Facing My Fear ~ Naan with Atta

yeastie beasties
fresh baking yeast

When I was 14 or 15, I flirted with becoming vegetarian. The original
Laurel’s Kitchen became a favorite read. It sounded so organic and bohemian — a world away from my rather mundane, sort-of-middle-class suburban teenage life: families shopping at co-ops and working in community gardens, their spare time spent in the kitchen, sprouting everything imaginable and compiling tables of essential amino acids, etc. It’s been years since I’ve seen my old paperback copy, but I still recall one part in which the author described a yoga class where fragrant loaves of homemade bread magically appeared under select seats, still warm in their recycled coffee-can pans, bagged in brown paper. I collected empty coffee cans for awhile back then, preparing for all that fabulously healthy homemade bread I would be baking; alas that youthful dream was never realised. When it came right down to it, I was afraid to bake bread. I never laid a finger on the “yeastie beasties” (as fondly described in the book) until yesterday.

Like Sudah, of the lovely blog Samayal, I had wanted to make naan for some time (check out Sudah’s great-looking naan with chana masala here). A new little natural foods store opened down the street; finally I gathered my courage, bought some yeast, and decided to try. Coincidentally, I also settled on this recipe from Archana of Spicyana fame. I am not the world’s most organized cook… when the counters were cleared and the ingredients gathered, I discovered I did not have enough all-purpose flour. I did have a whole bag of atta, so my first foray into the land of yeast was going to be doubly experimental. Since I was already messing with the ingredients, I decided to try cutting back on the fat (still on my lo-cal mission), and substituted yogurt for half the ghee.

Naan with Atta
makes 8 small loaves, adapted from Spicyana

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c atta
1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2/3 c warm water

3 TB yogurt
1 TB melted ghee

Extra flour (either type) for kneading
Extra melted ghee for cooking

Topping for sprinkling, if desired

naan ingredients
making the naan dough

I followed Archana’s excellent instructions pretty much to the letter:

In a small bowl, mix yeast and sugar with warm water until dissolved. Sift flours with salt into a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, yogurt, and melted ghee. Mix to form a soft dough. Take out to floured surface and knead for five minutes. Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to rise for one hour or until doubled in bulk (see note).

naan dough before and after rising
naan dough before and after rising

When dough has risen, take out onto a floured surface, punch down and knead a further five minutes. Taking lemon-sized balls, use your hands to flatten dough and form small loaves on floured work surface.

naans ready for baking
naan loaves ready for baking

Wipe grill pan with oiled paper towel and heat over medium heat. Set loaves
one or two at a time onto heated pan and bake 3-4 minutes, till they begin to rise. Dot the tops with melted ghee (add topping now, if desired) and turn, bake a further 2-3 minutes till browned and cooked through. Transfer to clean kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining loaves.

Serve naans warm with extra butter or ghee, if desired.

finished naans

warm naans, rescued from hungry children in time for one photo…

I was so happy with the way these turned out. Although my photos aren’t the greatest (photographing bread and bread dough is tough! I have a whole new respect for those who do it well…), the bread was gobbled up so fast I hardly had time to get any pictures at all. Yeast is not so frightening after all — as with most things in life, it’s fear of the unknown that is worst. I think I shall try more bread in the future.

Thanks Archana for the great recipe πŸ™‚

Note: In the middle of the hour-long rise called for, I decided to run out to the store. This turned into a couple of hours running errands. The dough sat at least three hours and seemed none the worse for wear.

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13 Comments »

  1. Luv2Cook said

    Hey Linda:

    The nans look delicious. I should probably conquer my fears too and bake up some naan soon.

    Give it a try, Sam — you can do it! πŸ™‚

  2. krithika said

    Naans look delicious.

    Thanks, Krithika!

  3. Naan looks so good linda…

    Hi Sudah, and thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Puspha said

    Looks so delicious.

    Thanks Pushpa — had some naans with your yummy soy chunks varuval πŸ™‚

  5. Arjuna said

    Great looking naans Linda! Your post is inspiring me to make my own naans at home.

    Thank you Arjuna — do give it a try — it was alot easier than I thought it would be πŸ™‚

  6. shynee said

    That’s quite a good effort linda…naans look good…

    Thank you Shynee!

  7. Monisha said

    Hi Linda –

    The Naans definetely look worth the time and effort, and are a great accompaniment to various curries and savoury dishes. Thank you for sharing !

    Thanks Monisha, glad you peeked in!

  8. Meena said

    Naans looks delicious linda…i gave a try twice before but i failed.But now agin i feel like trying once again.

    Three times is a charm, Meena, give it another try! Just peeked at your blog — tofu masala looks great! πŸ™‚

  9. vineela said

    hi Linda,
    Naan is happening in everyhouse.
    Thanks for the detailed pictures and i love the spirit you have to share recipes from your kitchen.
    lovely post.
    vineela

    Hi Vineela, I really enjoy cooking so it’s fun to have people to share that with — thank you!

  10. Archana said

    You always add a special touch of yours in whatever you do, i like you. Thank you for trying out the recipe Linda. Your naans look good.

    Hi Archana — thank you so much for your kind words, and for the delicious naans! Your gorgeous photo was what pushed me over the edge to try πŸ™‚

  11. menutoday said

    Hi Linda,
    Your naan looks so delicious.

    Thank you, MT πŸ™‚

  12. Asha said

    I tried quite a few times to bake Naans too, failed at first and then found the right oven temp, kind of flour etc. by trial and error!! Now I can make it with hot Pizza slab I bought just for that which heats like Tandoor (well, okay! not that hot) πŸ™‚

    Looks like you found your’s too !! Congratulations!!

    I thought about trying a stone too, Asha — since I had a grill pan I used that this time. Next time I will try your way with the stone. Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

  13. Shankari said

    Wow! The pic has come out well and so did the naan. Not everyone can make Naan and you have mastered it!

    I don’t know about ‘mastered’ Shankari — but I thank you for your kind words πŸ™‚

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