Naan

Nomad women all across the Middle East, Central Asia, and India have been making this bread on the bottom of a curved iron pan (like a wok) over an open fire for millennia. And before that, on a flat rock.  With a bean and grain stew, cheese and fruit, just like we did. Breaking bread together is a blessing and a thread that ties us to all humanity.

Naan

Naan

1 T. yeast
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 c. milk
4 T. butter, melted
6 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. salt

Makes 24

Dissolve the yeast in the water; wait until it bubbles.  Add milk, butter, flour, salt.  Mix thoroughly; I didn’t knead it.  Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise until double (like any bread, this will depend on the temperature of the room).  You can punch down and let rise again, or not.  Take a quarter of the dough out and keep the rest covered.  Divide that quarter into six pieces.  For each piece, flour your hands, roll into a ball, and then flatten on a floured surface to a quarter-inch thick or less.  (You can use a rolling pin if you want.)

Heat an iron griddle and oil with a teaspoon or less of oil. Put the naan on the griddle and press down with your fingers or palm of your hand (this sounds dangerous, but the top of the dough stays cool – just don’t touch the griddle. This part is what makes the nice bubbles.  When it has bubbled and the bottom is brown, turn it over and press down the top (you can use your fingers for this, but I am cautious and use a spatula.)  Remove and repeat.

You can get into a nice rhythm, shaping the first couple, then putting one on the griddle while you shape another. Meditate on all those bread-makers then and now, and give thanks for the yeast, the invisibly small workers that grow and die to lighten the bread.

3 thoughts on “Naan

  1. I have never done the flattening thing and baked mine in the oven. When you flatten the dough initially, do you just press and release, or continue pressing for several seconds?

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