Set aside the the morning today to play around with the Tuff Guy steel doohickey I had fabbed. The goal was to try out making naan on the egg, then I remembered that I had some lamb in the freezer. Was feeling to lazy to do an Indian/Tandoori style cook, so I settled on trying to make pide for the first time.
Pide are essentially Turkish pizzas. The dough is similar. I tried them for the first time when we moved to Houston a few years back, and love the ones at Istanbul Grill in Rice Village.
I tried 2 dough experiments.
One: overnight fermentation, no yeast, yogurt for leavening agent, no baking powder, milk instead of water. Many naan recipes do not include yeast, but use baking powder instead. I skipped the baking powder, because I wanted to try and make an "old school" recipe. I don't think naan makers in Southwest Asia had yeast, and even in India today, yeast is essentially a part of European/Western style baking. Naan recipes on the interwebs are usually extrapolated from pizza dough recipes, and that irks me a little.
Two: Made a second batch of dough this morning, included a little yeast and a little baking powder, yogurt, and milk. Mixed it all up and let it rise for a few hours.
Made up the lamb mix for the pide using, ground lamb, onions, cumin, some turkish kabab spice mix that a friend gave me a long time ago, green chiles, tomatoes, garlic, salt.
Fired up the large egg, grid raised direct with the large Tuff Guy on it, griddle side up, so it was raised 2" up into the dome. When the dome temp hit 600ish, the steel was 650ish. Threw the first naan on, from the overnight, non yeast dough. About 2 minutes and it burned on the bottom, without cooking fully on the top = fail.
Closed the bottom vent and let the operation cool down a bit. When the steel temp was about 500ish, I tried another naan with the overnight dough. Results were slightly better. I flipped it after about a minute to cook the other side. It did not taste like a naan, more like a parantha. Yogurt alone may not be enough for leavening was my conclusion.
On to the next round, with the yeast dough. Results were satisfatcory - the naan was thin, puffy at the edges, but kinda eggy. Had to flip it after a minute to cook the other side. I consider this defeat, because naans shouldn't need to be flipped. In a tandoor, the naan is parallel to the column of heat, one side cooks from the wall of the tandoor, and heat from the coals cooks the other side. This will be hard to replicate in an egg, since the naan is horizontal, in between the coals and the dome. There may be a way around this, but that is another set of eggperiments I have in mind, which involves messing with a clay pot. More on that later.
Now for the pide! Used the yeast dough. First one was an egg and cheese pide. I only had string mozz in the refrigerator, but it was pretty good. Worth trying again some time. The meat one was also quite good. Had to broil them indoors to brown and cook the top though.
I was left with some of the overnight non-yeast dough, so I figured to go for broke and make some kind of meat pocket. In the egg for about 2 ins, then under the broiler for about 2 mins. They did puff up nicely though. I'm sure it has a Turkish or other name, I just don't know what it is. Have not tasted these yet, so I'll have to let y'all know later. Will likely be eaten for breakfat during the week.
Conclusions: Tandoor beats the egg for naans ( so far). Need to play around with the dough recipe some more, but I think there is hope. Yogurt alone is not sufficient for leavening, so a little yeast is necessary.
All in all, I had a fun day, egging by the pool, and eating the results of my eggsperiments. Life could be a lot worse ! :)