Chef’s Corner: Naan

This winter Chef Jason has been getting a little out of the box (not that he ever really spends much time in there) with the cooking class. One of the dishes they’ve been making is naan.  Then at dinner, the guests enjoy the naan served with an assortment of accompaniments that are also made in the class.

Ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups all-purpose plus 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup hot water (but not boiling, just hot tap water)
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1 cup Greek yogurt
melted butter for brushing (may use olive oil)
fresh cilantro or other herbs for topping

Instructions

In a medium-size bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in the warm water (about 105 degree F). Add the dry yeast to the warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and rise.

Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl.

When the yeast is foamy and smells like bread, add the warm milk and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients right into the middle of the dry and begin mixing the wet with dry using a wooden spatula. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to finish mixing. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. It should be sticky but should form a ball and be soft. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour (or, if not using right away overnight in the fridge).

When ready to cook, divide the dough into 8 equal balls and, using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape. It should be about 6-8 inches long and about ¼ inch thick, but no thinner. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.

Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want a hot pan). Brush both sides of the naan with melted butter and if desired sprinkle on any spices you like, such as cumin and garlic. Place the naan on the hot skillet, cover with a lid and bake for 1 minute until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Brush with a bit more butter if desired, then sprinkle with a little kosher salt, fresh cilantro (I used cilantro) or other herbs. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.

These are best eaten fresh but will keep in a ziplock bag for a few days or in the freezer.