Baking naans in my tandoorHome >> Experiences
Naans are one of the very best bread you can serve your guest with a meal. I've been to some of the best bakeries in France and tasted the freshly baked bread in some of the top gastronomic restaurants in Europe, and that still holds true. You can achieve similar results at home. The problem is, you need a tandoor or a baker's oven. With a regular oven you won't get to the right temperature and the bottom of the naan will not get crunchy. In a tandoor they cook only during 2-7 minutes and are crunchy all round.
Naan dough recipe
In a huge stainless bowl break an egg and beat it
liquid, non sweetened yoghurt. I use about a cup and a half. The amount
of yoghurt will determine how much flour and dough you will get.
Mix well using a whip. Add 1.5 cup of lukewarm water for each cup of yoghurt.
Add some dry yeast or a cube of fresh yeast. Baking powder is not so good but on the other hand yeast can have an overwhelming taste if you let it rise too long.
You can put a pinch of sugar to help feed the yeast.
Leave it for about 15 minutes so that the yeast can start multiplying, then add a tablespoon of fine salt for each cup of yoghurt. The salt will delay the rising, so you could add it with the flour later as well.
Mix well until you get a smooth mixture.
Use white flour with good gluten. The quantity will depend on the weather and the size of your cup, but generally I end up using one kilogram of flour per cup of yoghurt. Sieve it in the bowl.
Start with half a kilogram or so, mix it in, then add some more.
Stop adding the flour when you have a non-sticky dough. Knead well for at least 10 minutes. Cover with a slightly wet towl and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles, about 2 hours usually. Make sure the dough does not rise too much or the bread won't be good. If your dough is too soft, the exterios half of each naan will fall off the tandoor's walls.
After it has risen a cut in your dough should reveal the following structure:
Heat the tandoor up and wait until it reaches at least 400°F. Flour the working surface and your hands. Cut a piece of dough the size of an apple and spread it with your hands until it covers your entire hand. Wet the top a little, then sprinkle aromatic seeds and press to fix them.
Put the naans ready to bake on a kitchen towel so that they don't stick.
Put a naan on a large kitchen glove, seeded face down. With the opposite hand, take a little water in by dipping your fingers in a bowl and wet the naan's back. Put your gloved hand in the tandoor and stick the naan firmly against the inside wall. Check that the naan is well stuck, press again if not. I can put at least 7 in my tandoor, some are easier to place than others depening on the angle.
The tandoor walls are extremely hot and the air even hotter. The naans will bake in a few minutes. Here they are only 3 minutes after the preceding picture:
Remove the naans using a pair of bread seekhs. The pointed one sticks the naan in the middle while the flat seekh goes between the naan and the tandoor to remove it. If the naan is stuck, leave it a little bit longer, then try again.
If the naan falls, here is the result after a couple minutes down the beast's belly:
Key success/failure factors are:
The Little Seeds on the Crust