I believe nothing beats the aroma of a fresh homemade bread. Making these naans together with my little assistant was a Deja Vu experience of sorts. The scents of flour, toasting dough and melting butter filled my little, temporary house. They took me straight into my childhood to the time when I was a tiny Sam, sitting next to my nanna watching her perform her rolling pin on dough magic.
I think most of my dough “expertise” and passion for cooking are coming from those days of the early childhood when many of my school-free hours were spent watching and helping nan in the kitchen.
These days, it is me who has taken on the role of a culinary mentor. It fills me with so much joy having my kids join me in the kitchen, there is so much fun in cooking all together. Although, things do not always go smoothly with my munchkins bickering over silly things and creating a mountain of mess for me to clean up later. But it’s a homely mess – it smells of fresh vegetable peels, olive oil, flour, spices and sticky little fingers.
I had to fiddle for a bit with the settings on the cooktop here to get the temperatures right for my naans. It’s an induction cooktop and I haven’t cooked on one before we moved into this house. Settings between 6-8 seemed to work the best depending on the pan; for stainless steel it was 6-7 and for cast iron it was 7-8 and perhaps the settings could differ depending on the brand of the induction cooktop too.
I’m not a fan of the induction cooktop. Maybe it is because I’m so set in my old ways ( I’m turning 35 next month and have just discovered a few silvery hairs sprung out of nowhere on my temples and feel I can now confidently use the word old in reference to myself ) or maybe I haven’t cooked on it long enough to start loving it. But regardless of the little setbacks with the cooktop, the naans turned out great. I have to thank my little assistant for his mighty rolling pin skills, I struggled to keep up with him!
I suggest rolling your dough out right before toasting it. Doing that will ensure the naan to have a beautiful bubbly surface. If the bubbles are too big it’s ok to prick them with a pin or with a tip of a small knife.
Once the naan is removed from a hot pan, brush the top with softened butter. I bring butter to room temperature and use a butter knife to butter my naans, then stack the cooked naans one on top of another.
Preparation time 15 min ( additional 2 hours in total for the dough to raise )
Cooking time 45 min
1 cup filtered water
1 sachet yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp unbleached flour
2 1/2-3 cups plain unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain or greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
Butter for brushing ( at room temperature )
In a bowl mix water, yeast, sugar, and 3 tbsp of flour. Cover and leave in a warm place for up to 1 hour or till raises and bubbles appear on the surface.
In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of flour with 1tsp of salt.
Add yoghurt, olive oil, and the yeast mixture, and knead into a soft dough.
If the dough is too tacky add some more flour.
Place the dough into a lightly greased with olive oil container, cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or till doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 10-12 equal size balls.
Cover them with a damp tea towel, to prevent from drying.
Heat a nonstick frying pan over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium.
Roll out dough balls one at a time into 1.5 cm thick round or oval shaped patty and toast them on both sides in a preheated pan till browned ( about 2-3 minutes each side ).
Brush with softened butter while they are still hot stacking one on top of the other as you cook them.
Serve while still warm with your favourite dips, curries and soups.
Traditionally in South Asia, atta flour ( a very finely milled whole wheat flour ) is being used in making most of the flatbreads, such as naan, chapati, puri and roti. However, in this recipe, I have used plain unbleached bakers flour and it worked just fine. I have bought a bag of atta flour today to make more naan later, I will add about the difference in a taste and quantities in a little while.