Naan 5 Millet Leavened Flat Bread
Nan 5 Bajra Aur Maida Flat Bread
Millet and corn being my favourite flours, I had planned to make it for a while and finally got around to it today 1st (Dec. 2007). It came out quite good, try it! I have mixed plain flour with millet, instead of strong white flour or bread flour as it is sometimes called. This is because most people in India do not have access to bread flour. Bread flour simply has a higher gluten content than ordinary flour. Indian white flour (maida), may have a higher gluten content anyway, since the wheat is grown in a hot climate, in short seasons. Gluten makes the bread rise well.
To make Naans soft, the dough needs to be soft, because the steam from water makes the dough rise better. Just like chaptties, slacker your dough, better they rise and softer they are. So, the consistency should be as slack as you can manage to roll. Indian chefs often do it by hand and do not use a rolling pin. For this, the dough has to be really soft and pliable.
Too much yeast will also make the naan rise fast and then collapse. In fact, if you have time, use even less yeast that in the recipe and let the dough rise naturally. Most people in India do not use yeast at all, they let yoghurt and natural yeast do the work.
Oven temperatures of domestic ovens can not match a tandoor. Pre-heat your oven fully to maximum, before you cook naans. I cook them on a HOT pan these days. The naans you make at home can not be like tandoor cooked naans, made by people who do this every day.
This recipe is loosely based on the Millet bread recipe in Marjie Lambert's ˜The Bread Machine Book".
Makes approximately 10.
250 gm. plain flour or maida
50 gm. Bajra or millet flour
1 1/2 level tsp. dry yeast or instant yeast*. Use less yeast if you have more time for the dough to rise naturally. Make sure that the packet is fresh. Once it is opened, the leftover yeast will last for only 3 months or so.
150 ml. hand warm water (not hot)
2 tbsp. active natural yoghurt (dahi)
1 1tbs. honey or sugar
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
2-3 tbsp. flour, for dusting during rolling out
1 tbsp. nigella seeds(nigella sativa)/kalonji/kalaunji or poppy seeds/khus-khus or sesame seeds/til
3-4 tbsp. ghee or butter (optional)
*Activating Dry yeast: Mix honey or sugar and water in a jug, sprinkle yeast and keep aside for 15-20 minutes, until it looks frothy. This is now activated yeast.
Instant yeast does not need to be activated.
Sift flour and salt in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add yoghurt, nigella seeds and oil or ghee.
Now make a soft dough using required amount of liquid from the warm milk-water-yeast mix. Don't be afraid to add a little more or a little less water than the recipe states. Add a little at a time, so that you don't end up with very runny dough either. Knead it well, until it makes a smooth ball.
Cover with an oiled cling film and leave it to 'mature' in a warm place, for 4-6 hours. It may take less in hot weather. The dough should rise to approximately double. You can make dough in a bread maker too. Simply place all ingredients and switch to the Dough setting.
Knead the dough again. Allow it to double in size again.
Divide the dough into 10 portions, rolling them into balls. Keep covered with a moist cloth.
Heat either a tava/griddle or heat a grill/oven to maximum, leaving the tray under the grill/oven, to heat to maximum, around 225°C. Naans placed on cold tray will stick and you will get stiff/hard/leathery naans!
Dust and roll out one ball at a time, into to an oblong/tear shape, one end narrower than the other. Roll out 3-4 naans at a time. You can roll out the next batch of naans while the previous batch is baking.
To cook on a griddle or a heavy bottomed pan or tava, place 1-2 naans on a heated griddle at a time. When a few blisters appear, turn over. After about 30-40 seconds, turn over again and gently coax it to balloon up by pressing with a kitchen towel. It should be well cooked, covered in light to dark brown spots on both sides.
Serve hot, with a curry of choice. Crisp and hot naans can also be eaten with a little cheese and salad and a hot soup. Tiny naans can be served with dips.
Oven cooking: Place 3-4 naans at a time on the pre-heated tray. Place the tray under the grill or in the oven. The naans will puff up fairly quickly. Turn over and cook the other side. When ready, they have a few brown blisters scattered on each surface. Remember that the tray needs to be re-heated fully before you cook the next batch.
Whether you brush it with ghee or not, is your choice, but millet naans do taste better with butter on them.
I find it easier to cook them on a griddle/tava.
Additions to the dough to give different flavours:1) chopped mint. 2) A mix of chopped onions, green chillies, ginger, garlic. 3) Other herbs of choice
Experiment with other fillings/toppings. To stuff a nan, roll out the ball, place a heaped teaspoon of the stuffing in the centre, pull edges in, to make a ball again. Continue as in plain nan.
Kalonji (nigella/onion seeds), can be spelled as Kalowunji on some packets.