Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Can Naan be Made in a Typical US Kitchen?


Shel_B
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have lots of cast iron, pizza stones, metal, fire bricks, Big Green Egg, grills, etc. I experiment with them, mostly with pizza. For me, the biggest difference between cast iron and stone (and metal) is how fast the bottom of a pizza (or your naan) cooks in relation to the top. That kinda depends on your oven and how you are set up in it - whether the top is hotter than the bottom, one side hotter than the other, and so on. I like stone just because that keeps my bottom from over cooking before the top is done.

For many, if not most grills, you can really only cook pizza and bread on one side at a time. Grilled bread is good, but I don't think of it as naan. IMHO, naan is more like pizza in that is not usually flipped to cook both sides. That's why I like Heston's method in my previous post. Even though I have not tried it, I'm sure it will work once the bottom and top cooking rates are equalized.

Unmodified, bottom heat source ovens (BGE, grills, etc), as you've witnessed, will never bake the top of fast baked pizza/naan at the same rate as the top. If one is handy, it's possible to redirect the heat to the top with deflection (usually in the form of a pan suspended under the stone and other methods), but it's a lot of work/tweaking and rarely truly successful- especially at much higher temps.

The recipe you posted from Heston is dated- and also leaves a lot to be desired. One never brushes ghee on naan before baking- only after baking. Beyond that, though, from what Heston has learned in the last 3 years via his assistant Chris Young (author of Modernist Cuisine's pizza section), he'd never use ceramic baking stones for flat bread- only steel. And tilting the stones at 45 degree angles? I'm sorry, but that's just plain silly. If you've got wood at the base of the tandoor capable of producing 900+ F deg wall temps, then sure, 45 deg. walls make sense, but in a typical 500-550 oven? Naan needs intense bottom heat and intense infrared radiation. IR is line of sight, and is proximity dependent. In order to get close enough to the broiler to bake the top of the naan as quickly as the bottom, the hearth has to be horizontal, and not at an angle.

Edited by scott123 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure that without a tandoor, an excellent recipe and likely years of experience one cannot make the world's best naan. But judging by the speed at which Kerry Beal's naan was disappearing at the Eggfest where I was her sous chef one can still get damn close. And surely for those of us without a tandoor that is as much as we should expect. Give it your best shot Shel B. It will still exceed the frozen stuff.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure that without a tandoor, an excellent recipe and likely years of experience one cannot make the world's best naan.

Respectfully, I strongly disagree :smile: For years, many people (me included) labored under the false assumption that if you didn't have the right oven, you couldn't make the world's best pizza, and then steel came along and changed everything. Naan and pizza are peas from the same thermodynamic pod.

Edited by scott123 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting coincidence today - my 14 year old daughter came home from school with a log of what looked like over risen bead dough and told me that it was naan bread. I heated up the BBQ to the atomic setting and after rolling out the dough paper thin I cooked it on the plate, closing the lid as quickly as possible.

The result was fantastic with crunchy, charred bits and a wonderful flavour.

The dough recipe was 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1.5 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons dried yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Prove the yeast for about 20 minutes with the sugar and water till frothy, mix in the other ingredients and leave to rise for 2-3 hours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dough recipe was 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1.5 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons dried yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Prove the yeast for about 20 minutes with the sugar and water till frothy, mix in the other ingredients and leave to rise for 2-3 hours.

This is the same as my recipe except for 1/2 cup of mashed potato. This addition gave it a bit of a chew texture. My potter friend told me about this addition.

She uses a large unglazed bowl that nicely fits into her oven to make naan. The bowl is heat to 500F and the dough is slapped onto the sides. The clay bowl retains the heat better when the dough is added. I am patiently waiting for her to try her hand at making a liner for my Big Easy!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there's more to making naan than the oven and steel, although those are important items.

I've looked at numerous recipes for naan bread, and many are made rather quickly, with short rise and resting times before the dough is cooked. Now, just to be perfectly clear, I'm no bread expert, but I've read a bit and puttered in the kitchen a few times. It seems to me that longer proofing, rising, resting (honestly, I don't know all the correct terms) can help the flavor and perhaps the texture of the bread. I'm reminded of Wolfert's recipe for brioche in which she calls for longer times before baking, and for being careful with the amount of yeast.

She says "The trouble with a lot of brioche recipes is that they force the rising of the dough with too much yeast and end up sacrificing flavor. As a result, the brioche tastes too "yeasty." No matter how fluffy or buttery or light it is, it doesn't taste 'natural.' My solution is a long, slow rise using a small amount of yeast; this results in a superb natural flavor and a crumb with a better structure."

Rose Levy Beranbaum suggests doing pretty much the same thing. Likewise, the capable bakers at Tartine for some of their breads - long, slow rises seem to be what a number of experts suggest.

ATK suggested, in their naan recipe, the same thing - overnight in the fridge.

And then there's the ingredients. It seems that many naan bakers, and a number of recipes, call for yogurt to be added to the dough. Being ignorant of the science, but real good about what tastes good, this seems like a good idea - at least based on other baked goods I've enjoyed. What about other ingredients, like baking powder. What does that bring to the table?

And yeast. let's look at that for a moment. ATK suggests 1/2 tsp rapid rise yeast with the dough resting over night in the fridge (Shades of Paula Wolfert's brioche dough), yet other recipes call for as much as 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast, with much shorter rising and resting times. It would seem, to this poor ol' country boy, that longer rising or resting times may help develop flavor - at least according to those who definitely know more than I. So, what's the deal with yeast when making naan?

So, with all the discussion about how to prepare naan - oven choices, heat sources, discussions about thermodynamic properties, etc. - there's been relatively little discussion about recipes and techniques. Yes, there have been a few recipes posted or linked, but little discussion on what makes a great naan recipe. And how might the recipe relate to the cooking technique? Might a different recipe be ideal for a tandoor than for the home oven or a grill?

OK, coffee's ready ...

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This probably isn't very helpful, but there are least two types of "naan" in the subcontinent - one, the pear shaped one with yogurt/milk in the dough, I suspect is from Delhi, and another, with I suspect a water-based dough, a circular shape, and lighter overall, is from, as far as I can tell, Lahore. This latter is very similar if not identical to Persian naan-e taftoon, or even an untopped neapolitan pizza crust. I'm guessing the recipe is just flour, water, yeast, and salt. (picture here: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/ravi-kabob-house-arlington-3?select=bjI6D1dBj8Yi8Dw1Ur6T7A#jSKFqWpoLYJEh4IwJe0MjA)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This probably isn't very helpful, but there are least two types of "naan" in the subcontinent - one, the pear shaped one with yogurt/milk in the dough, I suspect is from Delhi, and another, with I suspect a water-based dough, a circular shape, and lighter overall, is from, as far as I can tell, Lahore. This latter is very similar if not identical to Persian naan-e taftoon, or even an untopped neapolitan pizza crust. I'm guessing the recipe is just flour, water, yeast, and salt. (picture here: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/ravi-kabob-house-arlington-3?select=bjI6D1dBj8Yi8Dw1Ur6T7A#jSKFqWpoLYJEh4IwJe0MjA)

Doesn't help me ... pics are useless.

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So ..........

how's the Test Kitchen Naan turning out ?

i plan to follow your lead

i have an old lodge cast iron griddle ( two burner ) that I plan to Fax-Up and use that over two gas burners

once I find two suitable covers for the dual-use ( two Naan's at a time ) griddle.

using the Test's method.

if this turns out Sig. better than Tj's FZ, i wonder if the home made might freeze after cooling.

it would be a lot easier making a bunch and freezing rather than just a few for an Indian Meal.

Edited by rotuts (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So ..........

how's the Test Kitchen Naan turning out ?

Haven't made it yet. I generally don't cook or experiment during the later part of the week as I'm too busy with other things, and weekends I'm usually not home, so we'll have to wait until next week + I have to shop for some flour and a few other ingredients.

One thing ATK mentioned was using King Arthur flour - it has more of something (Gluten? Protein?) that they say adds to the texture of the naan. I suppose one could use a more common flour, but what the heck, KA is readily available.

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

here you go:

http://www.finecooking.com/articles/choosing-flour-for-baking.aspx

found this about Tj's flour which used to be KA:

http://www.thekitchn.com/product-review-trader-joes-all-87516

unless TJ's (which I use) has changed again, consider TJ's and save a few bucks !

I looked at a bag of TJ's I happen to have and despite a blue 'bag' it has the same amount of protein as the above article.

WHo Knew ?

Edited by rotuts (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

found this about Tj's flour which used to be KA:

http://www.thekitchn.com/product-review-trader-joes-all-87516

unless TJ's (which I use) has changed again, consider TJ's and save a few bucks !

I looked at a bag of TJ's I happen to have and despite a blue 'bag' it has the same amount of protein as the above article.

WHo Knew ?

I certainly didn't know. Toots uses TJ's, so maybe I can "borrow a cup of flour." Thanks for the info. Based on the fine cooking article, ATK was right, should I want the chewier bread.

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I apologise for any offence I may have accidentally caused.

My point seems to have been misunderstood, probably due to me not expressing it properly.

There are few things that excite me more than learning about new ingredients and dishes from wherever. And I do try to follow them up (unless they include corn!)

However, I do sometimes get annoyed by the Amerocentric view sometimes expressed here. American culture is a minority culture.and many members are not American.

I sometimes post about about Chinese ingredients but would never say they are "readily available". even f they are in every corner shop in town. I know you aren't all in China!

Apologies to all who felt offended.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

back to Naan



and how flour type might affect its consistency and Taste.



To bad we dont have many members in India to comment on the flour available there. We used to and i looked forward to their



contributions



then again, the "Best Naan" might not come from India. just pretty $#*% good Naan.




if youve read this book:



http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0834216469



'ash' in flour has a lot to do with distinctive tastes in bread and perhaps all 'bread' type products.



maybe only 'fermented' types; ie not pasta, wonton wrappers etc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't know what the "experts" would say about my attempt yesterday, but as someone who has eaten a lot of naan over the years, I think these were pretty damn close to a real, tandoor-baked version.

I used a recipe from the April 2013 "Bon Appetit". It calls for milk, yeast, sugar, flour, salt and full-fat yogurt. It also has finely chopped onion in it, but I think you could probably leave that out for a plain version. The dough rises for an hour, then you roll into balls and rest for at least 10 minutes. Shape into the desired oval, and cook on a ghee- or oil-brushed cast iron pan. I used ghee.

Here's one cooking on the first side. It may be difficult to tell, but it did bubble up quite profusely, not totally separate like a pita bread, but very bubbly indeed.

001.JPG

After flipping, the bubbles deflate when you turn over to the second side, but the bread remains nice and airy inside:

002.JPG

And the whole shebang, swaddled in its nice towel to keep warm and toasty.

004.JPG

The full batch made 10 naan, and there was no way I could eat all of those before they went bad (well, ok, realistically, I probably could have, but I'd have regretted it later.....), so I took half of the batch, already formed into balls, and put them on a sheet pan in the freezer. I'll take them out today and stash 'em in an airtight bag. Hopefully, when the craving for naan strikes, I'll be able to take out one or two dough balls, thaw and cook.

I have made naan before using the superhot oven/pizza stone method. Those were a disappointment, and I prefered to just purchase frozen from TJs if I wasn't getting the real deal at a restaurant. Just wasn't worth the effort when the TJs are decent and easy.

THESE however, were totally worth the effort, which wasn't much. The dough is easy to work, if a bit sticky, and the shaping went well enough by hand that I didn't try to use a rolling pin. Fresh off the griddle they were absolutely amazing.....steamy, soft, charry with a nice onion flavor. Tangy from the yogurt. Even rewarmed in foil in the oven at dinner they were still a damn site better than the frozen.

I'm sure the whole recipe is available on Epicurious, although I haven't looked. The magazine also had a pictorial on how to shape them.

  • Like 1

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't know what the "experts" would say about my attempt yesterday, but as someone who has eaten a lot of naan over the years, I think these were pretty damn close to a real, tandoor-baked version.

I used a recipe from the April 2013 "Bon Appetit". It calls for milk, yeast, sugar, flour, salt and full-fat yogurt. It also has finely chopped onion in it, but I think you could probably leave that out for a plain version. The dough rises for an hour, then you roll into balls and rest for at least 10 minutes. Shape into the desired oval, and cook on a ghee- or oil-brushed cast iron pan. I used ghee.

Here's one cooking on the first side. It may be difficult to tell, but it did bubble up quite profusely, not totally separate like a pita bread, but very bubbly indeed.

attachicon.gif001.JPG

After flipping, the bubbles deflate when you turn over to the second side, but the bread remains nice and airy inside:

attachicon.gif002.JPG

And the whole shebang, swaddled in its nice towel to keep warm and toasty.

attachicon.gif004.JPG

The full batch made 10 naan, and there was no way I could eat all of those before they went bad (well, ok, realistically, I probably could have, but I'd have regretted it later.....), so I took half of the batch, already formed into balls, and put them on a sheet pan in the freezer. I'll take them out today and stash 'em in an airtight bag. Hopefully, when the craving for naan strikes, I'll be able to take out one or two dough balls, thaw and cook.

I have made naan before using the superhot oven/pizza stone method. Those were a disappointment, and I prefered to just purchase frozen from TJs if I wasn't getting the real deal at a restaurant. Just wasn't worth the effort when the TJs are decent and easy.

THESE however, were totally worth the effort, which wasn't much. The dough is easy to work, if a bit sticky, and the shaping went well enough by hand that I didn't try to use a rolling pin. Fresh off the griddle they were absolutely amazing.....steamy, soft, charry with a nice onion flavor. Tangy from the yogurt. Even rewarmed in foil in the oven at dinner they were still a damn site better than the frozen.

I'm sure the whole recipe is available on Epicurious, although I haven't looked. The magazine also had a pictorial on how to shape them.

I am guessing this

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Onion-Naan-51154880

Is it?

Congratulations on making naan you really enjoyed. Must give it a go.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*snippity snip*......

I'm sure the whole recipe is available on Epicurious, although I haven't looked. The magazine also had a pictorial on how to shape them.

I am guessing this

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Onion-Naan-51154880

Is it?

Congratulations on making naan you really enjoyed. Must give it a go.

Yes, Anna, that's it precisely. Thanks for finding and posting the link....just didn't have the energy/patience to do that along with the pictures.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Years ago we were permitted a kitchen visit at the 'Indian' restaurant we frequented regularly (as I recall the family were from Pakistan but in England most restaurants of this style are labelled 'Indian'. The tandoor was a huge device, tiled on the outside and with a stainless bin lid as a cover. The naan breads were pulled into a tear shape and slapped onto the inner wall of the tandoor. 30 seconds later they were pulled off fully cooked with some char both sides. The top was brushed lightly with ghee and that was it, ready for service.

More recently most supermarkets here sell products which are bread based and labelled naan. While fully cooked I recall advice to warm before service. I've tried one or two, in particular during three months we were without a kitchen a couple of years ago. Taste and texture in no way similar to a restaurant naan.

When I started reading this thread I thought perhaps it would be possible to make naan using the Ferrari G3 pizza cooker we recently bought. I realise this is not a professional device but it is infinitely better than any other way I've tried to cook a decent pizza in our domestic kitchen. The stone preheats in around 10 minutes, 450 Celsius, and a pizza will then cook in around 5 or 6 minutes. A naan would be quicker as there is less mass to heat.

On the UK Amazon these ovens are priced at around £96.00. I looked at the US Amazon and was amazed to see the same machine at $660. Either a mistake or it would be worth ordering through the UK and paying the postage.

As regards the recipe I would go with Madhur Jaffrey, if you google her name and naan recipe there are any number of sites that reproduce her method.

While we no longer live close to the restaurant that gave us a kitchen tour we do have a great local place. I would be happy to ask advice about their naan recipe, I think they know us well enough to understand that we don't intend to set up in competition!

I realise this is an old thread, perhaps you have perfected a recipe and cooking technique that works for you?

Good luck!

Diana

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...