Naan is a flat bread found in India and the Middle East. It is traditionally served to accompany curry dishes or to wrap around meat kabobs and roasted veggies. One of my favorite ways to eat naan is with fresh hummus, a truly wonderful snack. If you’ve always wanted to try making bread at home, I think naan is the perfect kind to start with. You see, a traditional loaf of bread takes quite a bit of time and effort as well as a certain finesse to form it into an attractive shape. Naan, however, is faster and much more forgiving as a free form shape is characteristic of this flat bread.
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the rest of the sugar, egg, milk, salt, yeast mixture, and enough flour to make a soft dough (start with 4 cups). I always start mixing with a fork and when it gets sticky and clumpy I used my hands to bring it all together.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface (don’t worry if it is falling apart at first). Knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth and slightly elastic.
Place dough in a bowl drizzled with the olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in volume (1 to 1.5 hours).
Punch down dough, and knead for about a minute. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a tennis ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat (400 to 450 degrees).
To form the dough, you can use your hands or a rolling pin. In the pictures, I used my hands to stretch the dough into a thin rectangular shape, you can make it as thin or thick as you would like (I stretch dough to 1/4 inch thickness).
Place dough on grill, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Turn over and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. Remove from the grill and brush with melted butter. Continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
Makes 8-10 generous servings.