Freshly grilled flat bread is a very good thing, but freshly grilled whole wheat flat bread is mebbe just a wee, tiny bit better.
Well, better for you, anyway.
We’ve been trying to cut back on carbs, and trying to choose wisely when we have them, instead of just mindlessly stuffing hunks of bread or french fries in our mouths with every meal; and one of the things we’ve learned is that higher fiber, whole grain is the way to go when you’re thinking starch.
SO, why not see if that works with an Indian favorite?
•1 tsp yeast
•2 tsp sugar
•3/4 cup warm (100º) water
•3 tbsp buttermilk*
•2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•1-1/2 cup unbleached flour
•1/2 cup whole wheat flour
•1 tsp fine sea salt
•1/8 tsp baking powder
*No buttermilk? As always, no problem! Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup, then add enough milk to make one cup. Stir to blend, then let rest for five minutes. Voilà! Buttermilk!
Stir the yeast and one teaspoon of the sugar together with the warm water in a large container – a two-cup measure works a treat – and set aside for ten or 15 minutes until the mixture has a thick, foamy head.
Whisk together the flours, the second teaspoon of sugar, the salt, and the baking powder in the bowl of your stand mixer and set aside.
Add the buttermilk and olive oil to the yeast mixture, then add to the flour mixture and blend, with the dough hook attachment, at low speed until you have a very soft, very sticky dough.
Scrape down any dough stick to the sides of the bowl and add to the stick glob at the bottom, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm space for two to four (or five, no worries) hours, until the dough (still soft and sticky) has risen to about double its original size.
When you’re ready to make the naan, lightly flour a large board and your hands – I cannot stress enough how sticky this dough is gonna be – and divide the dough into six balls.
Roll each dough ball into a rough circle about 1/4 inch thick on the floured board and set aside while you prepare your pan.
Heat a pan or grill (cast iron works best) to the almost smoking stage over high heat.
Sprinkle a little bit of water over your hands, then pick up one of the dough circles and allow it to stretch out a bit as you lightly toss it between your hands.
Place the dough on the hot grill or pan and cook for a minute or two, until the dough puffs up a bit – don’t fret if the bottom of the dough gets blackened in spots, that’s what you want from naan.
Flip the dough and cook on the other side for a minute or so, until both sides are nicely blackened in spots and the naan is cooked through.
Transfer to a warm plate and slather with a bit of butter, then repeat with the rest of the dough.
I have to admit, I kinda prefer my all unbleached white flour version to this higher fiber bit, but this isn’t too, too bad; and adding the whole wheat flour is a small price to pay for enjoying this treat fresh off the grill. Of course, you could always play around a bit with the flour blend.
Rye flour naan, anyone?