Naan Bread

Naan is a Punjabi bread from the north of India, made from wheat flour and leavened by fermenting yoghurt. A tandoori restaurant cooks its naan bread in tandoor ovens, which are charcoal-fired and shaped like giant clay vases. The dough is slapped skilfully just beneath the lip of the open oven. The weight of the dough pulls it down as it cooks, to give the traditional elongated shape, and it is ready just at the moment when the baked bread would unstick from the oven side and fall down on the coals.

It will never be possible to bake anything exactly like the tandoor naan, but you can make a very good bread using a standard grill and self-raising flour.

Ingredients

  • 300 ml/ ½ pt hand-warm water
  • 4 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 550 g/ lb self-raising flour

Method

Put the warm water in the bowl of a food mixer with the yoghurt and salt. Turn on at low speed and add the flour. Work for 5 minutes, then remove the sticky dough to a floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Put into an oiled bowl and cling-wrap the top. Leave at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat the grill and a metal grill tray. Pull off balls of dough the size of squash balls and roll these out into 23-cm / 9-inch ovals. Put under the grill on the preheated metal tray for 45–60 seconds. As they puff up and spot, turn and give the other side 30–45 seconds.

Keep warm in a low oven, wrapped in a cloth while you cook the rest.

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