I find myself in sync with the food editors at The New York Times.
As I scrolled through photos of homemade naan last Wednesday night, searching for just the right shot to accompany this post on this traditional Indian bread, the newspaper was printing (and posting) a wonderful article on tandoor ovens.
While I won't be purchasing a $1299 tandoor anytime soon, I still found the piece interesting. Who knew that a ceramic artist now living in the Florida Keys made thousands of clay ovens for North America's Indian restaurants? Until a lot of extra money comes my way, my conventional oven will have to suffice. Happily, the results of my naan experiment were excellent, and pulling a baking sheet of puffed, zeppelin-like breads from the oven is pretty cool. If only I were as satisfied with the butter chicken I made that night.
I used a little whole wheat flour to assuage the refined-white-flour-guilt I sometimes suffer, but it's unnecessary (and not in keeping with a traditional recipe, from what I can tell). Feel free to use only white flour instead.
Whole Wheat Naan
Makes 12 breads
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 cup tablespoons plain yogurt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for greasing the bowl)
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy. Add the yogurt and ghee.
Whisk the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and kosher salt together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth, about 7-10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise in a large greased bowl, covered with a dishtowel or plastic wrap, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Preheat the broiler.
Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes, then divide it into 12 pieces. Cover the pieces with a dishtowel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Roll each piece into a thin triangle about 7 inches wide.
Place the rolled doughs onto a baking sheet or broiler tray (you can probably fit 3-4 on one tray) and place them about 5-6 inches below the broiler. Don't get them too close — remember, the breads puff up, and you don't want to set them on fire. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip them over and cook the other side. The breads can be brushed with additional ghee if desired.