There is a special Tibetan dinner for a woman who will be going to that county as a missionary. They want a special way to honour her and show their pride. So here we are! I am making naan.
My sister, Trish spent more than 15 years in India and I am hoping that I can have success by association! My first lesson was to not call it 'naan bread'. NO, NO, NO," she implored, "Naan means bread."
Trish did not have any recipes. If you know Indian cooks, they rarely use a recipe. It is learned. I found my recipe in The Joy of Cooking, of all places. I made it exactly as written and was happy with the end product. However, I will make one change the next time. The recipe calls for active dry yeast and it is not hydrated before incorporating into the dough. As a result it hardly rose at all in 1 1/2 hours and also there were little specks of colour throughout the dough. It was the undissolved yeast.
I will be using instant dry yeast next time and I think it will be delicious. Another change to the recipe will be to skip over brushing the dough with melted butter before baking. I don't want to make a mess of my pizza stone and create a lot of smoke from burning butter. I usually see the chefs slathering butter on one side of the naan and rubbing two of them together to achieve a nicely oiled surface.
They will then be stacked oiled sides together and wrapped in a towel, or in my case for this group, heavy aluminum foil. I am opting for salted butter in this case because there is little salt in the bread recipe. I will also use 30% red fyfe flour for added flavour. I can hardly wait. I will be baking naan for 60 people!
This is my test run.
Naan adapted from The Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole red fyfe flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
Mix in a large bowl or the mixer bowl of a heavy duty mixer.
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, at room temperature
Mix by hand or on low speed of your mixer until all ingredients are incorporated. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the mixer using a dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover well with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and divide equally into 4 pieces. Roll into balls, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each ball into an oval about 8 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough directly on the baking stone without touching each other. Bake until each oval gets puffy and just begins to turn golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and butter one side of each piece. Place buttered sides together and stack in a cloth lined basket. Keep covered and serve warm.