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  • Cast Iron Flat Bread

    Posted on April 25th, 2012 admin No comments

    As I have said before I am a bread junkie. And I truly love flatbreads, with just a dash of ghee, or a stuffed prata, a puffy pita, or buttery naan. These go so well with hummus, and used as a wrap for chicken schwarma they are sublime.

    A superb flatbread is basically like a glorious steak; a crusty outside and a tender, just-cooked inside. The best steaks come out of a burning hot cast-iron skillet, so why not flatbreads? They are thin enough that while the surface is being crisped / charred up by intense heat the interior dough will cook enough to a just cooked but still tender fluffy goodness.


    Background

    Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in West, Central and South Asia. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian immigrants, naan has also become popular in other parts of the world, especially in Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Europe and North America.

    Originally, naan was a generic term for various flatbreads from different parts of the world. The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Britain (and other Western countries) are the South Asian varieties.

    In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated, nān does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the everyday word for any kind of bread.

    On the other hand, naan in South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread (another well-known kind of flatbread is chapati). Generally, it resembles pita and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast; unleavened dough (similar to that used for roti) is also used.

    Naan is cooked in a tandoor, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava.

    Modern recipes sometimes substitute baking powder for the yeast. Milk or yoghurt may also be used to give greater volume and thickness to the naan. Typically, it will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with a filling: for example, keema naan is stuffed with a minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton or goat meat).

    Overview
    Here is a quick overview of a fairly straight forward recipe:

    1. Mix dough
    2. Let the dough proof / rise 60 minutes
    3. Shape and rise
    4. Bake

    Ingredients

    Quan Meas Ingredient Comment
    15 oz Bread Flour 2 cups, but use weight
    1 Tsp Yeast Instant or dried
    2 Tsp Sugar White, Brown, Honey, Malt Powder, etc
    2 Tsp Salt Kosher, of course
    8 oz Water Filtered, ~ 1 cup
    1/2 Cup Diary Milk / Buttermilk / Yoguart
    1. Combine flour, yeast, and water in bowl of the standing mixer fitted with dough hook.
    2. Knead until ingredients are incorporated and the dough forms a more cohesive ball.
    3. Move to a large bowl (at least 3 times the size of the dough) and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
    4. Let the dough rise in a cool, draft-free spot away from direct sunlight, until slightly risen and puffy, about 1 hour.
    5. Dust the work surface liberally with flour.
    6. Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the work surface.
    7. Roll the dough into a cylinder shape and divide into about 10 small balls.
    8. Roll out each ball into a disc shape. About 1/4″ thick
    9. Cover and let rise again for 30 minutes.
    10. Pre-heat the skillet over medium heat and hit with a bit of ghee
    11. Place the dough flat in the skillet and with until bubbles appear. (~5-6 Min.)
    12. Flip and cook to desired browness

    Garlic Naan …

    Follow the instructions above, but add 3 cloves of minced garlic to the dry ingredients. Some bits of the garlic will touch the skillet and blacken on the naan. It gives the naan an incredible aroma and taste.

    Onion Naan …

    Follow the instructions above, but add 3 Tsp of minced onion to the dry ingredients. Some bits of the onion will touch the skillet and blacken on the naan. It gives the naan an incredible aroma and taste.