Naan Bread (in a conventional oven)

Naan (made in our conventional oven)

Naan bread is something we all love when we go to eat at a restaurant. However the thoughts of making it ourselves can be quite daunting and we often resort to shop bought versions. This recipe gives you the authentic taste of naan bread from a conventional oven. For convenience sake these can be made ahead of time, stored in a towel and simply grilled before serving (step 9). Although this recipe may pose some difficulty for the novice, the experienced pizza or bread maker should have no difficulty with this. Recipe can also be halved easily.

Makes 6

16oz/225g strong white flour
1 tbsp (level) dried yeast
100ml warm water (skin temp)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp whole cumin/coriander(each) seeds (optional)
1 egg
4 tbsp natural yoghurt (Room temperature)
1 tbsp ghee/butter
1 tbsp garlic paste (optional)

Large Bowl – Pestle and Mortar – Wooden Spoon – Frying Pan – 2 Tea Towels – Cling Film – Baking Tray – Brush/Paper Towel – Rolling Pin

1. Activate yeast according to packet instructions. Place in 100ml of skin-temperature water with sugar and salt, with a sprinkling of flour. Leave aside in a warm place for 15 minutes.
2. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan until you can smell their aroma. Grind roughly in a pestle and mortar. (Substitute with the ground spices if you wish)
3. Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the spices, yeast mixture, yoghurt, vegetable oil and egg. Mix with wooden spoon.
4. The mixture should be just a little too sticky to knead. Naan is normally cooked in a Tandoor oven very quickly. This will be in a conventional oven for longer so needs to be wetter than a normal bread mixture. Add more skin-temperature water if needed. Knead, in the bowl, by dipping one hand in flour until the mixture begins to stick to your hands again. Repeat this process of dipping your hand in flour until bread has been well kneaded. You may get only 4-5 “kneads” from each flour dipping. Leave in bowl, covered in oiled cling film with a clean tea towel over this, for 40-60 minutes.
5. Pre-heat the oven to the highest temperature it can go to.
6. Cut dough in half, then cut 1/3 of this away and cover remaining dough with the oiled cling film. Dip hands in flour and knead a little. Dust surface well with flour and make an egg-shape with the dough. Roll into tear-drop shape, concentrating on the wider end.
7. Take oven-width baking tray and line with baking paper. Place the naan on the baking tray, stretching out to rolled naan to fit the tray and place in the hottest part of the oven and watch until puffed up. Naan should still be quite white and just starting to get very small brown spots. Take out quickly and close the door of the oven to maintain temperature. Turn over and pop back in the oven until it puffs and small brown spots appear on that side. Remove and place in a clean tea-towel and cover. Repeat for all six naans.
Tip: Use two baking trays so that as one is finished the other can go in. The baking paper will not have to be changed either.
8. Mix butter/ghee and garlic pasted in a pestle and mortar or bowl.
9. Turn on grill. Run tap and quickly wet each side of the naan under the water. Place under grill, allow to brown and turn. Remove and with a brush or a kitchen towel rub with butter/garlic mix. Serve.
Tip: For convenience it is possible to stop at step 7 and leave the naans in a clean towel until just before food is served. Then just follow step 8 & 9 before serving.


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