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Posts Tagged ‘sourdough’

Tender, Flaky, Sourdough “Naan”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 16, 2009

Sourdough "naan"

I write the word “naan” in quotation marks because it isn’t really naan. It just looks like naan and was cooked using the stove-top method.

I forgot to start the sourdough bread the night before. My aging starter hadn’t been fed for a while. Making a pan-cooked bread seemed to solve both problems.

This recipe isn’t fast but it is easy, although you’ll get flour all over everything. By the time I’d finished I had to clean my camera all over with a lens blower, and this was after I had taped a plastic bag over the controls.

But the results are worth it. The bread is tender and flaky — delicious on its own or spread with soft cheese.

If you’re watching your weight, you’ll note that there is no fat in this bread unless you count the oil used to grease the bowl while rising. Actually, I forgot to oil the bowl. You can do that, if you don’t mind scraping the dough out with a rubber spatula later and working in more flour so that it isn’t sticky.

Note: If you don’t have a sourdough starter around the house, substitute 1 1/4 cups water and 1 tsp dry active yeast for the 1 cup sourdough starter and 1/2 cup water. You won’t get the characteristic tang of sourdough but it will be tasty.

Sourdough Naan

Yield: 10 flatbreads

1 cup starter
1/2 cup water
3 cups flour (I used both white and whole wheat)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano

Mix all ingredients into a stiff dough. Add the last cup gradually if your dough is drier than mine was. Knead the dough for a few minutes in a floured bowl. Scrape the bowl, oil the bowl and the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let ferment at room temperature for a couple hours. Your dough will not rise much if your starter is cold from the refrigerator, but this doesn’t seem to make much difference.

Heat a cast iron frying pan on medium heat. Divide the dough into about 10 balls (the size of a large plum). Roll out one ball on a *well* floured board. You don’t want any sticking because the bread will tear. The circles should be fairly thin and about 7″ wide.

Cook the dough circle in the ungreased frying pan for about 3 minutes. If it puffs up slightly, that’s great. That gives the dough its flaky layers. When it is brown and speckled on the bottom, flip the naan over and cook the other side. Roll out the next dough ball and cook it. (It’s better to roll them out individually. If you roll them out all at once, they tend to stick to the board because they will start rising.)

These are wonderful straight from the pan, but you can let them cool, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze.

If you want to be really decadent, drizzle melted garlic butter on top.

  • My recipe for sourdough focaccia
  • Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Sourdough Focaccia

    Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 3, 2009

    Assignment 26: food

    Sourdough garlic & thyme focaccia, just minutes after I pulled it out of the oven. We will be eating it for Shabbat. Normally I make sourdough loaves or, if I’m in the mood, traditional challah, but it has been so hot that I didn’t want to heat the large oven. Focaccia only needs 25 minutes in a toaster oven, requires a much shorter proofing time, and is nearly foolproof.

    My sourdough starter is one of my kitchen treasures (if you live in Israel and don’t mind coming to the Jerusalem area, I will gladly share it). I’ve had it for at least six years. It started as a cup of flour and a cup of water mixed together and left on the table until bubbly. In Boston and Toronto, I had to hope and pray and wait for days to catch a good culture. In Maale Adumim, with its dry desert climate and strong winds, I usually only have to wait a few hours before it’s foaming like a milkshake. I’ve only caught one bad culture. It rose well but it smelled like vinegar, so I tossed that one.

    After the culture has made its home in the flour/water mixture, I add another cup of flour and water, let it rest at room temperature for a couple hours, and store in the refrigerator. I don’t leave the starter out for days on end and seldom overnight. With the warm temperature, the starter would burn itself out if I did that regularly, so my method is different from what you find on the Web (their advice would probably work for North American bakers, however).

    I feed my starter every two weeks. I don’t believe in losing sleep over wild yeast, so I do not follow the school of thought that treats a starter like a newborn baby and feeds it every two hours. If I neglect the starter for too long and it looks like a swamp, I mix a new flour/water growth medium and add a few tablespoons of the original starter.

    The recipe below makes three small flatbreads. My son was away for Shabbat, so I only needed enough for me and my husband. If you’re very hungry or feeding a large crowd, feel free to double it, but you don’t need to double the quantity of starter. Just double the quantity of water that you add.

    Sourdough Focaccia
    Yield: 3 small flatbreads

    1 cup sourdough starter
    1/2 cup water
    2-3 cups flour, either white or whole wheat

    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp dry thyme (if you have fresh, go for it)
    3 tbs olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    coarse salt (optional)

    The night before you are going to bake the bread, mix the sourdough starter with the water. At this point, if you are planning to double or triple the recipe, adjust the quantity of water (e.g., 2 or 3 cups). Stir in enough flour (about 1 cup) to make a stiff batter. Cover with a towel and leave overnight.

    In the morning, the starter, water, and flour mixture should be foamy. Stir it down. Add salt, thyme, 2 tbs olive oil, and the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead for a few minutes.

    Spray a foil-covered baking sheet with vegetable spray or grease foil with olive oil (more calories but tastier!). Lightly oil your hands and divide the dough into 3 balls. Press them into ovals on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let them rest at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.

    Mix the remaining olive oil and garlic in a small ball.

    Preheat oven to 400 F (220 C). Uncover the flatbreads and lightly press your fingertips into the dough to create small dimples. Smear the olive oil and garlic mixture evenly over the flatbreads. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.

    Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and store at room temperature.

  • Recipe for sourdough “naan” (not quite like naan, but cooked on the stove)
  • Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »