Soft naan breads made with yeast.
Naan breads differ from unleavened (no raising agent) breads, such as chapatis, as they use either yeast, baking powder or bicarbonate of soda (or sometimes a mixture). The dough is also enriched with some or all of the following: yoghurt, milk, butter or ghee and eggs. The addition of these ingredients adds to the rich taste and soft texture of the breads.
In this recipe we have opted for the use of yoghurt and milk. We have also used yeast as the raising agent. It does mean the recipe take a bit longer to make, but the extra time given to the dough provides better flavour and texture than quick doughs made with other raising agents.
- Mix together the water, milk and yoghurt (keep all of these at room temperature).
- Add the yeast and sugar and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt, then gradually add the yeast mixture.
- Stir until everything is mixed together fully. Cover with cling film and leave for 20 minutes. At this point the dough will be quite sticky, but don’t be tempted to add more flour.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 2 - 3 minutes. Cover and leave for another 20 minutes.
- Repeat a second short kneading - now the dough should be softer and less sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball, cover and leave to prove in a warm place. This could take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the temperature of the room and how warm the liquid in the yeast mixture was. It will be ready when it has approximately doubled in size, and has the texture of a soft pillow. You should be able to press your finger in it and leave a dent.
- When ready, turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough, folding it back in on itself and forming it into a round.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls (or more if you want smaller breads). Cover with a towel and leave to rest for 30 mintues.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls of dough into thin rounds. To get the classic tear drop shape, simply stretch on end of the circle. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
- Cook each bread in a hot dry pan for 2 - 3 minutes either side. Turn the bread after bubbles start forming in the dough, but be prepared to turn each one a couple of times to cook out all the raw dough.
- When cooked, remove from the pan and spread some melted butter over them. Cover with foil and stack the naan breads up as you cook them. They can then be kept warm in an oven on a very low heat.
Before rolling out the small balls of dough, try adding any of the following for extra flavour: onion seeds, poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Or, before spreading butter on the cooked breads, try infusing it with garlic.