Tuesday, October 17, 2006



Last night on my other blog, I pondered about whether or not a home cook without a tandoor oven would be able to make decent naan. Naan is an Indian flatbread, and it's traditionally baked in a special oven called a tandoor oven, something that's used a lot in Indian cooking. I don't have anything even close to a tandoor oven here, and if I did, I'd probably find a way to burn down my apartment building. The things burn HOT.

I turned to Nick Malgieri's A Baker's Tour, which is a book entirely about international baking. I figured, if I was going to find a decent naan recipe, it would be in this book. It's full of savory breads and pastries, sweet cakes and cookies, all adapted so that the average home cook can make them. As luck would have it, there's a recipe for naan in this book that requires either a skillet or a grill. It's a pretty standard bread dough: 4 cups of flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 packet of active dry yeast (2.5 tsp), 1.25 cups warm water, and 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil. My only real complaint about this book is that the recipes assume that everyone will be making their dough in a Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook. I don't have a stand mixer, so I guessed at how long to knead by hand. Flatbreads can't have too much elasticity or it's too hard to flatten and stretch out the dough. For less elasticity, you knead less. In this case, I only kneaded for about 2 or 3 minutes. The dough rises for an hour, then gets shaped into balls and rises for another hour:

naan dough rising

Once the dough has risen, you heat up a skillet, covered. The skillet needs to be as hot as possible in order to properly cook the naan. One at a time, the balls of dough are flattened, stretched into 8" rounds, and then cooked in the skillet, covered, for about 2 minutes on each side. To finish, you brush them with melted butter and serve.

They turned out great; not exactly like the naan I've had at Indian restaurants, but close enough to make me happy. The texture was soft and tender, with just a few crispier spots on the outside where the dough had charred. Next time, I'm going to try to get them thinner, and I may also add some garlic to the dough. Garlic makes everything better, right?


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1 comment:

Jolene said...

Yummy! We made Naan here once very much like that. It took a lot not to eat it ALL!!!