Thursday, March 24, 2011

Naan, Non, and Knead...Read On!

Sadly, I did not take photos of this step-by-step...or of the finished product (yes, it's because we were all little piggies and ate them all.) When I DO make them again (which will be soon, the tastebuds can guarantee you all that) I will update with more than just a picture courtesy of my friend-Google Image.
A few things NOT to do when venturing out to make Naan Bread:
1. Tell your toddlers you are making Naan bread. This will almost ENSURE an onslaught of high decibels of  screetching "HONEY!!" "BWEEEEED!!" "JAAAMMM!!" followed by more "HOONEEEY!!!" which when they figure out this process is not "instantaneous" tortilla-making...moods turn south REALLY QUICKLY. Word of advice? Just be vague. And direct towards Star Wars conversation.
2. Think you're breaking all the Nourishing Traditions rules for soaking in this recipe...well, you sort of are, but that's not the point. Because you can totally soak the flour you use before doing this. (just reserve the yeast and a 1/4 cup of water and the egg if you're going to soak it in the remaining water and yoghurt mixture the night before.) Then just add everything else in and do all that bit you normally do. I am sure you can also make a sourdough version of this-(more to come as I experiment further.) I didn't soak it this go-around. I wanted instant gratification...I'll be honest. Don't pretend you haven't done that one before. Ha. See?!
3. Have your griddle heated too hot or too cool. You'll wait an eternity..or get a charred bread with crispy charred black holes in it. And you'll set off the smoke alarm. Which ALL of you should have operational in your homes. Right.

Well-here are a couple of tips before I share this super cool "I can make super awesome Indian Naan bread to go with my super awesome Indian curry I just made" Naan Bread Recipe.
1. KNEADING. You NEED to KNEAD this ball enough. Why? If you don't develop the gluten in the doughball your gonna get hard, flat dry pancakish failures that end up like looking like sad rock-hard little tortillas crying out to be dumped in the trash. Or compost. For how long shall you knead? Or your KitchenAid shall knead? For about 10-20 minutes. You can be a arm-wrestling champ, or if you're a super whimp like me, just let your dough hook on your kitchenaid do the work. You'll be able to to tell it's ready when you can pinch off a wad of dough and slowly stretch it between your fingers and see light on the other side without the dough breaking.
1. MOIST. NO I don't like this word (it's just creepy to me, folks. sorry) but it's a really important word when it comes to bread. Always start with a 1/2 cup less flour than the recipe calls for when your mixing/kneading your dough together. if it seems too wet, add a bit more in bit by bit. We'd rather have a slightly wetter dough than a drier dough. Let's face it. No one likes biting into sawdust. Eewe. You'll know it's right by feeling it...slightly still sticky, but won't come out a globby mess all over your hands.
Ready? Here it is!

Naan Bread
kileah mcilvain

2 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. sweetener (honey, slightly less or rapadura, or organic cane sugar)
3 Tbsp. plain Yoghurt or 3 Tbsp. of Milk (yoghurt is more authentic)
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. sea salt
4 1/2 c. flour 
(yes, i used unbleached white wheat flour this go around, but you can split it with spelt,  whole wheat, barley, etc.)
1/4 c. melted butter (the real stuff, people), ghee, or coconut oil
options of ingredients: none with butter (my fave), 2 tsp. minced garlic and parsley (my 2nd fave), or shredded unsweetened coconut (called Peshwari Naan, my thirdly fave, my favourite naan to pronounce. Peshwari sounds cool.)
1. dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and whisk. let it sit until foamy (about 7 minutes.)
2. add milk or yoghurt (whichever you decided to use), egg, and salt and stir together. 
3. add enough flour to make a soft dough. I started out with 3 1/2 c. flour as I let the dough hook on my kitchenaid do its magic. I slowly added more flour by 1/8 c. increments (or whatever small amount you feel like adding) until it got to be the right consistency. 
4. KNEAD. if you're doing this by hand it helps to set a timer and do it in 5 minute increments. or if you're using a kitchenaid, it'll be anywhere from 10-20 minutes on Speed 2. Check for the right consistency occasionally. 
5. place in well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. place in a warm area and let it rise until it doubles it's original size. probably will be anywhere from and hour and a half to two hours depending on which paradise you live. 
6. punch down the dough, and knead in your desired garnish (or none, if want them original!)
7. grab hunks of dough slightly larger than a golfball and shape into a ball. then put the ball on a cookie sheet. I usually put about 6 to a sheet. you'll probably end up with about 10-12 balls of dough, which of course translates to 10-12 hunks of Naan Bread deliciousness.
8. put the cookie sheets somewhere warm and let the balls rise until they're double what the were. it'll take anywhere from about 45 minutes to an hour and a half-ish...again depending on the temperature of your environment. 
9. when it looks like they're about ready, get out one of those nonstick griddles you can put on your stovetop...or even an electric one, and turn the burner onto about 5 or 6...slightly more than medium, but not actually medium high. make sense? of course it does. 
10. get your rolling pin out and grab one of the balls of dough (gently) and set it down on your stone/cutting board, and roll out twice each way. (don't over-roll it or punch down the dough before you attempt this, otherwise it won't puff up properly when you throw it on the griddle. it can be pretty flat, but yeah. just don't overdo it. they're supposed to be about the size of extra large pancakes.)
11. throw the flatbread onto the griddle and let it cook about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side. you'll know it's time to flip when you start to see little bubbles start forming. flip it, and let it sit for maybe another minute. the little bubbles get slightly browned on top. the naan should be slightly puffy. take your melted butter/ghee/coconut oil and brush some on the bubbly side after you take it off and wrap it up in a dampened towel, covered by a dry towel. it'll keep it warm and soft. do this with the rest of the balls-wrapping them up together every time you add one. 
12. stuff thy face. maybe let someone stuff theirs too with you. 
p.s. still pronouncing "naan" wrong? it's pronounced "non". unless of course you're British...then you can pronounce it "nan". But with a British accent, then it's basically "non" but with a softer "o"...basically an "a" but stronger-sounding. Okay. done here.;) have fun!


  1. So good! We had paneer curry, lentils and naan last night. The nann was fantastic! It was thicker (more like flatbread) than the puffy stuff at the restaurants so I think we didn't knead it long enough. Next time! Thanks for the recipe :)

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