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TheEat: Homemade naan is easier than you think, and just what you need for sop-up season

By Lindsey Hollenbaugh, The Berkshire Eagle​ ​ ​Updated

Grab a bowl and some stretchy pants: it's sop-up season. 

Recently, I explained to my son that it was perfectly acceptable — nay, absolutely necessary — to use some form of bread to sop up juices from his soup. In his carb-loving mind, this meant mommy had officially lost it, and he could ask for as many slices of buttered bread as he wanted. Maybe it was the Chardonnay talking or my love for bread as a vehicle for soups, stews and curries to get into my mouth, but that night, we practically finished a loaf of sandwich bread.

Only problem was, when I went looking for more bread later in the week after making one of my favorite curries — a winter vegetable version that allows me to use up any straggling vegetables wilting in the fridge — we were almost out. 

I guess, I thought as I looked wanly at the packets of yeast shoved to the back of my pantry, I could make some? Kitchen confessional time, kids: This little lady doesn't make bread, or really many things that involve yeast or waiting for things to proof. I blame my mother, who raised me with an unhealthy fear of using yeast in baking, and watching too many episodes of "The Great British Baking Show" in which Paul Hollywood jabs at the dough and mutters disappointingly in his brogue "under-proved."

But it's sop-up season, and I needed something for this curry. Why not some delicious naan, which I usually buy ready-made in the bread aisle at my grocery store. 

Most naan recipes are pretty much the same, but I liked this one for it's use of sour cream (all that I had on hand that day) and the super-hot oven technique instead of pan-frying them in a hot skillet. Other than the waiting period for the dough to proof, this was an extremely easy recipe that also made just enough to last in our small household a few days. The bread was delicious, especially dipped in more garlic butter, and had just the right amount of dense structure to carry the curry load. I also enjoyed it for breakfast the following morning hot from the toaster with a smear of peanut butter, sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey. 

GARLIC BUTTER NAAN BREAD

(Recipe courtesy of www.cookwithkushi.com)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 package of Active dry yeast, 7g (2 1/4 tsp)

1 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt

3 cups all-purpose flour

For topping:

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped (or, about a teaspoon of ground coriander if you have it)

4 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, add lukewarm water, sugar and yeast and let the yeast activate for about 5 minutes.

Add salt, sour cream and about 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and then slowly add flour in increments and knead for about 5 minutes or until you obtain a smooth and supple dough. (I used my dough hook on my stand mixer and this worked beautifully.) Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Divide the dough into to seven or eight equally sized balls, and cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together finely chopped garlic, coriander leaves and melted butter in a bowl.

Using light dusting of flour, roll out the dough into oval shaped naans of medium thickness, like pita bread. Transfer the rolled out naan to a baking dish, and generously apply the garlic butter mixture on top of the naan.

Bake for 4 minutes or until golden brown spots appear, flipping it half way through (watch this closely as the butter will smoke your oven up a bit!). If the bread is not brown enough after this, put bread under the broiler for 30 second to a minute.

Brush it with some more melted butter just before you are ready to serve. 

Storage: Fresh naan will last up to three days in an air-tight container. Before serving leftovers, warm it up in a toaster for best results. 

TheEat byThe Berkshire Eagle

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