Did I mention that I went to the Middle East for overseas study during college? One of my favorite memories was watching flatbreads being removed from rustic bakery ovens. Then you could watch breads being transported atop people’s heads! Each morning my Iranian family served: warm freshly-baked naan and homemade quince jam for breakfast.
So when I was able to make Persian naan here in America (made even easier with a Zojirushi bread machine to mix-and-knead the dough) it brought back wonderful memories. Here is my variation on a family-favorite recipe, that I have made healthier using whole wheat flour:
- 2 cups lukewarm water (80-90 degrees F.)
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (You can also use 3 teaspoons of instant yeast.)
- 5-6 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour (I prefer: 1/2 white flour, 1/2 whole wheat flour)
- 1 TBS. salt
- Set aside: sesame seeds (do not put in machine; save for later)
Directions: (Click on pictures to enlarge)
Put ingredients in bread machine baking pan: liquid first, with yeast last (on top of the flour; do not let yeast touch liquid). Put machine on “DOUGH” setting.(I used “QUICK DOUGH” setting with instant yeast.)
When dough is ready, remove from machine. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces on a lightly-floured surface. Deflate the dough as you shape each into an oval, about 6″ wide and 8″ long. Cover the others with Stretch-Tite, as you work with the first piece.
Heat oven to 500 degrees (I use convection). Fill a small bowl with cold water (I put an ice cube in mine.) Lay your dough-piece on a non-stick baking sheet. Dip your fingers into the water, and press your fingers into the dough to make indentations across every inch of the dough (deep and closely-spaced). Keep moistening your fingers so the dough remains very wet.
Pick up the dough and stretch it in all the ways you can. Drape it, let it hang from your fingers, pull gently…You’re wanting an oval about 6″ wide and 18″ (or more) long. A few holes in the dough are fine; don’t worry.Lay dough onto non-stick baking sheet; sprinkle with a teaspoon or more of sesame seeds. Bake until bread has golden patches and is brown and crusty on bottom. About 9-minutes. Remove from oven. Cool on a rack. Wrap in cotton towel to keep soft and warm.
Note: If you have a Vita-Mix, you can grind your own whole wheat flour (in the dry container). It would take approximately 2-cups of wheat berries to make 3-cups of whole wheat flour. Be sure and let the flour “cool” before using. Grinding time will be 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, going from “variable 1-10”, then switch to “HIGH”. Degree of fineness will be very fine.
And so you know it’s never too late to learn and have some fun: here’s Tom making his first naan today: