Wednesday 4 May 2016

Garlic Naan Bread

I love curry dishes.  But..... I think I love naan bread more.  Eating curry is sort of an excuse to eat naan.  Mmmm.

The problem is, nothing really beats a warm, chewy, delicious chunk of naan bread from an Indian restaurant.  Sure, you can buy it from a package at the store, cringe a little bit that the "best before" date is often more than two weeks into the future, and pretend it tastes sort of like it should.  But....It just doesn't. 

I didn't realize how easy naan bread actually is to make from scratch.  I WISH I had before now.  I tried making some from scratch this past weekend, and I don't think I'll ever buy it again.  The kids even ate this up like crazy!

In search of a naan bread recipe, I started where I most often do, at Taste of Home.  I only found one, but boy what a perfect recipe to start with!  I made quite a few changes, and that's ok.  The base of the recipe was exactly what I needed.   It is a yeast-leavened recipe, but includes baking powder, which I credit with helping the dough "blister" and create that authentic restaurant-look of naan bread.  I added butter and garlic, and made a substitution for the yogurt, because I just NEVER have plain yogurt in my house.  I always have sour cream.  It's my favorite condiment and I should really buy it by the litre...

The first few pieces didn't exactly turn out as pretty as I would have liked, but I quickly solved that with rolling it thinner.  I'm going to link to the the ORIGINAL recipe here, but I've re-written it in my own words, below to reflect what I did.

3/4 cup warm milk (I used 2%)
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup sour cream (I used full fat) - the original recipe uses 3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups double zero flour* - the original recipe calls for 4 cups of bread flour
1/4 cup butter, melted - this is not called for in the original recipe
2 cloves garlic, minced - this is not called for in the original recipe

*double zero flour can be found in some supermarkets, and almost always at specialty Italian stores.  All-purpose flour can be substituted, but I think using double zero really helped the chewy texture.

Place milk, yeast, and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Allow to sit until yeast is foamy. Beat in sour cream, egg, canola oil, and salt.  Change to dough-hook attachment and mix in 1 cup of flour, and baking powder.  With mixer on the lowest setting, gradually knead in the remaining flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.  Allow the dough-hook to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Add additional flour, a few tablespoons at a time, if the dough is too sticky.  Place in a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.

The original recipe requested all of the ingredients be placed in a bread machine and to use the dough setting.  

After the dough has risen, punch down.  Divide into 8 equal sized balls, cover, and allow to rest while preparing pans and butter/garlic mixture.  The original recipe calls for the dough to be divided into 6 portions, but I found this to be slightly too big.

While dough is resting, mix together melted butter and garlic and set aside.  Preheat a large, heavy frying pan (I used a 16 inch pan), and season with about a tsp of canola oil.  I had mine almost smoking hot.  I figured that since traditional naan is cooked in a tandoor oven, the pan should be as hot as possible.

Roll out dough as thin as you can.  The original recipe calls for 1/4 inch ovals, but I found that was too thick.   Basically, I rolled it as thin as I could on a lightly floured surface, so that I could still peel it off without ripping.   Lay into the hot pan, and allow to cook until it starts to create large air bubbles/blisters on top (mine took less than 2 minutes.  Use a pastry brush to lightly coat with the garlic butter mixture, flip, and allow to cook another minute (until browned).  Place on an oven safe platter in a warm oven and repeat with each piece of dough.


Next time, I think I'm going to finely chop some cilantro and mix it in with the garlic butter.  This is a wonderful base recipe that will be fun to tweak going forward.

This picture doesn't do these hot and chewy naans justice...

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