Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Thursday, January 21, 2010


My plea for Naan assistance has been answered and the recipe card slot for delicious Naan has been filled! Thank you, UncleCharlieDad, for finding the recipe, daring me to make it, braving the 550ยบ oven for me, and enjoying the results with me.

I got a call yesterday from my father-in-law, the aforementioned donor of Naan info., asking me to prep some dough during the afternoon in hopes of a second, more successful try at Naan pizzas for dinner. He had been previously convinced that Naan would make a fantastic base for a pizza to emulate the Neapolitan crust my husband and I came to love at Pizzeria Charlie in our four-month hometown of Orvieto, Italy (Since moving back from Orvieto, we have discovered 2 Amys pizza in NW Washington, DC. This place offered my husband and me a seamless transition back into Stateside life after our at-least-once-a-week visits to Pizzeria Charlie, only a block from our monastery home. Thank God for 2 Amys!). So, ready to bake, I went to the link he had provided in response to my request for Naan recipes (Found at the bottom of my very first blog entry about Caprese Salad). I had watched this entertaining YouTube Video starring Chef Sanjay Thumma when Dad originally posted it, but viewing it as an instructional guide to actually making Naan was quite a trip. I encourage you to watch the video when you attempt this recipe because his explanations are fun and interesting. BUT, I also encourage you to have my instructions close at hand because he leaves a few things out like, you know, measurements.

Listen to me. The girl who hates measuring complaining about no measurements! I'm growing!

Here it is. My favorite bread of all time—now conveniently make-able in my own home—Naan.

(Please bear in mind that most of these measurements are estimates, based upon the visuals from Chef Thumma and my successful batch yesterday)
  • 2 lbs bread flour (Chef Thumma used all purpose flour, but I really liked the results with bread flour. Also, I determined the total flour only after I had liquid left over when my first bowl-full of flour became sticky dough. So, I poured another bowl of flour and used up the liquid instead of discarding it. This is how much I love Naan.)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 packet quick-rise yeast
  • 1 heaping spoonful of sugar (I used a literal tea spoon, not a measuring utensil, just like Chef Thumma)
  • 1 slightly-less heaping spoonful of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (whichever percentage fat your prefer)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Place most of Flour in large bowl, reserving about 3 oz. for later use.
Set both aside.
Pour Warm Water into medium bowl.
Add Yeast to water and gentle incorporate with a few swirls of the fingers.

Allow yeast and water to sit for a minute or two while you gather the other ingredients (Isn't yeast an interesting thing? I still hate having to wait for it, but it's an interesting thing nonetheless).
Stir Sugar and Salt into warm water mixture.
Add Milk to warm water mixture and stir gently.
Add Egg and beat gently until it is mostly broken-up and incorporated into other liquids.
Add 1/4 cup of the Vegetable Oil and stir in gently (Sorry there are no pictures of this process; it wasn't very pretty and I was too busy panicking about his detail-less preparation! SIDE NOTE: Words that end in "c" normally, but add a "k" in different forms are some of my favorite words. NERD ALERT!).
Create a well in your pile of flour and, in several small installments, add the warm liquid, mixing gently and slowly with your hand. It will be very sticky.

Once a (very sticky) dough has been formed, drizzle the remaining oil over the dough, COVER, and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.

Once rested, remove cover and turn the dough over a few time to distribute the oil that hasn't seeped in.
Separate the dough into 5 or 6 even sections by covering your fingers and each portion you are extracting with the reserved flour. This will remove the stickiness and allow you to shape the balls of dough into smooth rounds.
Place the rounds onto a floured surface.

Cover the rounds with a towel and allow to rise for 1-2 hours. I know this is a long span, but I was done with this recipe much sooner than I thought I would be, so mine sat from 4:30pm to 6:30pm when the gentleman came to help me turn these into pizzas! They almost doubled in size during that period, so give them space to expand.

**I did do one of these rounds as a plain Naan before the gentleman got home, so that's the picture you see at the top (I forgot to take a picture before I dove into this buttered goodness . . . sorry about the bite mark).
To accomplish the plain Naan, I used Chef Thumma's second method of cooking: Stove Top. You can also cook it in a very hot oven (as high as it will go) on a non-stick cookie sheet, flipping once to cook evenly (see his video).
I stretched the dough out as evenly as I could and placed it on top of the largest mesh splatter-guard I could find.
This I placed directly over the flame of a gas burner.
Always moving the mesh in a circular motion over the flame, the bottom of the Naan began to brown.
I flipped the Naan and did the same thing on the other side.
Once it had cooled down a bit, I buttered the top and sprinkled it with a tiny bit of kosher salt.
It was so good I forgot to stop for a picture, as I stated above.

Then the boys came home! And this is what ensued (To see instructions for the preparation and cooking of homemade pizzas, see my entry from January 11, 2010):

Mozzarella, Fresh Tomato, & Basil Naan Pizza

Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Sausage, and Rosemary Naan Pizza

Mozzarella, Green Pepper, Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Basil Naan Pizza

Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Basil Naan Pizza

We also did one as a Garlic & Butter Naan, following Chef Thumma's instructions for oven-baking. The flavor was astounding!

All-in-all, a pretty successful day of baking, I would say.

NOTE: If you try any of these recipes or think of a better way to do anything, please tell me! Comments are the most exciting part of my day.


  1. Ummm... wow? Can Mel and I move in with you?

  2. I'm definitely going to try to make these! Yum. (Is it totally cheating if I try to modify the recipe so my bread machine can make the Naan dough?)

    Oh, and is your camera completely covered in flour and sticky dough? I'm trying to imagine you taking pictures and baking at the same time...it must be frantic, and I can't imagine there's time for hand-washing!

  3. Well, making a half batch worked fine! I must say that Chef Thumma (hilarious) has much better technique, though. I had difficulty getting the naan to just stretch by flipping it back and forth from hand to hand.

    I gave up one spatter guard to the stove fire god..wouldn't recommend that method unless you really didn't care if your guard survived. My naan stuck to it, burned and while scraping it off to try and save some, pulled the screen out of the rim...i think this one had the better flavor though. Oven method was simple and effective.

    I have to go buy my favorite one again to taste the difference...I think a tad more sugar might be the key. Can't wait to try the pizzas now.

    By the way, while waiting for your oven to get as hot as it possibly can, mix up the Family Classic Gingersnaps and bake a batch - yum, yum, and mmmmmmm-yum! (save half the dough in the freezer for midnight snacking forays)

  4. Fantastic! I'm so glad you tried it. I was thinking maybe sweetening with honey might be good with Mr. Thumma's naan. I'll have to try it.

    P.S. Intermission Ginger Snaps are a fabulous idea.