Back to the once-a-week Amazing Race-esque world bread scavenger hunt. This time we go to Herat, Afghanistan for another tasty flatbread. I now own a real pizza stone and a bread peel thanks to my birthday, and this recipe tested them both. What a vast improvement over the Uighur naan from China! This flatbread is savory and soft AND, to counteract the lipid collateral damage incurred over the past week, 100% whole wheat! Now I am hoping my friend who just returned from teaching in India will come over and sample some, offering the critique of her expert naan palate! Welcome home Susan!
Afghan Home-Style Naan
Flatbreads and Flavors
2 tsp yeast (or use my sourdough starter method)
1/2 c warm water
1 c plain yogurt
1 c boiling water
5-6 c whole wheat flour
2 T oil (safflower or olive are best)
2 tsp salt
Combine the yeast and water in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the boiling water and the yogurt and let cool till it’s just warm about not hot (so you don’t kill the yeast). Add the yogurt to the yeast, then stir in 3 cups of the flour. Stir for 2 minutes in the same direction to develop the gluten, then cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes or longer.
Stir in the oil and salt, then add enough flour to make a nice dough and knead until it’s smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat a baking stone on the lowest rack of the oven to 450. Take all the other oven racks out of the oven. Punch down the dough and divide into 6-8 pieces, depending on how large you want the breads to be. Roll out one round into a circle or oval or rectangle as you like about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Slash the top of the round with a sharp knife (try not to cut all the way through) and make a pretty sunshine pattern with 1-inch-slashes to keep it from pocketing and slide or slap onto the hot stone. Cook till beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Cool on rack.
5 stars! This bread goes great with chicken tikki masala—one of our favorites around here. An unexpected pleasure from this project was all the designs you can make with the slashes. At first I just did the “sunshine” or “star” the recipe recommended.
Then I rolled a naan that looked just like the state of Minnesota! So I put a star where Rochester would be:
Then, I decided to send secret messages to KP through the naan:
Imagine the potential for naan art! Eating this bread makes me want to reread Kite Runner or A Thousand Secret Suns while wearing long colorful dresses and bangles.