Afghan Homestyle Naan

Afghan Homestyle Naan

2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)

1 cup boiling water

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided

2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil

2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons sesame seeds

Note: You will need a large bread bowl, a medium-sized bowl, pizza stone, a baker’s peel or another large baking sheet, a rolling pin and a razor blade or sharp knife.

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Place the yogurt in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the boiling water. Let cool to tepid (105 degrees to 115 degrees). Stir the yogurt mixture into the yeast mixture. Stir in 3 cups of the flour, 1/2cup at a time. Then stir for 2 minutes in the same direction: You now have a sponge. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the oil and salt onto the sponge. Mix in enough of the remaining flour, 1/2cup at a time, to form a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if the dough is sticky, about 10 minutes.

Wash out and lightly oil the large bowl. Add the dough, turning to coat the entire surface. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Punch the dough down. Divide into 6 pieces. Using lightly floured hands, flatten each piece on a lightly floured work surface into a 4- to 5-inch round or oval. Cover the rounds with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly flour a baker’s peel or the backside of a large baking sheet. Working with one dough round at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface until the dough begins to stretch (keep the remaining dough covered). Brush the flour from the work surface and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds onto the work surface. Lay the dough on the seeds and roll out into a 6-by-10-inch rectangle. Turn the dough over. Using a razor blade or the tip of a sharp knife, cut five 1-inch-long slits evenly spaced around the dough, radiating out from the center like sun rays or flower petals.

Slide the dough onto the baker’s peel or prepared sheet. Then slide the dough onto the quarry tiles or preheated baking sheet and bake until the top begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bread to a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and sesame seeds.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

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