Cooking

The perfect homemade naans

12:45 PM

Last year I offered myself the wonderchef pizza pan for my birthday and said it was the best 2k I spent on a kitchen appliance in a long time, and I still mean it. I also mentioned something about cooking more than just pizzas in there, and by more I meant this :



These are homemade naans, and I never have been able to achieve the softness and elasticity required to make them tasty in my convection oven. Most recipes will tell you to preheat your oven to as high a temperature it can go to, but the main problem is that it applies to the overall heat of the oven when what you need to cook a perfect naan...or a perfect pizza base for that matter, is the surface heat. Naans and pizza have a lot in common, they are both bread that need to bake very quickly and do so when in contact with a scalding hot stone surface. Pizzas were and still are cooked in clay or brick ovens to have that traditional feel and taste. Naans are cooked in a tandoor, which is a vertical clay oven, and if you ever watched a TV show about Indian cooking you will see that they are smacked on the side of the tandoor oven in direct contact with the overheated clay and cook in minutes.

If you want to cook soft and elastic naans you need to replicate this cooking process as close to the traditional way as possible. In short you need to have a very hot cooking surface as opposed to an overall hot oven. If you still plan on using your oven, the best is to invest in a pizza stone, but be mindful that these will need around 40-45 minutes of preheating, that is a lot of energy waste for just one pizza or a couple of naans, not to mention that pizza stones might not even be available in India. You can as an alternative use a baking tray and preheat it for about that long too, but again that is a lot of energy you are going to waste that way, not to mention making it really long to get these naans done. Which is why most people will order them around here, the problem is that many restaurants do make the a bit chewy, and they are almost always meant for immediate consumption, and of course you get no control over the amount of oil and butter used in them.

So I quickly figured out that my pizza pan being good at making pizzas it could just bake naans equally well, and I was right! the only difference between the two is that I can flip a naan to roast them on both side! a thing you obviously can't do with a pizza. And here is my pan in action :



As you can see I already flipped it at this point! and it still is bubbling. Contrary to the method to make a pizza in there, you need to set the temp to high immediately and let it heat, then throw in a naan once it is hot, naans will bubble in seconds, but not roast as quickly as the pizza does. Once the side in contact with the hot surface is cooked, flip it and grill the other side, you will approximatively spend two minutes per naans. The one I did that day were plain ones! but you can make them buttery by brushing melted butter in them as soon as the naan is out of the pan.

And here is my naan recipe, which does not use any yeast but baking powder instead: 4 cups white flour (maida), 1 heaped tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp soda bicarb, 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp plain yogurt.

Mix all the ingredient Ina bowl and add a little water to form a smooth elastic dough, then rub your dough ball with oil to coat it and let it rest for one hour in a dish covered with a towel. Then roll dough into flat rounds, which will need to be as thin as you can make them (chapati thin), they will puff and rise while cooking so do not worry about them not being soft and puffy rolling them that flat. Then throw them on the hot pizza pan as explained previously. This recipe will yield you about 8 naans, you can half the recipe to make less of them of course. And it goes without saying that you can add herbs and garlic flakes to the dough while preparing it to make flavoured naans.

Last but not least, if you don't have a pizza pan like the one I own, I heard and read many successful stories of people being able to make naans in a heavy skillet on the stove, preferably a cast iron one, so you could try experimenting with that too.





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4 comments

  1. Chaiacupoflife.com2:20 PM

    Great idea. Who would have thought a pizza pan could make naan?! My mil makes great naan at home, but I have never been successful at it!

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  2. I would never have thought of it before getting this pizza pan, but since pizzas are very similar to naans it was worth a try. If you don't have a pizza pan, give it a try in a very hot skillet on the stove, you can cover it with a lid to preserve some of the moisture like the pizza maker does.

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  3. Rayya1:02 AM

    dear cyn, i bought this product bt find it useless, may b im not using it in a proper way.. whenever i cooked pizza (followed ur procedure) bt always find abottom burned dough with cold topping.. is there anything we should use like baking sheet or a alumimium foil to prevent bottom dough from burning.. waitning for reply :)

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  4. I'll refer you to the post on pizza to know how to use it properly. This pan is made for Italian pizza stile! the topping will not roast! but if the pan is used the proper way the topping will heat. First it should never be used with a precooked base, you need to make your dough from scratch as the pan heats quickly. Then for pizza you need to first put the heat at 140-180 degree for the base to cook gently and only put the heat to max toward the end and switch off the pan the instant the smell of toasted dough become strong

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