Owning a dairy goat means having a lot of dairy products on hand at all times. A while back, I got a little carried away and made a gallon and a half of homemade yogurt at one time. We’ve been eating it every day in various different forms: with berry sauce, on cereal, as fruity frozen yogurt, and in my secret pancake recipe. Naan, a traditional Indian flatbread, is one more way to use up extra yogurt. Naan is great for sopping up saucy Indian dishes, but I’ve been using it in a more locavore-fusion context. My lunch the other day (above) was a naan taco slathered with fresh chèvre, homegrown tomatoes and parsley, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I filled another one with egg salad. Naan is so easy and delicious that I’ve made it twice this week.
The following recipe is adapted from everyday epicurean by Catherine Bell (a cookbook I highly recommend for this and other recipes).1/2 cup warm water 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 cup boiling water 1 cup cold plain yogurt 6 1/2 cups flour + extra (I use white, all-purpose flour with up to 2 cups of whole wheat flour) 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil 2 teaspoons salt
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to dissolve.
Stir the boiling water into the yogurt, and cool until tepid.
Mix the yogurt and the yeast solutions together in a large bowl.
Gradually stir in 3 cups of flour. Stir constantly in one direction for 2 minutes.
Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
(In case you were wondering about this rad towel, I got it from Oregon-based screen-printing company Oh, Little Rabbit. The cloth above is actually a very large napkin that came in a set of four.)
Sprinkle the oil and salt on the wet dough (some might call it a “sponge”). Mix in most of the remaining flour.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead it unti smooth, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary.
Lightly oil the bowl. Add the dough ball to the bowl and turn a few times to coat it with oil. Re-cover it with the damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Here’s where my method diverges significantly from the cookbook. Catherine Bell tells you to roll out pieces of dough and bake them for 10-15 minutes in a 450° oven. We don’t have an oven (see details in this post about how to bake bread in a barbecue), and that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as my technique below.
Turn out the dough and punch the air out. Cut it into 15 more or less equal sized pieces. Form each piece of dough into a little ball. Cover the balls with a towel.
Preheat two cast iron skillets or griddles on the stovetop set to high heat.
Roll each ball into a flat disc approximately 8″ wide. The dough will be slightly sticky and elastic, so keep some flour handy for flouring the work surface, the dough, and your rolling pin. As soon as you quit rolling, the dough will begin to contract. That’s okay.
Place a dough disc on the hot, ungreased skillet, making sure it lays flat with no wrinkles. When it starts to bubble up and has brown spots forming on the underside, flip it, and cook it on the other side for another couple minutes.
For me, it takes approximately equal time to roll one out as it does for another to cook thoroughly, so I can keep the skillets full without stressing out or waiting around too much.
Sometimes they get cool pita-pocket air bubbles.
Naan is best served warm brushed with butter. When each flatbread comes off the griddle, wrap it up in a towel to prevent heat loss. You can also reheat it by throwing it back in a hot skillet for a minute or two.