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I have been to a few India Restaurants over the years and one of my favorite parts of the meal has been the Naan Bread.  I decided to find out more about Naan and see if I could make it just with sourdough since a couple of years ago I made some with wine yeast.  When I was reading up on Naan I found that it was a generic term for India flatbread and that it is made in neighboring countries as well.  I have been adjusting the formula for about four weeks and today it was really great.  My neighbor had a piece of it and said it better than the Naan in the restaurant.  I thought it was wonderful too.

the dough

 

IngredientMetricImperialBaker's Percentage
AP Flour 416 grams 14.68 oz 100.00%
Salt 8 grams 0.28 oz 1.92%
166% hydration Preferment 332 grams 11.72 oz 79.81%
Sugar 5 grams 0.18 oz 1.20%
Olive Oil 37 grams 1.31 oz 8.89%
Yoghurt 148 grams 5.22 oz 35.58%
One Large Egg 54 grams 1.91 oz 12.98%

Total Flour Weight: 416 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted.

The method: 

The starter is made in two builds from 60% hydration storage starter with 332 grams of 166% hydration preferment going into the dough.  All of the water for this bread is in the preferment.  The other nice fact about doing the preferment with the high hydration is the dough raises fast and doesn't get a lot of sourdough flavor.  I figured many years ago before packaged yeast Naan had to be made as a type of sourdough hopefully this is close to what they did.  To made the dough just mix all the ingredients together and let it raise up to double in its size.  The yoghurt and egg need to be beaten before they are added to the other ingredients.  I did no punching down or stretch and folds to the dough.  This is a flatbread so I didn't see a need to do that.  This ends up making a nice soft dough that my brain is working on to make other breads from but it is just wonderful to touch and work with.  Personally I think there is a pizza just wanting to be made from the dough.  I also imagine that the dough could be put in the fridge a few days and you could break off a piece and make a Naan when ever you wanted one.  There are a number of different ways you can cook the Naan but this Naan was cooked in a cast iron frying pan.  You can also bake it in your oven or in a Tandoor if you have one.  

When the dough has doubled in size turn it out on to a well floured surface.  Get flour on your hands and grab the dough and twist off a ball of dough.  You will have to learn what size of ball to twist off since this is what determines how big the Naan will be.  I made 11 Naans from my dough and think I could have made 12 if I had planned on it.  The dough is sticky where it is twisted off so roll it around in the flour so you can work with it.  Now start shaping the Naan into a flat round.  Naans are by tradition ovals but it was hard to make ovals and cook them in a frying pan.  Keep working the dough out making the round larger and larger.  I made my Naans about an 1/8" thick.  The frying pan heat was at 4.5 on my stove.  I saw directions that said not to have the frying pan smoking hot but I think I was just at the slightly smoking hot temperature.  The Naan cooks fairly fast.

The first Naan I used some spray oil in the pan and the rest no spray oil was added.  The Naan bubbles up as it cooks and you will just have to guess at the timing when to flip the bread over.  Naan in restaurants sometimes has little burn spots on it so I tried to cook it until it looked like that.  When you flip the Naan over I brushed melted butter onto the side that was just done.  You can form the next Naan to get ready to cook as the current Naan is cooking.  Cooking goes by pretty fast.

This is what I like about Naan.  It tastes great and it is very easy to make.  I could see having a bowl of this dough in the fridge just so you could make a quick fast bread when ever you wanted some bread to eat.  Best of all you can eat it hot you don't have to wait for it to cool down.

 

A large deep dish pizza made in a cast iron frying pan.

P1031828

 

the dough

IngredientMetricImperialBaker's Percentage
Flour 388 grams 13.7 oz 100.00%
175% hydration Preferment 601 grams 21.22 oz 154.90%
Salt 11 grams 0.39 oz 2.84%
Mozzarella Cheese 227 grams 8.00 oz 2.06%
Pizza Sauce 454 grams 16.00 oz 4.12%
Italian Sausage 454 grams 16.00 oz 4.12%
Pineapple Chunk 567 grams 20.00 oz 5.15%
Fresh Rosemary 10 grams 0.35 oz 2.58%
Olive Oil 20 grams 0.71 oz 5.15%
Parmesan Cheese 20 grams 0.71 oz 5.15%

 

Total Flour Weight: 388 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted.

The method: 

I start the preferemnet 24 hours before I want to make the dough.  Make 601 grams of preferment at 175% hydration.  The next day I add the flour and salt to the preferment.  This is placed in a covered bowl and allowed to proof.  When it has proofed long enough the dough is placed into the refridgerator to be used within a few days.  

The dough ball is placed in the middle of a 15" oiled cast iron frying pan.  I just then start flattening the dough out to the edge and up the sides of the frying pan.  I turn the oven on to 500°F when I start to make the pizza.  The oven is ready when I get the pizza all made up and ready to cook.

PB261806

The bottom of the pizza is lined with 1/2 pound of Mozzarella Cheese.  The next layer is 1 pound of Italian Sausage.  The 20 oz of pineapple is drained and the chunks are placed in between the sausage.  The pizza sauce is poured all over the top so that it covers the pineapple and sausage.  I chop up some fresh Rosemary and sprinkle it all over the top the amount isn't measured.  Olive oil can be sprinkled over the top of this but is optional.  When I take the pizza from the oven I sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on the top of it.  I cook the pizza for 45 minutes at 500°.  One slice of the pizza is very filling.  I think this is the best and easiest pizza I have ever made.  You can use what ever your favorite pizza ingredients are instead of what I used.  I keep forgetting to add a little corn meal into the dough but you can use this dough as a starting point.  The cast iron frying pan makes this all really easy to do.

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The crust is nice and crispy and not limp.  You can pick up a slice and eat it.  You might like to use a knife and fork as eating it by hand is a little bit messy.

I use to lead bike tours in Alaska and there was this lodge, Sheep Mountain Lodge, that we would stop at and get a 2nd breakfast after doing some major climbing to get there.  I think all of us would order the sourdough pancakes.  To me these were extra special pancakes.  When I started making sourdough bread the memories of these pancakes came back to me and I started to wonder how they were made.  I tried many different recipes and none of them even came close.  When I made the whole wheat injera my brain started working on how to make sourdough pancakes.

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The Dough: 

Ingredient 

Amount      

Measurement

Whole Wheat Flour

159.00

grams

Water

278.00

grams

50% hydration Preferment    

2.00

grams

 

Method: 

 I mix the above all together and let it set until the flour floats to the top and the water sinks to the bottom.  The first batch normally takes 48 hours, after that a new batch made in the little bit left in the contanier is ready in 12 hours.  The flour I grind myself and has the bigger pieces sifted out.  When that batter has fermented enough I take a fork and mix the water and flour together until I get the batter to the consitency that I want.  Mixing it up to much and you will end up with thin pancakes and a very runny batter.  The pancakes at Sheep Mountain Lodge filled up the plate and were thick and fluffy.  I could never figure out how they did that either but now I am able to do that.  I take a full cup of batter and pour it on the griddle.  This ends up making the large fluffy pancake.  I cook them on one side until it is nice and brown then flip it over to the other side to finish cooking.  Eat them like you do your regular pancakes.  I like mine with butter and maple syurp on them.  Here is a quote from Sheep Mountian Lodge's breakfast menu about their sourdough pancakes.

WARNING – Our sourdough pancakes are the real thing.  Expect a strong-flavored, tangy pancake, an Alaskan tradition.  Order buttermilk if you are not sure.

I have been making Fred Bread for over a year now and haven't really made anything else since I like it so much. Somewhere along the way recently I got the idea for a Rosemary Olive bread. I don't remember where I got the idea but it was one of those ideas that I just had to try. It has been a while since I have made any bread with ingredients in it other than flour, water, and salt, so I opened up some of my bread books and got some ideas for percentages of ingredients and plugged them into my bread spreadsheet. What came out of the oven was one of the best breads I have baked. When I took it to work one of my co-workers asked after the first bite if she could buy a loaf for Christmas.

PC201727

 

 the dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Bread Flour 515 grams 18.18 oz 100.00%
Salt 15 grams 0.53 oz 2.91%
Olives 129 grams 4.55 oz 25.05%
Rosemary 3 grams 0.11 oz 0.58%
175% Preferment 839 grams 29.62 oz 162.91%

Total Flour Weight: 515 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. 

The method: 

Making the preferment:  I add 2 grams of my storage starter to 532 grams of water and break it up so the water is filled with little bits of starter.  Then I add 304 grams of home milled flour that I shift out the course bits so about 95% to 97% whole wheat.  You can use whole wheat instead.  I let this set for 24 hours and when it is ready the wet flour will float to the top of the hooch.  If you are in a hot area it will happen faster.

Making the dough: I put the salt and bread flour into the mixing bowl and mix them up a little bit to get the salt spread out.  The preferment is then added and be careful because there is a lot of water in the preferment and it can end up on the counter.  This is mixed until it is a rough mass and I let it sit while I get the Rosemary and olives ready.  Sprinkle chopped up Rosemary around the top of the dough.  The olives I used are Armstong Greek Kalamata Olives.  The Greek Kalamata Olives I feel are key to the flavor of this bread so try to find some if you can.  I pit them and chop them up into little bits and add them to the dough and finish mixing it.  The olives add more hydration to the bread so don't be tempted to adjust the hydration before you add the olives.  The rest is normal bread baking stuff like proofing and shapping the bread.  I slash the bread with one long slash down the middle and bake it for 45 minutes at 460°F.  The first 30 minutes are under a roasting pan to help steam the bread and the last 15 minutes are with the pan removed so the bread will brown.  The bread has a very explosive oven spring and I have found that the only way to keep the bread from bursting out in unwanted places is the long slash down the middle.  One last note if you didn't already know Fred Bread is made by putting all of the water for the bread in the preferment so you will notice there is no water in the formula to add.

PA231592

 I don't know if I should call this Injera as that bread is made from Teff or at least has some Teff in it.  I have some Teff on order but I thought I would practice with some Whole Wheat.  This ended up being one of the best tasting breads that I have ever made and will be making it again.  Injera is an Etheopian Flatbread that is made like a creape but thicker.  There isn't a whole lot of work to making the bread either.  The dough is at 175% hydration so there isn't any kneading just mixing and fermenting.

the dough: 

Ingredient

Amount

Measurement

Whole Wheat Flour

332.00

grams

Water

581.00

grams

Salt

3.00

grams

175% Hydration Preferment

83.00

grams

Method: 

 I took 2 grams of my storage starter and added 29 grams of whole wheat flour and 52 grams of water.  I mixed this all up and let it sit fermenting for 24 hours.  It really didn't look very good as there was hotch floating on top of the preferment.  When I went to add it to the mix I just stirred it all together and mix it in.  The dough was made up of 332 grams of home mill wheat flour with the large pieces sifted out.  This was added to 581 grams of water and let sit over night .  The next morning it was easy to tell there was some fermenting activity going on in a big way.  I took the 3 grams of salt and sprinkled a little bit on top and stirred it in.  I kept doing this until all the salt was stirred in.  The batter really bubbled as I was stirring in the salt.

To cook it I heated a 10 inch frying pan up on the stove to medium heat.  When I felt it was ready I rubbed a little bit of oil into the pan.  I took a half cup of batter and poured in into the pan then roatated the pan until the bottom of the frying pan was coated.  The Injera is only cooked on one side and mine were done in about 4 to 5 minutes.  When they are done cooking take them out and let them cool on a wire rack.  You can eat them hot I think but after they cooled off they were sampled and I think they have an addictively wonderful taste just by themselves.  Injera is meant to be used as a plate that is eaten along with the food that is placed on it.