‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.
So that you will continue to grant my family with loaf upon loaf of delicious breads, I swear to sacrifice to you all that I am able, Oh Magnificent One. Please specify that which you would have me surrender unto thee.
My children? Oh Cookbook, my love for them abounds too greatly for me to relinquish them to thee. Please forgive me. Instead, I grant thee several hours of innocent and youthful toil. Up three flights of stairs, my dutiful children shall carry pound upon pound of flour, faces aglow in hopes that they will soon blissfully nibble the crumbs of your offerings.
My wardrobe? I have anticipated your needs, my Beloved Cookbook. The Ides of September have barely passed, yet the cool autumnal breezes have transformed my kitchen into a small-scale bakery. Your pages beckon me with promises of warm bread, crusty on the outside and chewy in the middle. Already my clothes are one size larger than they were but one fortnight past. Hence, my wardrobe is thine.
My wallet? But sir, surely you understand that my monies are all but depleted, due to the delightfully excessive amounts of flour that your recipes have required. In addition, I have upgraded to King Arther Flour, if only to bring out the grandeur of your baked grains. I have not been disappointed by the quality of the new and expensive flour. You are so totally worth the extra two-bucks-per five-pound-bag.
Oh Magnificent One, now that I have succumbed to your desires, please grant me permission to spread your Word. Allow me to sing the highest praises of the most recent recipe that your pages have imparted to me: naan. Also, please allow me to stop kissing your ass and close my Thesaurus window so that I can stop coming up with fancy words to describe you and your breads.
Thanks dude. And thanks for the naan. It's phenomenal.
Naan, a traditional flatbread of India and other South Asian countries.
~from ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.
For the dough: (This is the basic “Boule” recipe for many of the breads in the Magnificent Cookbook. I also used it to make Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls, and the fresh loaves of bread mentioned in the Meat Butter post.)
Makes four 1-pound loaves. The recipes is easily doubled or halved, and you can keep the unused portions of dough in your fridge for up to 10 days. (Note- The authors explain things in much greater detail than I have provided. You should just get it.)
3 cups lukewarm water
1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast (2 yeast packets)
1 ½ tablespoons kosher or other course salt
6 ½ cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
1. Warm the water to just slightly wamer than body temperature.
2. Add yeast and salt to the water. Don’t worry about dissolving it completely.
3. Mix in the flour using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Kneading is unnecessary. You’re done when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches.
4. Allow to rise. Cover with a lid (not airtight). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approximately 2 hours. Longer times, up to 5 hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough anytime after this period.
For the Naan:
¼ pound (peach-size portion) of dough
1 tablespoon ghee or any neutral-flavored oil (I used olive oil)
Butter for brushing on loaf if ghee is unavailable
1. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a ¼ pound (peach-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Using your hands and a rolling pin, and minimal flour, roll out to a uniform thickness of 1/8 inch thick throughout and to a diameter of 8 to 9 inches.
2. Heat a heavy 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat on the stovetop. When water droplets flicked into the pan skitter across the surface and evaporate quickly, the pan is ready. Add the ghee or the oil, pouring out excess fat if necessary.
3. Drop the rolled dough round into the skillet, decrease the heat to medium, and cover the skillet to trap the steam and heat.
4. Check for doneness with a spatula at about 3 minutes, or sooner if you’re smelling overly quick browning. Adjust the heat as needed. Flip the naan when the underside is richly browned.
5. Continue cooking another 2 to 6 minutes, or until the naan feels firm, even at the edges, and the second side is browned. If you’ve rolled a thicker naan, or if you’re using dough with whole grains, you’ll need more pan time.
6. Remove the naan from the pan, brush with butter if the dough was cooked in oil, and serve. (I made a raita dip to put on the naan, and then I gorged myself on pounds and pounds of naan and raita, and then I became too full to breathe, and I will be repeating that process as soon as possible.)