I prefer homemade naan to the dense and doughy store-bought ones. It’s so easy to whip up; you just need to plan ahead so the dough has time to rise. I use whole-wheat pastry flour to make naan because it contains more fiber than all-purpose flour but less gluten, which helps produce a softer bread. The naan dough is actually a twofer, because you can use it as a base for flatbread pizza. While the choice of toppings is endless, Margherita pizza sprinkled with nigella seeds is my favorite way to eat up all those colorful little tomatoes we grow in our backyard.
[Ed. Note: Recipe creator Nik Sharma talks about multicultural influence on his food in this interview.]
1/2 cup [120 ml] whole milk, heated to 105 to 115°F [41 to 46°C]
1 large egg
2 Tbsp plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the naans
Using a fork, whisk the milk, egg, yogurt, butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly on the surface.
Put the flour in a large bowl or mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the well. Using clean hands or a large wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour from the inside wall of the well into the liquid to form a sticky dough. Knead well for 4 to 5 minutes.
Fold the dough by grabbing it from the underside and stretching it and folding it back over itself. Rotate a quarter of a turn and repeat three or four times. Brush a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a d ark, warm place until doubled in size, about 4 hours.
Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough, one at a time, into circles about ¹/8 in [4 mm] thick and about 6 in [15 cm] in diameter.
To cook the naan, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Slap a circle of dough into the hot skillet and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the dough, and turn the heat to low. Cook, covered, until the naan blisters, with a few big bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining three circles of dough.
Naan can be seasoned in many different ways. Instead of garlic, you can try mixing butter or ghee with spices and herbs, such as Aleppo pepper flakes, urfa biber, crushed coriander, and oregano.
Reprinted from Season by Nik Sharma with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018
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