Sunday, June 10, 2012

NO BAKE NAAN


No. You did not read the title wrong.

It is a No Bake Naan.

I have to admit, I was being sort of a lazy mother lately by buying bread instead of making it at home because I was really busy with work. Those were really busy times. For the first two weeks, Amiko did not complain. We bought bread at the travelling street vendor who passed our house every morning and afternoon. They too, had wheat loaf. Though I always had my very much reasonable doubt on how much wheat flour they incorporated in the loaf and sadly, blindfolding myself, I ignored the facts that they used a sensible amount of preservatives. Amiko’s complaints started slowly like a swift sarcasm which I did not pay attention to, for I have the self-activated invisible earplugs whenever she started to whine and complain. But then again, I simply could not let my family suffer for my incompetence in not providing enough time just to bake a loaf or two every two or three days.

So I asked Amiko whether she wanted to bake a loaf together or not. She said she did not want to see another loaf for.. eternity! Yes, she is a drama queen indeed and she got it from her grandmother. But she would settle for Pita or other Indian bread plus some curry. The other extra condition is that she wanted it to be filled with cheese and rosemary.

And oregano.

And thyme.

Oh, how the list went on!

Nevertheless I was in a mood for bread that day and I was up for any experimentation.  As if a light bulb appeared right on my head, I remembered that I had seen a pita pan used by people in Middle East. Some needed electricity and some could be use right on the stove. Overall, it looked like THIS. Then it got me thinking, perhaps I should try using my grill pan. If the pita pan has grills and a lid, then I should be able to use a makeshift one.

It was time to make the dough. I started with my standard pita dough which does not involve wheat flour. Kneaded, left to rise, and off to the grill pan. Silence. Nothing happened. No puffing, no nothing. The pita just laid flat dead on the pan. So off I was again reading my notes on cooking and found my Naan recipe. The difference between Naan and Pita is that Naan uses egg and yogurt while Pita is pretty much simple without. Naan is rather oval and Pita is round. But who cares about shape as long as it tastes good. Well, not me of course. One thing in common between Naan and Pita is that they both puff up beautifully in a 235C oven.

Logically, egg will give an oomph to any dish and creamy stuffs, yogurt in this context, will make the dish taste richer but rather heavies it down a bit. So my idea is to use egg and omit the yogurt. Combine the Naan and Pita recipe to make my own bread. The result is a bread that puffed up like a balloon on the GRILL pan even without cover.


Here is my recipe.
Ingredients:
-250 gr high gluten flour (if using wheat flour, then it’s 170 gr to 80 gr of wheat flour)
-1 tsp instant yeast
-1 egg
-120 ml water (add a bit more if you’re using whole wheat mixture)
-3/4 to 1 tsp salt
-1/2 tbs olive oil
-100-200 gr grated cheese
-1 tsp Herbs of your choice, plus more to mix with the cheese fillings if desired


Methods:
-Mix flour, salt, herbs, yeast in a bowl
-In a separate bowl mix egg, water, oil.
-Knead and leave it to rest in a lightly oiled bowl until doubled for about 1 hour. It will take longer if you’re using wheat flour.
-Once doubled, put it on a lightly floured surface and cut to 6-8 pieces.
-Use a floured hand, flatten a dough to make a round shape just like making pao and fill it with (herbed)cheese. Seal it and roll it to an oval or round shape. No need to get artistic here.
-Prepare your grill pan and lightly oil it.
-Set it on medium heat and once it is hot enough, grill your Naan for about 2-3 minutes each side.
-Serve with your curry or eat it plain.

























I swear I was bursting with laughter. The little rascals were puffing so high I was afraid they might break. I reckon the cheese helped to separate the mid section and create that wonderful pocket. I am still in awe till now at how easy to make this and how little clean up it left me with. This is a breakthrough for lazy moms! But be forewarned, you will want to eat this again and again and again. So like I always say and will never get bored of saying it; Make your own bread. Life is too beautiful to be spent with store bought bread. Unless you buy it on a well respected boulangerie that still stays true to the spirit of making bread from the heart and use zero preservatives.

From my lovely kitchen to you, Have Fun!

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