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Naan

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gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Naan

For the most part, I have had a lot of luck with bread recipes.  If it does not work out the way I want on the first try I begin the tweaking process.  It is not always fast but I get there in the end.  I say for the most part because I have had one bread nemesis.  One bread that, no matter how I tried, would never work out the way I wanted.  


That bread was the delicious Indian flat bread called naan.


Naan Fixins


Naan is my nemesis no longer.  Now I have a recipe for naan that is tender, chewy, crispy, and soft all at once, and is terrific stuffed with curry.  The recipe is adapted from one found here.  


Along with a good recipe I have a good cooking method.  Naan is made, traditionally, in a tandoor oven which produces an insane amount of heat.  If you want naan that has the right texture, the soft inside with the chewy exterior, you have to find a way to replicate a tandoor at home.  I tried the grill with average results.  I tried the stove, in a similar way that I cooked my tortillas, but it was not hot enough.  


I make pizza at home from time to time and have two very well seasoned pizza stones.  On the internet I had read that some bakers use their pizza stones, in a smoking hot oven, to achieve a tender interior with a crisp exterior.   It sounded promising, so I tried it.  I heated the oven to 500 F with my pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven.  I let it heat for thirty minutes and then added one rolled out piece of naan.  It was as close as I will ever get to perfect, and it is pretty darn close!


Naan Dough Divided


Another thing I discovered is that you need to have patience.  Don't rush the naan.  Give the dough a two hour ferment, then after they dough is divided give it the full half hour proof on the bench before rolling.  Letting the dough develop will give you the taste and texture you want.


Naan 


Naan   Yield 12 naan


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 cup milk, heated to 110F
1 tsp sugar
ghee to taste


Activate the yeast in the warm milk with the sugar added.


Combine the flour and salt.  Once the yeast is active, combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.  Mix in a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.


Allow to rest for two hours, covered with a towel or plastic.


Naan DoughNaan Dough Divided


After the dough has rested turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces and round them into balls.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.


While the dough rests heat your oven to 500 F and place a pizza stone, or cast iron skillet, on the bottom rack of the oven.


Naan Rolled Out


Once fully rested roll out the dough until it is about 6″ to 7″ wide.  It should be fairly thin.


Naan on the StoneNaan Baked


Moisten your hands with water, gently pass the dough between your hands to moisten gently, then lay on the hot pizza stone.  Close the oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to get brown spots.


Remove from the oven, brush lightly with ghee (or melted butter) and cover with a cloth.  You may need to press the naan to release the air inside.




Serve warm.


Posted at www.evilshenanigans.com - 2/27/2009

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you gothicgirl, beautifully done!


Sylvia

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Thank you!

ejm's picture
ejm

Beautiful looking naan, GG. And aren't they delicious? 


-Elizabeth


P.S. We make our naan with plain yoghurt rather than milk and bake them in the barbecue whenever possible:


Bake naan in the barbecue: Preheat the barbecue to high. Place each shaped naan directly on the grill. Close the lid of the barbecue. Cook for about 2 minutes or so on one side. Using tongs, turn over when they have puffed. Continue to cook on the other side til they seem done. (complete baking takes about 5 minutes) Put the finished naan into a basket. Butter them while they're hot, if you want.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Yogurt sounds like it would add a lot of flavor.  I will have to try that.  Thanks for the wonderful idea!!


I have grilled my naan before and it was very nice.  I also used grilled naan as the base for a very tasty, and quickly eaten, pizza.  


 

rcrabtree's picture
rcrabtree

They sound great!  One question/comment though.  The couple of times I've had naan (usually while traveling), I seem to remember it having a hand-stretched texture.  You have rolled your dough resulting in the "pita" effect with a large air pocket.  The naan I remember reminded me more of grilled pizza dough (softer, due to the fat in the recipe).  I do not live in an area with any Indian restaurants so I could be way off base.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

On a lot of factors.  Naan in most Indian restraunts is cooked in a wood fired tandoor oven.  When the dough hits the clay it cooks before it has a chance to really puff much.  We are talking temps well over the range of a home oven.


As one commenter said, you can cook this on the grill.  You will likely get more of the texture you describe that way.   I rolled my naan dough pretty thin, but you could go thinner, if you wanted.  I like a hearty naan that can soak up sauce, and be stuffed to max with grilled meats so I do not roll as thin as I could.


I hope this helps!  If not, please let me know.  I will try to clarify.  Thanks!! 


 

rcrabtree's picture
rcrabtree

I was wondering though which way of stretching is more "authentic".  When I do pizza, I hand stretch - you would not roll a pizza dough and expect it to come out right.  When I do pitas, I roll them - this removes almost all of the air pockets, and the pita then puffs up with a single giant air pocket in the middle.  I was just wondering what the crumb/texture of naan is "supposed" to be.  I always thought of naan as being essentially a pizza, without toppings, and made with fat in the dough to give it more flavor and a softer texture.  What you have done is use a dough that somewhat resembles tortilla dough except using yeast instead of baking powder, then rolled it out so it bakes up like a pita.


Totally not trying to be nitpicky!  I just love flatbread and I'm trying to organize the flatbread universe in my head.  Making naan, tortillas, pitas, and pizza, is great for me because it stores so well, and I don't have time to make risen bread every day.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

I understand the question.  let's see if I can answer it.  :) 


I would say Naan is like a really soft pita.  The crumb is fine, soft, and tender, but the outside is chewy and, when first baked, crisp. 


This recipe creates a naan that can he seperated into two layers like a pita, but it is still chewy and rich.  I would say this dough is more complex than pizza dough.  There is some crispness to the crust when it first comes off the stone, but once brushed with ghee it softens up some.


I do not hand stretch the Naan simply because I have better luck rolling it out.  Some people hand stretch it, and you can if you like.  I seem to have better results, more even thickness, with my slim rolling pin.


Does any of that make any sense?

cherylmathew's picture
cherylmathew

Hand-stretching naan is the traditional way to shape it. I live in Pakistan where naan is widely available. It is stretched over a firm round cushion, which is also used to stick the naan on the wall of the tandoor (clay oven). We get a variety of naan, it can be topped with crushed garlic and coriander, sesame seeds or even cumin and nigella seeds. These can be used as a topping, or even filled in the dough balls. I'll try and post a pic, if I figure out how :(
Cheryl

ejm's picture
ejm

Do you have a tandoor, Cheryl? That would be very cool to see photos. 


-Elizabeth


This posting photos FAQ may help:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2960/posting-photos-faq

cherylmathew's picture
cherylmathew

Thanks for the link re posting photos. I don't have a tandoor at home, will try to go to one of the stores here and get pics.  Cheryl

hoek59's picture
hoek59

The pictures look great.  Although I have never tried naan, I can't wait to do it now and thank you for your recipe.  One question I have is what is the desired temperature you would want to achieve to bake the naan.  You mention that most home ovens are restricted to about 500 degrees, I have a "Big Green Egg" that I use as a grill that can achieve 700 degrees.  I have a clay stone that I make pizza on in the egg and it's great.  The yogurt sounds like a great idea also.


 


Thank you.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

If you can get it hot, do it!  Just be sure to watch them for cooking time.  I have no idea how long they need in a 500+ oven/grill.  Once they are puffing and starting to brown they are done.  I know that one Indian friend said in a blazing hot tandoor oven they can cook in as quick as 20 seconds.  As I have never tried that I can not attest to accuracy.


 

ejm's picture
ejm

We stretch our naan dough rather than rolling it. We like that some of the naan is thin and some is thicker - soft bread vs. crispy.


And while I haven't seen it actually cooking in a tandoor, I suspect that it does puff there too. It's just that by the time it reaches the table, the air pocket has diminished.


-Elizabeth

avaserfi's picture
avaserfi

I have been making this bread weekly since discovering the recipe. This week it will be used for lunch wraps with tuna salad. Last week it was falafel with homemade tahini. Delicious!




 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Yum, Avaserif (I don't know what you name is). Those look delicious and I adore falafel.


--Pamela

loydb's picture
loydb

... to go with tandoori chicken & mushroom curry. They rock, thanks so much!


I made ghee with a dozen cloves of garlic simmering with the butter for about an hour (skimming solids), and added a tablespoon of the ghee and a few tablespoons of the garlic cloves (mashed up) to the dough. I cooked them on a 500-degree bread stone, they puffed up beautifully. I did about a minute on each side, and just flipped them with tongs.


Half the dough is in the fridge in a baggie for tonight!


 


 

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

I have tried several naan recipes, but none has really come close to what I'm striving for.  I am truly excited to try your recipe.  I have one question though ... does it matter what type of milk that I use?  For example, could I use 1% milk, or do I have to use full fat homogenized?  Thanks!

loydb's picture
loydb

I've used skim, 1% and 2% with success. Thanks for reminding me about this recipe, it's time to make it again :)


 


 

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

Thanks for the quick response!  I'll try making it next week.

divadmas's picture
divadmas

just copied this recipe. sounds good. have made pita on bbq. spraying some water on burner for steam really helped puff things up.


have you made flavored naan?

ejm's picture
ejm

The closest I've ever come to making flavoured naan was naan with nigella seeds (this is a link). I figure that there are so many flavours in the curries we have naan with that I don't want flavoured naan. I made our usual plain naan recipe and then just before baking, sprinkled the shaped bread with nigella seeds (aka kalonji and wild onion seed).


-Elizabeth

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

tasting.  I am sooooo sorry.  I followed the naan recipe perfectly, but my resulting naan was bland tasting.  Perhaps, I could add some flavourings to it, but I also enjoy a "plain" naan bread sometimes.  I have an old recipe that I used to use, but was never quite happy with the dough texture (really difficult to work with).  I'm going to tweak it and see if I can make it any easier to work with.  Maybe it's the yogurt in it ... perhaps the oil .... I don't know, but the flavour was "fuller".  Sorry.

ejm's picture
ejm

The naan I make is a little different from this recipe. I use a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flours when making naan. I also add butter AND yoghurt to the dough. We occasionally brush naan with butter after it has been baked but only if the curry we're having isn't already particularly rich. We have baked it in the oven on a stone, directly on the grill in the barbecue and on the stovetop like chapati. All versions are good but I think the barbecue version is my favourite.


We really like our naan; I don't think anyone has ever said it was bland.


-Elizabeth


Here is our naan recipe (this is a link).

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

in the naan recipe sounds interesting!  I will definately try this recipe.   The recipe that I used to use had yogurt and canola oil in it, but I like the sound of butter in place of the oil.  Butter tastes good in EVERYTHING!


Anyway, thank you for the recipe.  I feel badly about commently in a non-favourable way about the other recipe.  Sometimes, I'm such a "bread snob".  Sorry.

ejm's picture
ejm

I hope you like it!


 

cherylmathew's picture
cherylmathew

The naans that come out of the tandoor have those air bubbles in them, they are crisp and do not deflate unless forced to. One can eat the plain naan on its own straight from the tandoor.


Cheryl

ejm's picture
ejm

Naan baked directly on the grill of the barbecue are very close in flavour and texture to to actual tandoori naan too. The same goes for naan made on a stone in the oven. The only thing missing from the oven baked naan is the smoky flavour.


-Elizabeth

davidbweiner's picture
davidbweiner

I recently posted a recipe for Naan with curry and mango chutney in the bread . You can find it at:


http://breadmantalking.blogspot.com/2010/08/indian-fry-bread-curried-naan.html


 


Yours look absolutely delicious, btw.


 


David at : breadmantalking.blogspot.com

zoso's picture
zoso

This is a good recipe for a quick naan bread


450g Self Raising flour
1/2tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2tbsp veg oil
4 tbsp plain yoghurt (beaten)
2 eggs (beaten)
150ml water approx

(can add garlic, herbs, spices to flavour)

Sift flour, salt, baking powder into bowl and add oil, yoghurt and eggs (plus any herbs/spices you want to add) and mix. Add water slowly, using hands to bring together until you have a soft dough. Knead with wet hands for a couple mins then leave to rest for 15 mins.

Pre-heat oven to highest temp and place baking tray in to heat up.

Divide dough into 6 equal portions, and with floured hands roll each piece into a ball in palms of hand. Pull each ball out into a tear shape and place 2 at a time onto hot baking baking tray and return to oven immediately for about 3-4 minutes. Remove tray from oven and place under hot grill for about 30 seconds to brown and crisp top lightly. Brush with melted butter/Gee. Keep warm in clean tea-towel.

davidbweiner's picture
davidbweiner

I recently posted a good naan recipe on my blog that incorporates mango chutney and curry powder into the dough. It is really good and can be found at:


 


http://breadmantalking.blogspot.com/2010/08/indian-fry-bread-curried-naan.html


 


Enjoy!!


David at breadmantalking.blogspot.com

LT72884's picture
LT72884

I have a special pizza stone for my wood fired grill at home. i can hit temps of 700 or so. i think im gonna try it out. Im looking for a recipe that will work as a flatbread, pizza crust and as rolls.


 


i like to put greek salad on my flat bread and then fold it up and eat it.

Crush's picture
Crush

I'm sorry that is not real naan (in my opinion). What you are making is a home made version. You need a very hot tandoor and a different recipe to get athentic naan like this:


http://usa.stockfood.com/images-pictures/Naan%20Bread%20Cooking%20in%20Tandoori%20Oven-685465.jpg


http://www.khanapakana.com/bread-recipes/images/naan-ii.jpg


 


 

ahhsugar's picture
ahhsugar

I'd have to agree with you.  I am quite lucky and have some excellent restaurants near my home that serve naan bread so I know what it "should" and "could" taste like.  The stuff in the grocery stores is garbage, and the naan that I make at home is "edible", but I would barely feel good about calling it "naan" bread.  The taste and texture is unfortunately nowhere near being close to the "real stuff". :(

Crush's picture
Crush

Yeah it's funny to see people say that these recipes are good. I wonder what they would think of real naan? Through my research it seems that real restaurant naan is made with self rising flour or flour with baking soda. They do not use yeast and let the dough rise like traditional pizza dough. Pizza dough would also be a harder dough made with high protien bread flour. It seems real naan consists of Flour, Baking powder, salt, sugar, water/milk, maybe oil and that's it. Mix it till it's very wet consistancy. Let sit. Streth them out, don't use flour or roll out. Put your oven on self cleaning mode and stretch them out and slap them on the pizza stone until they bubble up and look done. That's probably the best you'll be able to do at home. The other recipes with eggs etc are just joke recipes. I've even seen one call for mashed potatoe flakes.. I mean come on.. I love how Indian food has so much mystery behind it...

 

timmer's picture
timmer

Has anyone experimented cooking Naan using a Heston Blumenthal's pizza cooking method?  That is to heat a cast iron pan on the stove to a very high heat, and then placing it with the bread on it directly under a hot broiler? 

I've been playing with this technique a bit, and while it is quite difficult to get the balance of temperature right between the pan and the broiler, it does certainly cook flat breads very quickly (under 2 minutes).  I tend to end up with some spotty blackening on the bottom and a fairly toasty finish on the top.  I haven't yet acheived anything with nearly the texture and flavour of a decent Indian restaurant tandoor naan though, and I haven't tried the dough recipe at the start of this thread.

 

-Tim

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Fantastic recipe, thanks so much for sharing! I made them the other night with Indian butter chicken, the whole family loved them.

sunnspot9's picture
sunnspot9

For someone a bit industrious, Alton Brown shows how to create your own makeshift tandoor oven in this video at mark 10:30, curious how it might turn out, I love naan, but I am not this constructive, even though it looks fairly simple.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMBMoTag-Mk

He doesn't use it to make naan, he uses it to cook chicken, but he shows naan being made in a restaurant on an industrial tandoor, so it seems like it could be done.