Naan bread from India differs from ‘regular’ leavened bread for two reasons: it is made with yogurt and/or milk instead of water, and it is cooked quickly in a very hot oven (tandoor). If you don’t have a tandoor, you can cook naan bread on a grill (barebecue) and that makes naan bread very suitable for outdoor cooking. The yogurt or milk and high cooking temperature give naan bread a very nice texture, a bit like brioche. Like pizza, it needs to be cooked very quickly over high heat such that the outside is charred while the inside remains soft.
This was my first time making naan bread, and I loved the result. I will definitely make it again. Next time I might bring a rolling pin to make the bread a bit thinner. You can use any mixture of milk and yogurt that you like; in this case I used half of each.
For 16-20 pieces
1000 grams (35.2 oz) bread flour
325 grams (11.5 oz) milk
325 grams (11.5 oz) yogurt
35 grams (1.2 oz) fresh yeast, or 12 grams (.42 oz) dry yeast
20 grams (2 3/4 tsp) salt
35 grams (3 Tbsp) sugar
nigella seeds (also known as black cumin seeds)
Combine milk and yogurt in a bowl and stir to mix. Heat gently in the microwave to bring the milk and yogurt to room temperature. Add the sugar.
Add the yeast (fresh yeast in crumbles), and whisk to mix.
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed (to prevent spraying the flour all over the place).
With the motor running, add the milk/yogurt/yeast/sugar mixture.
Continue to mix until the dough comes together and there is no flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Add a bit more milk or yogurt if needed.
Switch over to the dough hook.
Knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove the dough hook.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature.
Allow to rise until doubled in volume, about two hours.
Sprinkle a work surface (wooden works best) with flour and turn out the dough onto it.
Briefly knead it by hand to remove any air bubbles.
Divide the dough into pieces of about 100 grams (3.5 oz), roll each piece into a ball, and sprinkle with flour.
Arrange the balls of dough on a tray or dish, spaced so they can rise.
Cover and allow to rise…
…until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Prepare a hot grill (barbecue). Flatten the dough with your hands (or use a rolling pin) and give it the shape of a tear. Press nigella seeds onto the surface. Cook the naan bread on the hot grill…
…until it is lightly charred. Then turn it over and cook the other side as well.
Regulating the heat is key. Too hot, and the naan bread will be burnt before the inside is cooked. Too low, and the naan bread will become dry.
Brush with melted butter. Serve at once.
Broiled cod alla Romagnola is cod (or other white fish) cooked on the grill or under the broiler with breadcrumbs, parsley, and garlic. This is a very nice way to prepare fish from the coast of Romagna in Italy that keeps it juicy.