Let me just start by saying the boys are carb lovers. Especially homemade breads. With that knowledge you can imagine how popular naan is in this house. Add in a love of curry and other Indian foods and naan is a family favorite.
On this particular day I made it the carb lovers were very hungry. Ignore the fact that they had two snacks as soon as they got home from school and started homework. I’m in the kitchen trying to get the breads rolled and shaped. Jack is standing at the counter, begging for another snack.
Normally he would be offering to help. He was nearly in tears because I wouldn’t let him have another snack. I wanted him to actually eat dinner, not snack all afternoon. He has a hard time grasping this concept sometimes. When his tummy talks it isn’t pretty!
After the first naan came out of the oven and was on the cooling rack I was so over his begging for food. Yes, I caved. You have to pick your battles and this one wasn’t worth it. I let the boys all share one naan and that finally quieted things. That and I kicked them out of the house to play outside while I finished the curry for dinner!
This recipe comes from Josh’s former boss when he worked at Cummins in Indiana. I still have the hand written copy she gave Josh and figured it was time to share it.
Naan is pretty simple to make. It’s a yeast bread with natural yogurt that has a longer rise than more traditional yeast breads. I kind of like the longer rise myself, it gives me more time to get things done instead of waiting for the hour rise. You could also allow it to rise in the fridge overnight.
It makes four to six loaves, I opt for six so that they are a little smaller and kid friendly. Should everyone be hungry enough there are enough for each person to have their own with no fighting!
You just roll out the dough into oval shapes, prick with a fork and spread with melted butter on both sides. If you forget to prick it, no big deal. I’ve done it plenty of times, it still tastes fantastic and the only difference is that it puffs up when baking, similar to a pocket bread.
The naan is baked in the oven under the broiler. For a yeast bread it is super quick, only about 3 minutes total time. The perfect instant gratification for hungry begging boys.
When I broil it in the oven I place the naan in my large 17 inch cast iron pan because I can fit three at a time, thus only broiling twice. A small cast iron skillet also works or I’ve used the pizza stone as well.
I have also grilled naan, perfect for hot summer days when you don’t want to heat up the house. This is a recipe that I like to double, that way I have a stash left to pop in the freezer. We like our naan topped with garlic salt, though cilantro and coconut are also a delicious option.
1/4 c. warm water
Pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp. active dried yeast
4 c. bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. plain natural yogurt
1/4 c. melted butter
Combine the water and sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and blooms.
Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, whisk together to combine. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast mixture and yogurt. Draw the flour into the liquid until all the flour is absorbed. Mix together, adding enough tepid water to form a soft dough, about 2/3 – 1 cup.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 3 hours (or in the fridge overnight).
Place a cast iron skillet or heat safe stone in the oven and turn on the broiler to high. In the meantime turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 4-6 pieces. Roll each piece into an oval and prick all over with a fork. Place the naan in the hot skillet or on the hot stone, as many as will fit. Broil for about 3 minutes, until there are dark brown spots all over the top.
Place hot naan on a cooling rack, sprinkle with cilantro and coconut, garlic salt, rub with fresh garlic…whatever your preference.
Yields: 4-6 servings