Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pointless recipe: Naan

This is so not a recipe blog (you couldn't pay me enough to go there), but after writing about giving up processed foods for Lent, I wanted to give an example of something I could buy--if I didn't care about 50 ingredients and preservatives--that is super easy to make at home. Naan fits that bill.

Oh, right, and maybe cranking out a post a day has something to do with this, too.

I stole this image from Wikipedia. I have no idea
where they stole it from. 

Naan is flatbread, and it is delicious. And multi-purpose, of which I am a big fan. I like to make a quadruple batch of this stuff--I think it's like five batches to a quart of buttermilk--and freeze balls of dough for later. I make a double batch at a time in my KitchenAide mixer (I love you, KitchenAide mixer!) and once it's done, I divide it in two and into containers it goes. I don't bother with rising time because I figure when it's sitting out on my counter all day thawing, it has plenty of time to rise all it wants. Also: I'm super lazy, people.

I use this as pita (my kids are big fans of Naan and hummus), as pizza / stromboli crust (another kid hit), as tortillas (seriously good tacos that way) and as sandwich wraps. Having a ball in my freezer means I can crank out awesomeness any ol' time I want to. So like a couple times a month--that's about how often Abby requests stromboli. This is a Serious Walker Family Staple.

Anyway, if you have a mixer, this is going to be super easy, but even if you don't, it's going to be super easy. If you've got the mess going anyway, why not use the entire quart of buttermilk and give yourself a leg up on future dinners? That's my theory.

My notes in parenthesis. Because I can.

Joy of Cooking, 1999 edition

Makes 4 large

Combine in a mixing bowl:
2 cups all purpose flour (or whatevs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast

2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of water as needed (I generally do not)

Mix by hand (um, no, that's what the KitchenAide is for) until a soft ball is formed, then knead 10 minutes with mixer (now you're talking) with dough hook attachment on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic (and a general thing of beauty). Transfer to an oiled bowl (oops, I generally forget that part) and turn over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap (boo! Use a kitchen towel!) and let rise 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

Punch down dough and divide into four pieces. Roll into balls, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place baking stone in oven and preheat to 475ยบ. Roll out each ball into an oval 8- to 10-inches long and 1/4 inch thick (also what you would do if you were making stromboli, just FYI). Brush tops with:

1-2 tablespoons melted butter (nope, never bother)

Place dough, butter side up (duh), directly on stone--as many as will fit without touching--and bake until each oval gets puffy and just begins to turn golden, 6 to 7 minutes (more like 20 to 25 minutes for pizza and stromboli). Remove from oven (because at this point you're kind of committed) and bake remaining ovals.

Fold Naan in half and place in cloth-lined basket. Keep covered and serve warm.

You're welcome.

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