I never met a bread I didn’t like – crusty, soft, chewy, yeasty, flat, or a fluffy biscuit—I welcome them all to my plate, especially if they bring a pat of butter or a slice of cheese with them. I was introduced to Naan bread by an Indian friend, and I’ve been a fan ever since. The best naan I ever ate was in an Ethiopian restaurant in California where our meal was served family style with our selections in the middle of the table. No utensils. The bread became our utensil. The best collard greens I’ve ever eaten were scooped up with a piece of naan at that table. This recipe is will do the trick.
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ plain yogurt (I have substituted buttermilk in a pinch.)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt (I like kosher salt, and I’ve been known to add a sprinkle of garlic powder.)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Put the yeast, ½ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon of sugar into a 2-cup glass/Pyrex measuring cup (this makes it easy for pouring later) and lightly stir. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and starts to bubble a bit, creating a layer of foam on top.
Add to that mixture the egg, vegetable oil, and yogurt, whisking until well blended.
Now for the dry ingredients – put the flour and salt in your mixer bowl. Then slowly add your wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Mix for two to three minutes until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl. Your mixer is doing the kneading for you. If the dough is a bit sticky, start adding flour maybe a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft but not wet or sticky.
Put the bread dough in a bowl that has been oiled with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. It will take 30 to 45 minutes for the dough to double in size. The warm oven just hastens the rising process and makes the house smell so good.
Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into a small ball. (I LOVE this part – nothing like the feel of warm, elastic dough in your hands.)
I roll each ball of dough into about a 5 to 6-inch round. Be sure to use parchment or wax paper, and stack the rounds.
Heat a your favorite heavy (cast iron if you have it) skillet and add 1 tsp of olive oil. It should really be hot. Naan is traditionally cooked in an 800 degree oven. Cook the rolled dough for about a minute. You’ll see bubbles forming. Flip the dough and cook the other side until done.
Add a teaspoon more oil and repeat the process until all your naan is cooked.
I brush each round with butter as it comes out of the skillet and cover them to keep them warm. You can keep in the fridge for several days.
It’s such a good bread for soups, stews, and hummus.