Sourdough Naan Breads

These naan breads are delicious. This is a great recipe if you want to use up your discard from feeding your sourdough starter. They take minutes to make and can be topped with your own delicious toppings. I like to make an infused garlic oil to brush over the top before they get cooked, this gives them a lovely mild fresh garlic flavour and also helps with keeping toppings on such as nigella seeds, fresh coriandar or ground cumin on top. I sometimes make a peshwari paste also to go with the dough, this makes them sweet and nutty.

Naan breads should be light, soft and full of flavour. More often than not the naan breads you can buy in UK supermarkets are bland and (in my opinion) like cardboard. My first experience of eating freshly made naan breads was in Japan. They were peshwari naan, soft, light, fluffy, sweet with raisins, nuts and freshly drizzled honey.

The best naan breads i have ever eaten were in India. We travelled through south India, tasting delights. Making naan breads, were an everyday occurrence. So when I returned from our travels, shop bought naan were never the same to me.

To make these naan bread you will need:

100g un fed starter

270g Strong white bread flour

tspn salt

40g coconut milk

95ml water

A handful of chopped coriander (Optional toppings)

Nigella seeds (Optional toppings)

Combine all of the ingredients together and knead until a dough is formed. If you have a dough mixer you can use that, simply set your dough hook to knead for 4 minutes. If doing by hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and forms into a dough which you can shape. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with bees wrap (or cling film) and leave to prove in the fridge for up to three days. When you want to make your naan breads take your dough out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. This helps with shaping the naan breads as the dough will be easier to pull. While you are waiting, make the garlic infused oil by crushing a clove of garlic in a pestle and mortar and adding sunflower or vegetable oil. Make sure your garlic clove has been crushed properly or you will get burnt bitter garlic on your naan bread when you cook it. Now heat up a heavy based saucepan or pot. A casserole dish or a dutch oven work really well. Heat up on the hob lid on on a medium heat. This part of the cooking process takes practice as if you over heat the pot the naan will simply burn but if you add the naan while the pot is not hot enough you won't get that charred cooked naan bread you want. When you are ready, cut off a portion of your dough and stretch it out to the shape you would like. I find a rolling pin can help to create the thickness I like. Its important for naan breads to be thick enough that they can bend and mop up the curry sauce but not too thick so as to not cook all the way through. Place your dough into the hot pan, brush with garlic oil and sprinkle your toppings on. Replace the lid and allow to cook for up to two minutes. When you put the lid back on this allows the steam (created by the hydration of the dough) to make the bubbles on the naan bread. When it is cooked on one side flip back over and replace the lid for another two minutes or until cooked. You are looking for a dark cooked colour. Repeat with the remaining dough. I tend to make a selection of different toppings with different sizes. Smaller plain ones for the kids, larger ones for the big people!

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