Monday, January 31, 2011

Making Naan

I decided to try to make a bread that I love but haven't made before. That was pretty easy to do, because I seldom make bread. In addition, I rarely, if ever, make bread by hand. If I make bread, I buy a bread machine mix at the grocery and use my bread machine. Unfortunately, that won't work for naan.
After much angst and research, I decided to use the Fine Cooking naan recipe (found here: I was going to  make one batch in the regular oven and one in the convection oven. But the regular oven only took 4 minutes to cook the bread so I decided to add topping the second day instead.

Without repeating the recipe which is available at the link above, here is what I did:
Yes, I used a mixer to mix the ingredients
Slowly adding the flour. I did the last mix of mixing by hand.
Finished mixing; time for kneading.
I put the dough in my favorite bowl to rise overnight.
It's finished rising. I should have used a bigger bowl!

The dough is ready to be worked with.
Half of the dough ready to be divided.

The other half in a plastic bag.

The dough is divided into 5 parts

and buttered.

After the dough was allowed to rise, I shaped the dough into 6 inch ovals.

All ready to go on the pizza stone
The biggest issue was getting the naan onto the pizza stone. The first time I foolishly tried to place it on the stone with my hands. It did not work well (the naan was still tasty).
Opps! They did not go onto the pizza stone as planned
Not quite perfect but still tasty
I regrouped and strategized and used a cookie sheet (without a rim) the second time. It worked like a charm! I think it would have worked better if I had a peel but I don't.
Taking the nann off of the pizza stone onto a cookie sheet
The second day was much easier because I knew what to expect. I heated the oven to 475 F/246 C/ Gas Mark 9, put the pizza stone in the oven, and got the dough out of the refrigerator. The dough was still soft and pillowy unlike the pelimini dough I am used to working with. I followed the same steps as yesterday, expect this time I used a convection oven and added toppings. The results? We liked the naan baked in the convection oven better. It was lighter and cooked more evenly. It also had to be watched more closely because it cooked faster.
We also loved naan with toppings. We did the traditional garlic naan (topped with olive oil, crushed garlic, and Kosher salt). I loved the garlic naan.
Garlic naan

Herbs de Provence naan

Naan brushed with butter and topped with cinnamon and sugar

Was it any good -- well it was gone as soon as I made it.  The bottom line -- will I make it again. It was a fair amount of work and I have flour all over my kitchen. I have flour allover my camera. It is difficult taking pictures with flour-covered hands and working with dough. But it was fun work and I often make a mess when I cook. I really enjoyed making the naan. Most importantly, I have to try more toppings on the naan. So yes, I will make it again and soon. Will I use this recipe again? I may at some point but I already have another naan recipe to try -- a chile-cilantro naan. If anyone out there has a naan recipe they like - please post it or send me a link. I would love to try it.

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