If you don’t own Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I would highly recommend you put it on your holiday list. The book is ten years old but it has recently been re-issued for its’ anniversary. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, meat-eating, or gluten-free, you will find untold treasures in this book. It’s the one book I would bring to a desert island without question.
I’ve used it countless times in the past but seeing as it houses about 1,400 recipes, there are so many amazing recipes still waiting to be discovered. A few months ago Ele posted about Ms. Madison’s Naan recipe and somewhere in my clouded foggy mommy brain, I filed it away for the next time I made a curry. It is a testament to her post (and to her lovely blog in general) that I actually only remembered it. I received some collard greens in our CSA box last week and decided to make a favorite – Peanut Curry.
As is often the case when I am about to make bread, I took a look at the recipe and almost punted. I don’t know what it is about bread baking that sometimes seems so onerous to me. I certainly cook and bake things that take a lot more work. If I hadn’t been bringing dinner to a friend in need, I probably would never had made this naan and that would have been a shame. Friends, this is sooo good. And sooo easy.
A few notes. Ele said she always grills hers. I neglected to file away that fact in my clouded foggy mommy brain and now can’t wait to make it again so I can try it grilled. Instead I followed Madison’s instructions and used a pizza stone. Still awesome. I bought both the wheat bran and ghee called for in the recipe because I have a grocery store nearby where those things are easily found. I’m sure you could substitute butter (I would melt it and cool it slightly – or you can make your own ghee) and whole wheat flour for the wheat bran. Finally, you must brush each bread with a little melted butter and sprinkle it with sea salt when it comes out of the oven. Sublime.
One Year Ago: Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies
Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Makes 8 to 10 small breads
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk (DT: I used low fat)
1/4 cup or clarified butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 stick butter, melted
Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup hot water, the yogurt, ghee, and salt in a bowl , then stir in the yeast, whole-wheat flour, and bran. Work in enough white flour to form a heavy smooth dough, then turn it out and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but slightly tacky. Put the dough in a n oiled bowl, turn it to coat the top, then cover and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450°F with a pizza stone or a sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 8 or 10 pieces. Roll them into balls, cover wtih a towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Here are two options for shaping the dough:
1. Pat the dough into a circle using your fingertips to dimple it all over. Then gently pull it in opposite directions to make a dimpled oblong. The texture will be uneven, providing crisp and bready parts. Place right on the baking stone or hot sheet pan and bake until browned on top, 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Pat or roll the dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Make five short knife cuts, radiating from the center like a sand dollar, then transfer to the baking stone and bake until browned.
(DT: I shaped my breads using option #2. I was able to bake two at a time on my stone. As each pair came out of the oven, I brushed the tops with melted butter and sprinkled them liberally with sea salt.)