Baking with Julia – Oasis Naan

I am really trying to focus on naan right now, but I have this habit of watching movies on Netflix on my iPad while I cook/bake and I made the mistake of putting on Sleepless in Seattle and seriously there is a reason this movie is a classic. I have seen it at least a half a dozen times and it is still totally engrossing. It it just a perfect early to mid-nineties mix of actors, writing, and directing that will always be one of those movies that makes you feel. Like really feel something. It’s pretty magical. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like Tom Hanks? I mean have you ever met someone who has said, ” I hate Tom Hanks” ? No, and if you have, they were probably an ass. That’s a ridiculous thing to say. I mean I’m not saying I’m in love with him and he’s my favorite or anything. I just feel like as a child of the late eighties and nineties he is just so comforting to me, comforting enough that I am willing to forget/forgive some of his latter day sins (ahem, The Ladykillers, The Da Vinci Code, etc).

But anyway, back to the naan. When I found out I was chosen to host this recipe I immediately got pretty nervous. It’s a lot of pressure to think that people will be counting on me for at the very least a good pic and probably something meaningful and worthwhile to say about naan. Being a lifelong small-town Midwesterner I haven’t had that much opportunity to sample Indian cuisine. I think I’ve had naan two times in my life, but it’s got flour and yeast so I’m good. Bread is definitely my friend. The pics above are from the first batch I made the day I found out about my hosting gig. I went totally by the book except that I didn’t have any caraway seeds at work so they were left off. One of my friends who spent an extended period of time in India had one and gave it a pretty rave review. Considering it was the same guy who said my soda bread tasted like medicine, I was pretty stoked. Since I’m counting that as my practice batch, the one I made today is my real shot at naan and I am pretty pleased with it. I decided to try something a little different and did half the batch with salt & pepper & green onion and half with a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Trust me to make something sweet if it’s at all possible.

So basically they taste like an Auntie Annie’s Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel from the mall and they are awesome. I still sprinkled some fleur de Sel on the cinnamon sugar ones to give them a little pop and it was definitely a good idea.

But let’s go back to the beginning. I mixed up the dough and left it to rise in my very favorite Red Wing stoneware mixing bowl (thanks Daddio!) and I have to say that I think I used the whole 6 cups of flour plus some during the kneading. When I put it to bed to rise, it looked like this:

And after about three hours of hanging out on my table while I did some housework (aka watched Strictly Ballroom while doing dishes and surfing the internet) it had become this nice pillowy ball of delight:

I used Bek’s pizza stone to bake them on and even though the directions in the book make it seem like you should be able to bake them all at once, that was pretty impossible. I’d say my naan were like 5 inches across and I had to bake them one at a time so they wouldn’t touch while baking. I guess I had thought they would be a little flatter but they all poofed kind of a lot in the oven.

These little flatbreads are the kind of thing that I could really make a meal out of. I will probably cook something for dinner tonight but I know that I’ll end up eating only a little of that and like 3 more pieces of naan. Since I’m one of the hosts for the week, the recipe for these little beauties follows. Enjoy!

Oasis Naan from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:

(Persian Naan dough)

- 2 ½ cups tepid water (80-90 degrees F)

- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

- 5-6 cups of bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

- 1 tablespoon salt

(Oasis Naan add-ons)

- 1 tablespoon coarse salt

- 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped (white and tender green parts only)

- 1 teaspoon cumin or caraway seeds

Put the water and yeast in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add 3 cups of the flour, about a cup at a time, stirring in one direction with a wooden spoon. Beat for 1 minute, or about 100 strokes, to develop the gluten. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and start adding the remaining flour, again about a cup at a time, stirring after each addition and then stirring until the dough is too stiff for you to work. You may not need to use it all.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it vigorously, adding more flour as necessary, until it is smooth and easy to handle, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to cover the entire surface with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature until it has more than doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Don’t worry if it goes longer – it will be just fine. If it’s more convenient you can put the bowl in the refrigerator and let the dough rise overnight; bring the dough to room temperature before continuing.

Center a rack in the oven and line it with quarry tiles or a baking stone, leaving a 1-inch air space all around. If you do not have tiles or a stone, place an inverted baking sheet on the oven rack. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Set aside a baker’s peel or dust a baking sheet with flour.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball; flatten each ball with lightly floured palms. Roll out the dough into circles about ¼ inch thick and 5 to 6 inches across and sprinkle with water. Each circle needs to be well pricked all over with the exception of a 1-2 inch border. Traditionally, this is done with a dough stamp, a round utensil with concentric circles of thin spikes. Alternatively you can use a roller pricker (aka pastry docker), the tines of a fork, or the pointy metal loop at the bottom of a whisk. Whatever you choose, you want to prick the dough with determination, flattening the center of each circle. Sprinkle each center with coarse salt, chopped scallions, and a pinch of cumin or caraway seeds.

Slide the breads onto the hot stone using a baker’s peel and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the tops start to color. Remove the breads and cool on a rack for about 5 minutes before wrapping them in a cotton towel. These are best served warm.

The breads are best eaten shortly after they’re baked, but they’ll keep wrapped in a towel for about a day. For longer storage, wrap the breads airtight and freeze for up to a month. Keep the breads in their wrappers while they thaw at room temperature and then warm them for a few minutes in a 400 degree F oven before serving.

Contributing bakers: Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid

Tom Hanks & Hooch definitely think you should make some naan.

53 thoughts on “Baking with Julia – Oasis Naan

  1. I have tried nann and the one thing that helped mine (and my pita bread) was to use a cast iron pan. Add a little water to the pan just before putting in the dough. It just made it puff up all nice and big.
    I will have to try this recipe next.

    Love Tom Hanks…..

  2. Maggie, AsIAlways say – another winner! Very well done. You are getting very good at taking the pictures that explain what you want.
    Love DAD naan naan all the way home!

  3. Sleepless in Seattle is one of my favorite movies. I’m definitely going to have to watch it again soon, when the husband is not around. He’s not a big fan. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, right. Naan! It looks great! I love the cinnamon sugar idea. It was a lot of bread, so it lent itself to making variations. Good job, Maggie!

  4. I’m late to the twd naan party, but after reading your post I guess I’ll join on. Better late than never! Looks good! Tom Hanks is classic. Good to bake to as well.

  5. Strickly Ballroom is one of my faves. But getting back to the naan…yours looks geat and the idea of adding cinnamon and sugar is inspired.

  6. Maggie, thank you for hosting this week. You did a marvelous job with your post. The photos are wonderful and both of your Naan versions look delicious – nice idea with the cinnamon sugar there!

  7. I am completely unable to do any sort of housework without the TV on… I’m so glad I’m not alone. This looks super! I make bread all the time (I’m debating some whole wheat pita for lunch as I type…) but I’ve never tried naan. Loving the cinnamon & sugar!

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  9. I wish I had medecines that tasted like Soda bread!! Please ask your friend to tell us, where he gets his medecines from :-)
    Thank you so much for hosting – you did a great job!

  10. I had to say this, for fear of being labeled an ass, but I’ve been known to say that I hate Tom Hanks. He strikes me as a condescending, pompous prat. Don’t mind him back at the beginning of his career, when he was goofy, but post-Private Ryan, he started taking himself waaaay too seriously. I hope you’ll forgive me. haha.

    Your naan looks awesome, though, and I looove the idea of the cinnamon sugar. Come to mama!

    • haha I could never call you an ass. I mostly love early Tom Hanks if I really think about it – Splash, Big, Turner & Hooch, Sleepless in Seattle, etc. But if you haven’t seen Road to Perdition, that’s pretty amazing too and definitely one of my favorite movies, but that has to do more with the cinematography and the intense blueness of Paul Newman’s eyes than Tom Hanks. I guess I was just feeling saucy the other day when I wrote my post. :)

  11. My Naan is a work in progress. But a delicious work at that! Our favorite watch over and over movie is While You Were Sleeping–love it especially when the little boy falls off his bike. I think my kids reran that part about 100 times!!
    Great TWD/BWJ recipe.

  12. On this one, Maggie, Ei is wrong! wrong! wrong! Tom Hanks is terrific and I’m quite impressed, after the Burt remark (great recovery in your Reply to me) that you would use Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in the same sentence! I was so pleased you were hosting this week and wanted to support you. Unfortunately, my husband, who is in a Memory Care Unit and receiving wonderful care from Hospice, is deteriorating rapidly and I’ve been a bit distracted lately. My question??? I plan to make Naan this wk-end (I have marching orders to “maintain” my routine) and am wondering if I can Post late or will I be blocked? Your Naan looked good – don’t know what they’re thinking in India, if the cinnamon/sugar addition would go over well, but it absolutely works for me.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your husband Mary. I hope baking the naan will be relaxing and fun for you. As for being blocked, I didn’t even know that happened. I think I’ve seen people post their link several days after “the day” so I don’t think it’ll be an issue. I think people of all ages admire Paul Newman – he was a stone cold fox! :)

    • I think the rule is that to remain “active” you have to post 1 of the 2 recipes each month. I don’t think they’re real sticklers about the time.

  13. I like nann you did a wonderful job.

    Regarding Tom Hanks, he is a weakness to me, I don’t know how many time I have seen sleepless in Seattle, you got a mail , castaway etc.

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  15. Great job! Your naan look like they came out perfectly.
    The jury is out with me on Tom Hanks. I like him in some stuff, but he kind of lost me on Castaway (Wilson…..)

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  18. what a great idea to “make it a sweet” also! :) I love Sleepless in Seattle too! I sent a copy to a guy friend in college on the other side of the world and we watched it while talking on the phone the entire time! It was awesome! How fun to watch a movie while baking! I would probably mess up a lot of my baking if I did that! LOL!

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  20. Yay late 80’s and early 90’s movies, they are the best! Your naan look beautiful and I totally put cinnamon and sugar on some of mine too! They were very yummy!

  21. I still remember the first time I saw Sleepless in Seattle. It is a great movie. Your bread looks perfect – I like the cinnamon sugar idea. Thanks for hosting!

  22. Your naan looks wonderful! Loved the blog…thanks for hosting this recipe!! :) I wish I had thought of doing a cinnamon sugar version…I think we would have enjoyed that a lot more!! Next time :)

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