Naan (indian bread)

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Serves 4-6

The ingredients for sourdough starter:

125 ml (1/2 Cup) stone ground spelt flour

½ tsp raw honey

125 ml (1/2 Cup) water

The additional ingredients:

125 ml (1/2 Cup) almond milk or cows milk

1 ½ tbsp melted ghee or coconut oil

1 tsp honey

½ tsp onion seeds

¾ tsp salt or to taste

1 tsp baking powder

375 – 500 ml (1 ½  – 2 Cups) stone ground spelt flour or as needed

The cooking method:

Make the sourdough starter by mixing the flour, honey and water in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Cover loosely and let sit, undisturbed, in a draft-free, warm place from 12 to 36 hours until froth and air bubbles appear on the top and the starter swells up a little. If, at any moment, the starter turns black or imparts a foul odor, an unwanted bacterium has entered and the starter must be discarded.

When the starter has fermented, add the milk, ghee, honey, onion seeds and salt. Combine the baking powder and 375 ml (1 ½ Cup) flour. Add it gradually into the liquid while mixing with your hand. Add flour as long as it takes to make soft dough. Knead it until it leaves the sides of the bowl and your hands. It should still stick a little bit to your hands but, at the same time, you should be able to shake it off. Lightly smear the dough with ghee or oil, cover with a plastic wrap or clean towel, and set aside to rest for 2 to 4 hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven at the highest possible temperature. I baked the naan in 275 C (527 F). Place a pizza-stone, fine wire mesh or tray to be preheated as well.

In the meanwhile, divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal portions. Six will make a bit bigger and eight smaller naans. Roll them into smooth balls with the help of flour. Set aside and cover.

Traditionally, naan has a tear shape. If you are able to roll them like that, go ahead. You can also make them round or oval. You can pat the balls down with your palms and fingers, or you can use a rolling pin. Use flour to prevent sticking. A rolling pin will produce an even thickness and the whole bread will puff in the oven. Handmade bread will have air pockets but may not fully puff if the thickness is not even.

The breads should not be very thin; else they will burn and not puff.

Take out the preheated stone, mesh or tray and place one or as many breads on it as it fits. Bake in the upper third portion of the oven for 3-4 minutes or until the breads puff up and are covered with brown spots. It’s up to your taste how dark you want them to be.

Remove and brush the breads with ghee or coconut oil. Wrap them in a clean tea towel. They don’t store well and are meant to be eaten immediately. Thankfully, they are so delicious that it shouldn’t be a problem!

Naan-original recipe with spelt

4 cups spelt flour (or you can do mixture of spelt, buckwheat and brown rice flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups  full-fat yogurt. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

Stir in the yogurt till the dough is too stiff for a spoon, then knead it in the bowl till it holds together well, adding more flour if necessary.

Turn it out on a floured surface and continue kneading for about 5 minutes till the dough feels smooth and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel, to rest for an hour or longer.

Then follow the steps above

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