose Flour; Divided (446g / 12oz)

  • 1/2 C Whole Wheat or Spelt Flour (64g / 2.25oz)

  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt (9g)

  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda (2.5g)

  • 3/4 C Plain Yogurt (180ml)

  • For Serving
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter)

  • Chopped Cilantro

  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Yeast and Warm Water. Allow to proof until foamy, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add 1 1/2 C for All Purpose Flour (177g / 6.5 oz) and the Whole Wheat or Spelt Flour. Whisk until smooth.
  • Cover mixture (sponge) and set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours (up to 16). The surface will be covered with bubbles, and the mixture will smell very yeasty.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 1/4 Cups of Flour (270g / 9.5oz) with the salt and baking soda. Cover a baking sheet with Parchment and set aside.
  • Sprinkle the Dry Flour Mixture over the sponge. Add the Yogurt and attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  • Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl. Increase to medium-low speed and kneed until the dough is smooth an uniform.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into balls and arrange on parchment-lined baking tray. Cover and set aside to rest in a cool area for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While dough is resting, heat a cast iron griddle or skillet on high. Water, flicked onto the pan, should pop and sizzle violently. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  • Working one at a time, stretch each piece of dough into a roughly 4×6 inch oval. They won’t be perfect, so don’t even try. Carefully lay on the hot skillet. The dough should sizzle. Cook until the edges are dry and surface is covered with bubbles, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook the second side for about 1 minute more.
  • Keep finished Naan wrapped in a clean towel.
  • To Serve: Brush with melted Ghee and sprinkle with Cilantro, Salt and Pepper

Notes

  • Equipment:
    Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
    Whisk
    Measuring Cups and Spoons
    Medium Mixing Bowl
    Food Scale
    Bench scraper or Chef’s Knife
    Parchment
    Baking Sheet
    Cast Iron Griddle or Shallow Skillet
    Tongs

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