One event I have been enjoying cooking for has been the Bread Baking Day. Every time a theme is announced it makes me go look for some new bread I can try my hand at baking. This is my third BBD event.
The first time the theme was “filled breads”. I made a bread with onion, tomato and bell pepper filling and decoratively shaped into a herringbone pattern. Then the next month’s theme turned out to be shaped bread! So I decided to make a flat decorative Onion Fougasse. That’s when this month’s theme turns out to be flat breads! So what’s going on? Seems like I am making this month’s theme the previous month, if you get my drift.
That aside, this month’s theme is flat breads. I realized I didn’t have to venture out of India. We have a thousand kinds (well, I’m exaggerating a bit) of flatbreads made out every kind of grain flour. I decided to make a naan or “naan bread” as it seems to be known in many parts of the world.
A naan is a yeasted flat bread made from wheat flour, traditionally in Northern India but today can be found in every part of the country and has become synonymous with Punjabi food. It is found in many avatars all over Central and South Asia so it must have come into India with early travelers or invaders.
A naan is cooked in a clay oven called a “tandoor” which can reach temperatures of about 500C. The naan is wet on one side and slapped onto the sides of the tandoor to cook till done. The taste of tandoor cooked or “tandoori” naans, or rotis is next to none. But a cast iron griddle on the stove top also works. Here’s how I make naans at home.