HOME-STYLE TANDOOR NAAN

HOME-STYLE TANDOOR NAANTandoor is a clay oven traditionally associated with the northern and western regions of the Subcontinent. The heat for a tandoor was traditionally generated by a charcoal or wood fire. The clay will retain the heat and cook the food inside. Tandoor is heated from 500 F to 800 f in temperature. Extremely hot oven for sure. The great thing about clay is that it retains the heat for a long time.

Popular food that we often heard cooked with tandoor are tandoori chicken, flat bread like naan, lavash, chicken tikka, kalmi kabab, etc. For cooking the naan, the dough is literally sticked to the wall curve inside of the tandoor oven and baked quickly for less than 3 minutes and the bread is released from the oven using some sort of hooked stick and serve immediately.

I don’t have a tandoor oven as you can see. However, improvisation is always possible assuming you have an oven in your kitchen. The naan can be baked on unglazed quarry tiles or a large baking stone. This create an almost similar environment to tandoor oven. It works well and fun.

One mistake that I did though when I made this naan that I thought I must shared so that you wouldn’t end up with a super crispy naan (because a naan is supposed to be a “tearable” bread, not “breakable” bread) was I baked the naan for a little too long and it’s a big no-no! if your naan doesn’t get all the nice brown spots on top before 5 minutes, don’t go crazy and trying to do so by over baking it and I can hit someone on the head with that naan bread and he/she might be hospitalized for head injury!! I’m not joking! The naan should be already cooked in such high temperature in less than 5 minutes, you may just get some light spots here and there, and that’s okay, your naan should be tasting good already that way, trust me!

So if you don’t own a tandoor oven, you can still able to make naan bread at your very own kitchen. We had the naan with tikka kebabs and it’s so yummy!!!

HOME-STYLE TANDOOR NAAN (4 to 5 servings)
 
What you will need:
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee, melted
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds, or about 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions:
  1. About 4½ hours, or as long as 10 hours before you wish to serve the breads, begin preparing the dough. Place ½ cup of the warm water in a cup or glass and stir in the yeast
  2. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat to lukewarm, about 100 F. Add the remaining 1½ cups warm water and transfer to a large heavy bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Stir in 2 cups of the flour, stirring always in the same direction. Sprinkle on the salt, then continue adding flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough
  3. Generously flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto the floured surface, and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, incorporating just enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking (it is important to have the dough that is soft and not too tight)
  4. Rinse our your bowl and wipe it dry, then lightly oil with a little melted butter or vegetable oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for about 3 hours, to rise until more than doubled in volume. If you want to serve warm breads with a meal, leave the risen dough until 1 to 1½ hours before you wish to serve them. The dough can be kept waiting for as long as 6 hours if kept in a relatively cool place, not more than 70 F
  5. When you are ready to proceed, place a rack in the upper third of your oven and place a baking stone or quarry tiles on it, leaving ½ inch or more between the oven walls and the tiles to allow air to circulate. Preheat oven to 500 F (make sure your oven is clean and doesn't have any crumbs or "leftover" or they will burn badly)
  6. Pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to cut the dough in half. Place half back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap while you shape the first four breads
  7. Cut the dough in half and then half again. Shape each piece into a round ball, using both hands to round it and smooth it. Place the balls at the side or toward the back of a floured surface, and brush each one with melted butter. Just before beginning to shape and bake these four breads, repeat with the second half of the dough
  8. Dust one end of a peel, or the back of a baking sheet that you will use as a peel, very lightly with flour or semolina or cornmeal. Place one risen ball of dough on your work surface and press and push it out with your fingertips to a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter (do not turn over). Set it aside and repeat with a second ball of dough. Go back to the first and push it out with your fingertips to a larger oval, nearly 9 inches by 8 inches, you can also pick it up, drape it on the back of your hands, and stretch it gently by pulling your hands apart slightly
  9. Place the bread near the end of the peel (or baking sheet) and pull on the edge of the bread nearest the end of the peel to make a more pointed oval or teardrop shape. If you wish, sprinkle 8 to 10 nigela seeds or a scant ½ tsp sesame seeds over the top. Transfer the bread onto the hot baking stone or tiles, as close to one side of the oven as possible. Close the oven door quickly, then repeat with the second bread, laying it beside the first
  10. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes, or until there are light golden spots on the top of the breads. Use a long-handled spatula or your peel to remove the breads from the oven. Be careful, they are VERY hot!. The bread will have a golden bottom crust and a rippled top surface with some golden spots on it (if it doesn't, don't worry too much, your bread should be cooking nicely inside). If you want an extra taste of butter, brush the breads again with melted butter just as they come out of the oven. Repeat with the remaining two risen balls of dough
  11. Stack the baked breads and wrap them in a cotton cloth to stay warm and soft while you bake the remaining four breads. Serve warm or at room temperature. The breads will stay warm for almost an hour after baking

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