Naan

Photo by Dr. Chandan Sharma  --  Naan is a thick flat bread common in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Show caption
Photo by Dr. Chandan Sharma -- Naan is a thick flat bread common in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Naan

Makes 6 flatbreads. Adapted by Dr. Chandan Sharma from a recipe by Naresh Sharma, Baton Rouge. Cynthia Nobles said, “This thick flatbread is common in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and is used to scoop other foods or serve stuffed with a filling. Dr. Sharma suggests that, until you get the hang of it, bake only 2 naans at a time. Then you can roll 4 naans and bake them at the same time. Timings vary, depending on your oven. Sharma also says that naan is typically made in restaurants in a tandoor, but can also be successfully made at home on a thick pizza stone. Naan is best eaten immediately.”

3/4 cup lukewarm water (100 F)

1 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. sugar

2½ tbls. oil

2½ tbls. plain yogurt, at room temperature and whisked smooth

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp.baking soda

Melted butter for serving

Optional :

Kalonji seeds (black onion or Nigella seeds, available at Indian grocery stores)

Chopped garlic sautéed in butter

Sesame seeds

Sautéed chopped onion

1. In a glass measuring cup, mix water, yeast and sugar. Set aside 10 minutes, until mixture becomes frothy. Add oil and yogurt and mix well.

2. In a large bowl, add flour, salt and baking soda and mix well. Add the yeast mixture slowly and stir to make a dough. On a hard, floured suirgace, knead dough a couple of minutes. Dough will be very soft. Cover with a damp cloth and keep in a warm draft- free area or in an oven with the light on for 1-3 hours or until double in size.

3. Remove the dough and knead until smooth and elastic, a few more minutes. Using slightly oiled hands, make 6 balls. Cover dough balls lightly with a clean cloth and let rest 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat a pizza stone (at least 1/2-inch thick) on the top rack of oven at 500 F for 30 minutes.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough with a floured rolling pin into an elongated shape about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. Stretch dough with your fingers to make a tear shape. Add one of the toppings, if using. Very carefully slide naan onto the hot pizza stone. Bake 2 minutes, or until the top has brown specks. If the bottom needs more cooking, turn naan over and cook 1 minute more.

Remove from oven, brush hot naan with melted butter and serve at once.

Tips:

Using an additional 3 tablespoons water and 3 tablespoons oil makes the dough even softer and the naan fluffier.

It’s important to preheat the baking stone until very hot so the undersurface gets brown.

Using Rapid Rise yeast makes the dough double in about an hour. The longer the second rising of the dough, the fluffier the naan, and the taste is different.