Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Naan Bread

Hello again! Sorry for the huge time lapse between posts. My life as a student has left little time for cooking and baking and even less time to blog about my day to day adventures. However, today I offer you a recipe for homemade naan bread. Most people think you need a tandoor oven to make delicious naan bread, but a cast iron skillet does the job perfectly. The recipe is incredibly easy, and costs a fraction of store-bought or restaurant naan bread. And, it is delicious!

Homemade Naan Bread
recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook, World Vegetarian

5 cups white flour (you could probably use any flour, but I have only used white)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. plain yogurt (I used about 3)
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 egg
1 tbsp. melted butter, plus more for cooking with
1/2 tsp. nigella and 1 tsp. sesame seeds (I did not use these)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar and yogurt with an electric mixer. Add the milk and water to yogurt and mix well. Slowly begin adding 2 cups of the flour mixture, little bits at a time. When all of the flour is incorporated, mix well for 2-3 minutes on medium speed to build up the gluten in the flour. Add the melted butter and the egg and mix well. Now slowly begin adding the rest of the flour, switching to a wooden spoon when the mixture becomes too thick for the electric mixer. The dough should be very soft and sticky. Dump it out onto a floured surface and knead a few times with oiled hands. Divide the dough into 8-12 balls, depending on the size of your cast iron pan (I did 12 for my medium sized cast iron pan). Liberally dust a baking tray with flour and place the balls two inches apart. Press and flatten the balls slightly with your floured hand and cover them with a tea towel (please do not use plastic wrap, a towel works just as well). Refrigerate the naan for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours. 

When you are ready to cook them, preheat your pan for 5 minutes. Melt a few more tablespoons of butter and dip your fingers in it. Take one naan at a time and press and shape them into a tear drop shape about 6 or 7 inches long (or long enough that the dough is about 1/2 inch thick and it will fit nicely onto your pan). Brush the top with a bit more butter and place (buttered side down) onto the hot pan. Sprinkle a small amount of seeds onto the top of the dough (if you are using them). Cook for about 2 minutes, or until nicely browned. Now because I don't use the seeds, I simply butter the top and then flip my naan over and cook them for another 2 minutes on the other side. However, the seeds would probably all fly off if you did that, so You can finish it off under the broiler until nicely blistered and brown. Cook all of the naan this way and keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to eat them. 

I would recommend only cooking enough to eat with your meal and leaving the rest in the fridge so you can make fresh ones as you want them over the next 2 days. Fresh off the pan is really the best way to have them. Or you could just cook them all and then eat a ridiculous amount of buttery, hot naan and feel really indulged and satisfied. I fully support that method :). 

I don't have a picture of the finished product, but this is what they should look like:

Tonight we are having this delicious bread with chana masala, recipe found here, and bengali spiced squash, also in World Vegetarian

What have you been cooking lately?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Homemade Bread

I have discovered the most amazing bread recipe that I have ever made. This bread rises beautifully, makes an excellent sandwich bread, and is has an amazingly simple method. I have been reading Rhonda's blog for quite some time now and have read her tutorials on baking bread, but never tried her recipe. Until last week. I am never going back! Here is her tutorial. If you have never made bread before (or need a refresher course) then make sure you check out her beginner's tutorial first before moving on to the intermediate, which is what I followed.

Here is what I used in my loaf:

(Barely adapted from Rhonda)
2 tsp. traditional yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup warm water

Mix all of these together and allow to sit for 10 mins, until foamy.

2 cups whole wheat flour
2- 2 1/2  cups white flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. skim milk powder
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups warm water

Put dry ingredients into bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook and mix together. Add the yeast mixture, oil, and about 1 1/2 cups water. Mix until dough comes together (adding water and flour as needed- I needed about 1 3/4 cups water and 2 1/2 cups white flour). Knead for 6 minutes in mixer, or 10 minutes by hand, until soft dough forms. Dump out of mixer, knead a few times, and form into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warm spot (I use my oven with the light on) to rise for one hour.

Punch down dough and form into a loaf. Wet the top of the loaf and roll into oats/seeds, or whatever you would like on the top of the loaf. You can skip this step if you just want plain bread. Place into a greased loaf pan and allow to rise until dough crests over pan (about 30 minutes).

Today's loaf- sesame and poppy seeds.

I received two cast iron bread pans for Christmas, and I am in love with them! They are entirely non stick already and produce a nice crispy crust every time. I love the fact that these will be my bread pans for life and they will just get better with age. That doesn't happen very often anymore.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to about 450 F. Place risen loaf in hot oven for about 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 F. Bake for 20 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Last week's loaf- oats.

This bread is delicious, frugal, and healthy! All of my favourite things! Let me know if you try it, I would love to know how it turns out for you and what you top it with! Do you have a favourite bread recipe?


Friday, January 13, 2012

I Love This...

As a lover of scarves and the chicness they can add to the simplest of outfits, this blew my mind:

I definitely will be experimenting with a bunch of these in the future! Check out her other videos, which go through each style slowly and explain how to tie them. She is adorable!


Slices of Our Holiday

Hello my dear friends,

I am sorry that I have taken such an extended break. Christmas turned into a crazy time where we managed to pack in a lot of visiting with D's family, two out of town extended trips to visit my family, and lots of other events! But I am back now and here to offer you some pictures from our time away.

Some members of our household were fascinated by the tree

Our little tree that fit into our tiny living room.

Unwrapping gifts 

D makes homemade caramel popcorn for his mom every year

Christmas Feast! 

Part of D's family and I at Christmas dinner

School has started off once again with a bang. I am taking four courses this semester, which is taking up a lot of my time. Considering three of them are literature courses, I will be reading a lot in the coming months! I am still not currently working, as school is almost a full time job at this point. In the coming months I will not be posting as often as I would like due to lack of time, but I will be reading your blogs and trying to keep up with your lives as much as possible! Thank you for sticking around here with me. I greatly appreciate it!

How was your holiday? What have you been doing in the New Year?