*Good To Know*
- Bread flour vs. All-Purpose flour
What’s the difference? Over the years, I have likely used these two type of flours the most. The biggest difference in the two is the amount of protein it contains. Bread flour has a higher amount of protein than All Purpose flour. Depending on the recipe, using one or the other or both will produce different results. In pizza for example, bread flour is used to create a chewy pizza crust. Due to the higher amount of protein in the flour, it produces more gluten (which is also ideal for airy bread rather than dense) and allows the dough to be more malleable and elastic. (anyone out there a professional pizza tosser?). All-Purpose (AP) flour has less protein and produces a softer texture and is the preferred flour for cookies, cakes and even bread (such as soft toast bread). The name itself is self explanatory and is the go-to flour for a number of different types of baking due to its lower content in gluten that creates lighter, softer results.
- Garlic Butter, when do I brush it on?
You may be tempted to brush the garlic butter on the pan first before adding your dough, but try to resist the urge! Do not add the garlic butter first! First, add the rolled out dough to your dry, hot, non-stick pan, wait for 1 to 2 minutes for the bubbles to start forming and THEN brush the garlic butter on before flipping. Brushing the butter on right away will prevent the dough from forming bubbles while cooking because of the ‘wet’ addition to the surface. More specifically, the wet surface prevents it from breathing or allowing some hot air to rise and escape through the surface in order to shape the signature bubbles we get with Naan bread. Also, remember that the bubbles will only form on one side. Once flipped we just need to finish cooking off the bread.
- What do I do with leftover Naan bread?
Wrap the bread (individually) well with plastic wrap, place into a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, leave to thaw in the bag at room temperature overnight and then reheat in the oven (350°F) or in the pan on medium high heat. Make sure to brush both sides of the bread with a little oil or butter prior to reheating. You can also make croutons by cutting the bread into bite sized cubes and air fry them at 392°F (200°C) for 5 minutes or bake in a single layer at 400°F (204°C) in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until hardened and slightly browned.
Naan bread is quite simple to make. All you need is flour, yeast, water sugar and salt. To create a chewy texture, you only need bread flour but by combining all-purpose flour with bread flour, the end result is a beautiful soft bread with some chewiness to the texture.
Leavening your dough
One important thing to remember about dough is that most recipes will call for a first and second rise. The first rise is also known as proofing. This method is done to ensure the yeast is alive where it converts the sugar into alcohol and produces CO2 or carbon dioxide which are gas bubbles you will see after an hour of proofing the dough. The second rise, depends on the recipe you’re making. Not all recipes require a second rise. The purpose is simply to allow the dough to rest and get a chance to be fluffier. Since this is a flatbread we won’t need a second rise. However, having the first rise done ensures the dough is leavened so that when we cook it in the non-stick pan, it will produce the beautiful bubbles (and flavour!)
The fun part is watching your bread come alive! Ok, maybe just the bubbles rising but it’s a beautiful thing when you watch bread cook so quickly in front of you and oh, that garlic! The combination of butter and the garlic creates an enticing tease between your sense of smell and your hungry stomach!
How to pan fry naan
Start with a good non-stick pan. Remember that butter has a high burning point and it can burn quickly! To get the perfect ‘charred’ colour on your bread, start with medium high heat and see how fast it takes to achieve the slightly burnt bubbles. What you’re trying to get is somewhere between well toasted and slightly charred pan fried naan. Increase your heat to high if it takes longer than 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape away any leftover garlic in the pan before frying your next flatbread.
How to make croutons with leftover Naan bread
I still had naan bread left over a couple days later and did not want it to go to waste. While in the process of making myself a caesar salad, I did not have any croutons to go with it. Sooo… I did what I normally do, checked what I had available and ding! I cut the naan bread into bite sized cubes, threw them in the air fryer at 200°C (392°F) for 5 minutes and ta-da! Instant garlic croutons to go with my caesar salad. If you don’t have an air fryer, lay the cubes in a single layer on a bake tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F (204°C) for 5 to 10 minutes or until croutons have hardened and turned golden brown. Mmmmhhh… The crunch in every salad bite was perfect!
Soft Pan Fried Garlic Naan Bread
- 2 cups (250 g) bread flour
- 2⅓ cups (292 g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2¼ teaspoon (1 package) quick rise or instant yeast
- 1½ teaspoon white sugar
- 1½ tablespoon (5 cloves) garlic, minced
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- 1½ cups (355 ml) lukewarm water, + 1 Tbsp. water (if dough is a bit dry)
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon (4 cloves) garlic, pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Turn on 'bread proof' feature on oven (if available) or set oven to 170°F ( 77°C) to preheat
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment add bread flour, all purpose flour, salt, yeast, sugar, garlic, olive oil, water. Knead for 10 minutes.. Add 1 tablespoon of water if dough is a bit dry. Transfer dough to a greased bowl or add a dash of olive or vegetable oil to stand mixer bowl and coat dough ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
- Place bowl in the oven to proof for 1h. If oven was set to 170°F, turn off oven and leave door closed until proofing time is done.
- In a small bowl, mix together melted butter, garlic and salt. Set aside.
- Punch down dough and scrape out of bowl onto clean, flour dusted work surface. Knead dough for a few minutes and roll into even sized log.
- Divide dough into 8 even pieces (approximately 3 or 4 inch pieces). Shape each dough piece into round ball. Heat a large non-stick pan on medium high heat.
- Roll out dough ball into a disc with a diameter of approximately 7 inches.
- Place rolled out disc into hot pan and pan fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles start to form. Brush garlic butter onto bubbled surface and flip bread. Brush garlic butter on surface and fry for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer naan to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 1 minute before serving.
- Repeat steps 7 & 8 for the rest of the dough balls.