Naan Bread

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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.

Ingredients

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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

For serving

nigella seeds (also known as black cumin seeds)

melted butter

Preparation

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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.

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Add the yeast (fresh yeast in crumbles), and whisk to mix.

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Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.

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Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed (to prevent spraying the flour all over the place).

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With the motor running, add the milk/yogurt/yeast/sugar mixture.

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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.

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Switch over to the dough hook.

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Knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.

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Remove the dough hook.

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Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature.

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Allow to rise until doubled in volume, about two hours.

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Sprinkle a work surface (wooden works best) with flour and turn out the dough onto it.

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Briefly knead it by hand to remove any air bubbles.

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Divide the dough into pieces of about 100 grams (3.5 oz), roll each piece into a ball, and sprinkle with flour.

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Arrange the balls of dough on a tray or dish, spaced so they can rise.

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Cover and allow to rise…

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…until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

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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…

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…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.

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Brush with melted butter. Serve at once.

Flashback

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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.

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16 thoughts on “Naan Bread

  1. Something more to try. You have a way of setting it out so simply that it gives that wonderful feeling of confidence that – Yes – I could actually do this!

    That grill sure looks well used! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, that is exactly what I try to achieve so it is great to see it confirmed.

      I always think that if I can do it, anyone can as I am quite clumsy. Although on the other hand is does help a lot that with the experience I have built up I can now ‘feel’ and/or ‘see’ instantly whether dough has ‘right consistency’. That helps a lot.

      It’s the grill on the boat so it doesn’t get cleaned all that often 🙂

      Like

  2. Hi nice recipe… But it has to be more thinner u can use rolling pin and fold it into triangles and keep rolling..use flour n oil so that it doesn’t stick..

    Like

  3. is there a reason they do the 2nd rise as balls as opposed to flattening them to their final shape before the second rise? (or is this b/c you are on a boat and have limited space?)
    Looking forward to doing these today!

    Like

    • The reason is that you can shape them immediately before cooking them, thus getting better control over their shape. And as you point out, you also need less space that way.

      Like

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