Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Bake of the Week: Naan

Today for dinner I decided to make curry, a meal we love and one that I haven't made in probably close to six months (it's just been too darn hot!). But in our house if I am going to make curry, we have to do it right: basmati rice, raita for dipping, chai tea (for me at least!), and of course, naan bread to wrap the curry in. I've tried many recipes for naan, from the Joy of Cooking's version to my first attempt that was flour, water and salt, fried in a pan. Yes, it was as unappetizing as it sounds.

After lots of practise making yeast-risen bread, I finally came around to a recipe that is both easy, and tastes like it was just baked in a tandoori oven. Enjoy!

Naan Bread

3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp salt
6 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp melted butter
about 3 cups of flour, or as much as you need to create a soft, pliable dough, but one that does not stick to your hands

In a small, non-metal bowl, dissolve the sugar in the water, then pour the yeast over the top, but do not stir it in. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes, until the yeast mixture has bubbles on the top.

Transfer yeast mixture to a larger bowl, and add salt and yogurt, and mix thoroughly. While stirring, add melted butter. Slowly add the flour, half a cup at a time, until the mixture is too hard to stir by hand. Pour dough onto a well floured surface, and begin kneading, still adding flour, until you have achieved the right consistency. Continue to knead for a total of 10 minutes. Form into a ball, and transfer into a well oiled bowl, turning once to coat all sides. Cover, and let stand to double in size (about 2 hours).

Preheat oven to 450 F. Remove dough from bowl, and cut into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and flatten to about 1 cm tall. Place on greased baking pans and bake for 5 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool on racks. If you want, you can also fry them just before you eat them in a little butter or oil, but it's not necessary.

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