I figure by this summer I’m going to have a whole Indian menu that I can cook. So far I’ve grilled up Indian Pork Kebabs (picture here), thrown together a Pineapple Raita, and now made naan (Indian bread) from scratch. What’s next? Samosas?
My site for this month’s Secret Recipe Club was Beantown Baker. Jen is an engineer who—you guessed it!—lives in Boston with her husband and cats. Her site is full of chocolatey confections (HELLO, Frito candy??!) I want to make … and a few savory treats, like this one.
Naan is a bread from northern India that is chewy and delicious. According to the Internets, it’s hard to replicate at home because it is traditionally cooked in a very, very hot clay oven (much like a pizza dough). This version is baked in a hot oven on a stone or very hot baking sheet. The garlic-butter topping really lends a fantastic and, well, garlicky flavor; this one is for garlic lovers only, people. The garlic gets baked into the bread and permeates every bite. Following Jen’s recipe I got a pretty good result; at the end, I’ll talk about some things I might do differently next time.
- 2 c. bread flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
- 3/4 c. buttermilk or yogurt (I used whole milk + vinegar and let it sit for half an hour), room temperature
- 3 T expeller-pressed coconut oil (or melted butter or other flavorless oil)
- 1 T water
- 4-5 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 T melted butter
- 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped or 2 tsp. dried cilantro
- kosher salt
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, and yeast. (If you’re going to use a stand mixer, go ahead and put it in the mixer’s bowl. Use the smaller bowl if that is an option.)
Add in yogurt or buttermilk, oil, and water; stir to combine until it is a ball. Knead by hand or on speed 2 on your stand mixer for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough ball in an oiled bowl, flip to coat with oil, cover with a hand towel, and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours. (Halfway through rising time, preheat oven to 475F with your pizza stone or upside-down jelly roll pan inside it.) Separate dough into four equal-sized balls; set aside, cover, and let rest for another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together minced garlic, melted butter, and cilantro. I used a microplane zester to grate my garlic so it was very fine.
Roll out each ball to 10-inch ovals about 1/4-inch thick. Spread with garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Place ovals on stone/cookie sheet (this may take two batches) and bake 6-10 minutes, until brown on top and slightly puffy. Jen said hers took 6-7 minutes; mine were more like 9-10. My oven tends to take longer, though, so just keep checking.
Looking at another recipe, if I made these again I might let the dough rise for a longer time (it said 2-4 hours) and cook them like a tortilla, using a hot cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. But I liked the ease of baking, and I am definitely not complaining about these tasty flatbreads!