Naan is an leavened, oven-baked flat bread that was created in India but has permeated most of Asia and the Middle East. I first discovered Naan about two years ago when I was grocery shopping and it looked tasty and cheaper than a whole loaf of bread. I tried it out and loved it. I made everything with Naan. I would put it in the oven and get it very crispy and use it in place of pita for hummus. I would use it as a vehicle for pizza. I would spread peanut butter and jelly on it. There was nothing I wouldn’t eat with Naan.
Eventually I got away from it because I started paying more and more attention to the ingredients on the food I was purchasing. When I flipped over the package I was in shock. Bread is rather simple to make and should use simple ingredients. The only thing you should see is flour, water, yeast, honey or sugar. Nothing more than that is necessary. Some people will use eggs, oil and milk but they are not necessary. Here is what was on the back of the package of Naan that I used to buy:
Stoneground whole wheat flour, enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, ascorbic acid as dough conditioner, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, enzymes, folic acid), buttermilk (skim milk, dry buttermilk, bacterial culture), water, canola and/or soybean oil, wheat bran, sugar, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), salt, dextrose, ghee (clarified butter), wheat germ, dextrin, vinegar, vegetable fiber, yeast.
What is all this stuff? Seriously why is all this stuff in there? And the answer is simple: It has to seem ‘fresh’ when you buy it 30 days after its made. I started looking around for recipes and they all seemed rather difficult with all this and that and the other thing. I learned from making rye bagels that it is not that hard so stop over thinking it and just make it. If it comes out horrible then throw it out and start over, it isn’t the end of the world.
Yesterday I tinkered and on my first shot it came out great. It had the little burn marks on there. It had the lightness and soft texture to it. I used it for a vegetable pizza and the other half I am using this evening for a scrambled egg with veggie and tempeh Indian taco (or frybread.)
Ingredients: 1.5c whole wheat flour, 3/4c warm water, 1 package of active dry yeast, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp oil
Nutritional Information (Per Serving): 186 calories, 40g Carbs, 1g Fat, 7g Protein
- Place yeast in a large bowl and add the warm water. Whisk in honey after 1-2 minutes of adding water.
- Allow to sit for 8-10 minutes to allow yeast to work. You will be able to smell the yeast and see the foam.
- Add flour in 1/2c portions and stir until well combined and dough begins to pull away from bowl.
- In a separate bowl add 1 tsp of oil and spread with paper towel so that bowl is covered.
- Add dough to oiled bowl and cover with kitchen towel for a minimum of 1 hour. I allowed it to proof for over 2 hours.
- After the dough has risen (it should at least double in size) use a knife to cut into 4 sections.
- Pre-heat griddle over medium-high heat
- Dust work surface with flour and roll out dough until it is 1/4″ thick.
- Once dough is rolled out to desired thickness place on griddle and allow to cook. Flip over when smoke starts to emerge from bread.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all the Naan is cooked.
- Serve with your favorite recipe and enjoy.