Monday, June 25, 2012

Sourdough Garlic Naan

Ever have one of those things that you plan on doing, but because of one small detail it doesn't get done?  This post is like that.

I've wanted to post this recipe for a long time.  It's a recipe that's near and dear to my heart because I reserve it for special occasions, like my anniversary.  It's a part of my Indian feast.  But because I make it only for special occasions, as part of a larger feast, I don't have many opportunities to take pictures.

Now that someone is asking for my naan recipe, however, I've decided to post it sans photos and come back in a few weeks (after my anniversary, of course) to update it.

Sourdough Garlic Naan
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup living whey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 Tablespoons melted lard, coconut oil, or butter
2 Teaspoons garlic paste
approximately 2 cups flour

Before we really get started on the recipe, let's pause for a minute and consider the ingredients.  Your sourdough starter does not have to be at the peak of its activity.  Heck, it doesn't even need to be fed, for that matter.  If you have a some-what active starter and are considering discarding 1 cup during a feeding, you might want to consider making naan with the discarded starter.

Your whey needs to be alive.  Do not use powdered whey.  It is highly processed and will not be useful in this recipe.  Do not use whey which has been heated.  After a certain temperature the beneficial bacteria dies.  Instead use whey from making yogurt, unheated cheese, or (my personal favorite) dairy kefir.  If you do not have whey just substitute milk.

Use a salt that is colored.  Salt is white when it comes from the lab.  In nature it has many colors, from reds and pinks to grays and blacks.  By choosing a salt that is colored, you can be sure that you are buying an unprocessed salt.  Don't be fooled (as I was) by a label like, "sea salt."  Almost all salt is from the sea, but that doesn't mean that the minerals weren't stripped.

Finally, do give lard a chance.  It makes the best breads, believe it or not.  If you don't have access to a good lard, coconut oil and butter make excellent choices, as well.

Mix sourdough starter, whey, baking powder, salt, cumin, garlic, and lard.  Slowly add the flour.  Depending on your flour and the moisture of your sourdough starter, you may need more or less than the two cups.  Adding too much flour will result in a dry, crumbly mess.  Not enough flour with yield a sticky mess that is impossible to roll out.  Find your happy medium.  Use your hands to mix the dough so you can get a feel of where you are at.  Cover with a towel, and let rest 2-3 hours until it rises slightly.  

Transfer to a lightly floured surface.  I had been told that amateurs add too much flour and end up with soured bricks, so I was afraid to flour my surface.  After making the recipe repeatedly I discovered that .the high humidity in my area calls for extra flour.  Now I'm not afraid to do what works for me.  

Knead for a minute or two until smooth, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands.  

Preheat a heavy skillet (let's hear it for cast iron!) over medium-high heat.  Divide the dough into 8 balls.  Roll the dough with a rolling pin or flatten with the hands to 1/4 inch thick rounds (or oblongs).  Brush with water on one side and place water-side-down in skillet.  It will stick.  Cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the dough is bubbling and it no longer sticks.  For those cooking on electric, flip and cook the other side.  For those cooking on gas, begin the next piece in the skillet and take the original piece to another burner, light it and cook over an open flame.  (A totally cool experience that should not be passed up!)  Hold it with kitchen or barbecue tongs and keep it moving constantly for 30 seconds or until charred.  

Top with melted butter.

I rarely just use a recipe.  That's not how God wired me.  Instead I mess with a recipe until I can get it to submit to my will.  These are the recipes that inspired me, the ones I cobbled together into what you see above.

Linked with Fat Tuesday, Monday ManiaTraditional TuesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, and Healthy 2Day Wednesdays

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