Breaking bread with garlic naan

Recently, a friend of ours was planning to cook some chicken curry for a dinner that we were going to have together and suggested that we pick up some naan bread to accompany the meal.

Like many Fredonia residents, I went to the store to pick up just a few items. Unlike most grocery store trips, I left with less, not more than what I came for.

I had never purchased naan bread before, but the location that I had been given for the bread was actually empty.

I didn’t have a whole lot of time to check around other stores, although it’s entirely possible they may have had some.

We went home and started tending to our household chores for the day, and while waiting for probably the fifth load of laundry to dry, I decided to do some research on homemade naan.

Now for starters, I had never even seen this bread in person before — and had definitely not eaten it.

For a brief moment, I wondered if I was being utterly foolish for trying, but often times the best stories come from failures.

Either way, I knew I would be able to share with you either an absolute kitchen fail, or a new recipe that turned out great, or something in between those two options…

After reading through a few recipes, I discovered that this was doable, and I was pretty confident that even if it didn’t look like something from an Indian restaurant at the end, it would probably taste great.

Fast forward a couple of hours, and I had some delicious naan bread that looked just like the pictures with the recipe.

Later I found out that it was definitely what it was supposed to look like, and that it tasted significantly better than the kind you can find in a package.

Better than a package is always the goal.

It was far softer than I expected, and I would describe it as a fluffy cloud of garlic. The perfect vessel for rice and sauces.

On that note, here is the recipe.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy baking from hbk!

Garlic Naan

§ C. lukewarm water

1 tsp. active dry or instant yeast

1 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. yogurt or sour cream

2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 Tbsp. melted butter for brushing

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

sea salt for sprinkling

1. Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water. Sprinkle sugar over top. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy. (Note: If using instant yeast, this step is unnecessary. Simply mix the water, olive oil and buttermilk together; mix the yeast, sugar, flour and salt together; then combine wet and dry ingredients until mixed.)

2. Whisk in olive oil and yogurt or sour cream. Sprinkle flour and salt over top. Mix until combined. Dough will be very sticky.

3. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. You can create a warm spot by turning the oven on just long enough to preheat, then turning oven off, sticking the bowl in the oven.

4. Let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Forty-five minutes before baking, place Steel or griddle in oven and preheat oven to 550 F.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and turn dough to coat. Divide dough into 4 equal sections.

Dough will be sticky, so handle it minimally, using as much flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands and your work surface.

6. Shape each of the 4 sections into a ball and let rest for 20 minutes before shaping.

7. Prepare a surface with parchment paper that can be used to slide the parchment paper and dough onto the steel or griddle. I used a flat cookie sheet that had absolutely no edges to do this.

You will need two separate sheets of parchment paper to do this.

Using hands, shape 2 of the balls into large ovals on the parchment paper. Some parts will be a bit lumpy, and that’s fine.

8. Melt butter and stir in the garlic. Have sea salt ready to sprinkle after naan is done cooking.

9. Shimmy naan onto Steel or griddle. Bake two minutes. Flip using tongs. Bake 1 minute. Remove from oven, placing on a cooling rack.

Brush with butter and garlic, then lightly sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining two rounds. Enjoy!

Katy Wise is a Fredonia resident.

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