The subject of my previous post was Saag Paneer, a delicious spinach/paneer cheese Indian dish. The best way to enjoy Saag Paneer is by scooping it up with Naan Bread. So, naturally, I decided to try my hand at this soft, chewy flatbread.
Traditionally, Naan Bread is cooked by throwing it on the sides of a tandoori oven. While I do like to do things the right way, there are limits. Fortunately, a cast iron or nonstick skillet does the trick.
While it’s not difficult to make Naan Bread, one does have to plan ahead – after making the dough, it needs to rest in the refrigerator for, at least, 16 hours.
Note: Obviously, historically, bread was made by hand. But I’m a gal who likes to save time and energy when I can, so I HIGHLY recommend using a food processor. If you don’t own one, look into buying one – I often see them at thrift stores, if a new one is beyond your means.
NAAN BREAD – makes 8
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups bread flour
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 2½ tsp sugar
- 1 cup ice water
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 6 T vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 2½ tsp salt
- 1½ T butter
Into the work bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flours, yeast, and sugar. Add in the ice water, yogurt, oil, and yolks. Blend for 10 seconds, then let rest for 10 minutes. Add in the salt and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.
Empty dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 1 minute. Place in an oiled bowl, pressing down, then flipping dough to coat other side. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap. (I use the free shower caps they give you in hotels. The elastic holds tight to the bowl, and you can use them over and over.) Place in refrigerator for, at least, 16 hours.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Lay them on a board or greased cookie sheet, not touching. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.
Cooking the 8 dough pieces can be done by one person, as long as you keep at it and don’t get distracted. But if you have an assistant – so much the better.
In small pan, melt butter. Set aside.
Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a 10″ skillet (I use cast iron) over a medium flame. While it’s heating, roll out one ball on a very lightly floured surface to about 6″ in diameter. Stab (it’s called docking) rolled out dough all over with a fork to prevent it puffing up. Hold dough splayed out in one hand away from other balls and spritz it with water with the other hand. Then place dough circle wet side down onto heated skillet. (Make sure you lay the dough down carefully rather than tossing it, which will cause the heated oil to splash.) Spritz dry side with water and cover.
While first side of dough is cooking, roll out the next circle and dock with fork. When the first piece is browned on bottom (about 2 minutes), flip, cover, and cook until browned. Remove to large tea towel. Brush with a little melted butter.
Add a small amount of oil to empty skillet, pick up prepared dough, spritz with water, and place wet side down. Spritz top with water, cover, and begin on next piece. Continue as before until all pieces are cooked.