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The relentless naan thread part 2... also long... but I think I nailed it.

calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
edited May 2017 in EggHead Forum
For context: http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200110/the-relentless-naan-thread-long/p1

Didn't make much progress after those trials until recently. We went on a cruise  last month, one of the highlights of which was a specialty lunch restaurant on the ship serving up tandoori fare. One of my goals for the trip was to cozy up to the chef and get him to spill his naan secrets. The tandoori place on the ship was really pretty good. Better than a number of Indian restaurants that I've been to in Houston. When I told the guy about my naan exploits, and that I built a tandoor, he was happy to share a naan dough recipe ( which is more than 2 places where I asked for naan help cared to do). The problem with recipes on the internet is that they're mostly by home cooks, or chefs pandering to home cooks, so they cheat by using yeast or baking powder (+/- baking soda) for leavening. I couldn't find any recipes that were actually used in restaurants. 

Satbir (the tandoor chef on the ship) said that I had it all wrong using yeast or yogurt to leaven the dough, so I  tried his recipe for naan dough (AP flour, water, oil, milk, eggs) since the naans on the ship were quite good. But the dough was too wet, not leavened enough, and not what I was looking for. He may have held back. But it got me thinking, and since I had some time off after we returned from the cruise, I went at it. 

I ploughed through variations of the dough, baking them in the oven (rack at second level from the top, on a hot stone, broiler on to finish). Bounced some ideas off a  buddy of mine who has a similar interest in all things food related, especially bbq and Indian grub. Perused many many recipes on line and elsewhere, but they were of litle help as most recipes use yeast or baking powder to cheat re: leavening, so they were immediately disqualified. I did read that dough from a previous batch would often be used to leaven a new batch of dough, and that's when the light bulb went off... SOURDOUGH!! I've had sourdough starter on hand for a few months now, since I've been dabbling in baking (especially sourdough loaves lately), so naturally, my naans needed some sourdough. 

Here are some of the dough versions I tried - with and without sourdough, upping the eggs, nixing the water and using milk only, khamir (preferment, using yogurt only for leavening), etc. 




Without sourdough for leavening, the naans turned out like crackers. Passable for Passover, but not quite naans. The sourdough versions of the dough were better, so I worked on that. I found that subbing yogurt (dahi) instead of milk, made for a better texture than using water or milk alone. The naans made with sourdough and yogurt made for a pliable, crispy naan, not too puffy, and more like the naan I was after.

But the baking method wasn't quite right. Tried some in my small egg, but... meh.  Tried it on a stone, ~600°F, even raised higher in the dome, and it still wasn't quite right. The face side wouldn't brown enough before the bottom started burning. And I don't see the point of running an egg at nuclear temps to make naan.






The face of a naan has to "see the fire" like it does in a tandoor. Notes exchanged with my buddy in Boston led to another brainwave - what about using a hot CI skillet, flipped over, so one side cooked from the heat of the skillet, but the face cooked over fire? And that was it. Near perfect (Indian) naan.



 




These naans were by far the best I've made. The dough is best after 3 days in the fridge, but is still good even at the 2 week mark. I'm tired of typing and culling pics, so I'm done for now. Recipe for the dough follows.

Next phase of naan experiments is to try the inverted skillet method on the egg, as well as go OG/ol skool and just do it in the tandoor.



#1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
«13

Comments

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    edited May 2017
    Relentless Naan  (April 2017 )

    Flour AP                                           360g
    NaCl                                                   1 tsp
    Dahi (i.e. yogurt, homemade)             60ml
    Egg, large                                            1
    Oil                                                   1 TBSP
    SD starter                                            60g
    Water                          as required, about 120+ ml. [150ml if eggless)

    - Whisk dry ingredients.
    - Mix wet ingredients. 
    - Knead dough by hand for 5-10 minutes and let rest for 2 hrs. 
    - Refrigerate for 2-7 days.
    - Knead dough for 1-2 minutes
    - Heat CI skillet until 450°F (ish)
    - Roll or stretch naan out. Dust with flour as needed. 
    - Dock the dough
    -Spray water on one side
    - Press wet side down into pan.
    -Invert the skillet and cook on high flame for ~60 secs or until the surface is browned.

    Enjoy! :)

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • DMWDMW Posts: 12,470
    Dude...
    Now I need to grow some starter again.
    My Facebook Page where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 3,564
    Kudos on the perseverance. Congratulations on your success. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven.
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    @DMW - i haven't been in the sourdough game long, but I've come to realize that its a good idea to have some starter on hand - I've tried kolaches, many many loaves, and naan. Next up are pancakes or waffles. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    SciAggie said:
    Kudos on the perseverance. Congratulations on your success. 
    Well, Gary, you kinda started me on the sourdough trail to begin with, so thanks! :)

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 2,776
    FWIW, the best results that I had were the ones baked directly on the grill (no stone)

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,485
    Strong work and presentation man!  Congratulations.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • HotchHotch Posts: 3,326
    Nicely done sir!! =)
    Large BGE, MiniMAX BGE, 2 Mini BGE's, R&V Fryer, 36" Blackstone Griddle, Camp Chef Dual Burner 40K BTU Stove
    BGE Chiminea
    Prosper, TX
  • SaintJohnsEggerSaintJohnsEgger Posts: 1,253
    Not exactly sure what naan is  but the journey you took sure sounded like fun. Glad you finally figured it out. 

    Being southern born and bred maybe I'll pursue the perfect cornbread. Not making fun of you or anything but I need a challenge to try myself. And I love beans and cornbread   
    Marshall in Beautiful Fruit Cove, FL.

    1 wife, 4 kids, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 bird, 1 Large Egg 10/28/16 and 1 MiniMax 04/29/17

    KAB, Adjustable Rig, PSWoo, FlameBoss 200, SmokeWare Chimney Cap

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    @paqman - how thin do you roll/stretch your naans? I imagine its easier to grill thicker ones. Naans get thicker as you go west from Afghanistan into Central Asia. I'm after the thinner Indian version. I'll give it a shot on the grill and see what happens. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    Not exactly sure what naan is  but the journey you took sure sounded like fun. Glad you finally figured it out. 

    Being southern born and bred maybe I'll pursue the perfect cornbread. Not making fun of you or anything but I need a challenge to try myself. And I love beans and cornbread   
    Everyone needs a quest to keep them focused! :) Or to drive them crazy...

    I'd love to have an awesome cornbread recipe. I've tried to make it a few times, but nothing to be proud of. Please share if you've got a crackin' cornbread recipe. 

    Here's the wiki entry about naan:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naan

    Sort of a cousin of pita bread, I guess.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 11,958
    I appreciate the persistence. Nice work. 
  • OhioEggerOhioEgger Posts: 461
    Fantastic job. Thanks so much for this.
    Cincinnati, Ohio. Large BGE since 2011. Still learning.
  • SaintJohnsEggerSaintJohnsEgger Posts: 1,253
    edited May 2017
    caliking said:
    Not exactly sure what naan is  but the journey you took sure sounded like fun. Glad you finally figured it out. 

    Being southern born and bred maybe I'll pursue the perfect cornbread. Not making fun of you or anything but I need a challenge to try myself. And I love beans and cornbread   
    Everyone needs a quest to keep them focused! :) Or to drive them crazy...

    I'd love to have an awesome cornbread recipe. I've tried to make it a few times, but nothing to be proud of. Please share if you've got a crackin' cornbread recipe. 

    Here's the wiki entry about naan:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naan

    Sort of a cousin of pita bread, I guess.
    I'll send you the recipe if I find what I'm looking for. Tasted some awesome jalapeños cornbread at a Eggfest a couple of months ago that I want to try.

    My mother would fry it up in a CI skillet so that it looked like small pancakes and the cornbread was kind of crispy. That's what I really want to make.

    So, is naan cooked by slapping the dough on the side of the tandoori to cook it? Saw something like that on tv last year on Amazing Race. 
    Marshall in Beautiful Fruit Cove, FL.

    1 wife, 4 kids, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 bird, 1 Large Egg 10/28/16 and 1 MiniMax 04/29/17

    KAB, Adjustable Rig, PSWoo, FlameBoss 200, SmokeWare Chimney Cap

  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,672
    That naan sure looks right.
    Have you considered trying something like a dutch oven style where coals are on a CI surface above the naan? Then you wouldn't have to heat the skillet and invert it. You just place the naan between the fire and the hot CI with the coals in it. Not sure how well that would work in an egg. I'm thinking multiple raised grids with the CI and coals at the top. Would there be enough oxygen to keep those coals going with the lid closed?
    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,192
    edited May 2017
    Man you never disappoint! Love the idea of using CI as tandoor wall. I'm stumped on SD starter though, have an envelope with $1 bill ready for a while but haven't sent it off yet ... http://carlsfriends.net/  I've changed my diy uuni gas burner from high pressure regulator/orifice to low, so it's less like a blow torch that cooks the rim too fast with undercooked centre, I now get gentler flame that drapes the ceiling and cooks more evenly. Have to remember to punch the naan before cooking though  :)

    canuckland
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    @Canugghead someone here mentioned that website a while back too. Very neat thing for them to do. I may get  some as well. 

    I would be interested in seeing how this dough turns out in  your uuni or tandoor. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,738
    Could you just mail me a dozen =)
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    @Toxarch do you mean put the dough in the DO with coals on top of the lid? Or coals in the DO, with the dough on the inside of the lid?

    I was planning on trying it with the dough on the inside of the lid, then placed on the grid. When I tried that indoors on the stove, it was easier to handle than flipping a heavy skillet.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,939
    DMW said:
    Dude...
    Now I need to grow some starter again.
    You tossed your original starter? :unamused:

    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 16,939
    Cali I can appreciate and respect this thread and your process. The ratio you've come up with...by trial and error?  Is your starter based at 100% hydration?
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    Mickey said:
    Could you just mail me a dozen =)
    Just say when, buddy!

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    caliking said:
    Not exactly sure what naan is  but the journey you took sure sounded like fun. Glad you finally figured it out. 

    Being southern born and bred maybe I'll pursue the perfect cornbread. Not making fun of you or anything but I need a challenge to try myself. And I love beans and cornbread   
    Everyone needs a quest to keep them focused! :) Or to drive them crazy...

    I'd love to have an awesome cornbread recipe. I've tried to make it a few times, but nothing to be proud of. Please share if you've got a crackin' cornbread recipe. 

    Here's the wiki entry about naan:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naan

    Sort of a cousin of pita bread, I guess.
    I'll send you the recipe if I find what I'm looking for. Tasted some awesome jalapeños cornbread at a Eggfest a couple of months ago that I want to try.

    My mother would fry it up in a CI skillet so that it looked like small pancakes and the cornbread was kind of crispy. That's what I really want to make.

    So, is naan cooked by slapping the dough on the side of the tandoori to cook it? Saw something like that on tv last year on Amazing Race. 
    I love jalapeno cornbread. Your mom's crispy cornbread sounds like something I could get behind. Would love the recipe if you have it. 

    And yes, naan is traditionally cooked on the wall of the tandoor. It cooks by the conductive heat from the wall on one side, and the radiant + convection heat of the tandoor on the other. You lose arm hair pretty quickly by slapping naans on a tandoor :)

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    Cali I can appreciate and respect this thread and your process. The ratio you've come up with...by trial and error?  Is your starter based at 100% hydration?
    I'm new to sourdough and baking, so I'm not schooled in the correct terminology re hydration. 

    By my estimates, the dough is about 65% hydration. Yes, I  arrived at the right dough consistency by trial and error, working backwards based on the consistency of the naan I was looking for. I'm not sure how to account for the water in the homemade yogurt, egg, and starter, so I somewhat guessed.

    I feed my starter by adding starter 1 TBSP + AP flour 3/4 cup + water 1/3 cup. Does that help? 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • SaintJohnsEggerSaintJohnsEgger Posts: 1,253
    caliking said:
    caliking said:
    Not exactly sure what naan is  but the journey you took sure sounded like fun. Glad you finally figured it out. 

    Being southern born and bred maybe I'll pursue the perfect cornbread. Not making fun of you or anything but I need a challenge to try myself. And I love beans and cornbread   
    Everyone needs a quest to keep them focused! :) Or to drive them crazy...

    I'd love to have an awesome cornbread recipe. I've tried to make it a few times, but nothing to be proud of. Please share if you've got a crackin' cornbread recipe. 

    Here's the wiki entry about naan:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naan

    Sort of a cousin of pita bread, I guess.
    I'll send you the recipe if I find what I'm looking for. Tasted some awesome jalapeños cornbread at a Eggfest a couple of months ago that I want to try.

    My mother would fry it up in a CI skillet so that it looked like small pancakes and the cornbread was kind of crispy. That's what I really want to make.

    So, is naan cooked by slapping the dough on the side of the tandoori to cook it? Saw something like that on tv last year on Amazing Race. 
    I love jalapeno cornbread. Your mom's crispy cornbread sounds like something I could get behind. Would love the recipe if you have it. 

    And yes, naan is traditionally cooked on the wall of the tandoor. It cooks by the conductive heat from the wall on one side, and the radiant + convection heat of the tandoor on the other. You lose arm hair pretty quickly by slapping naans on a tandoor :)
    One of the challenges on that episode of Amazing Race had them making naan on an in ground tandoor. Most of them had problems getting the dough to stick to the side.

    Don't have the recipe to Mom's  cornbread but I'll PM you with it when I get the details. She is 90 years old and probably just does it by feel with nothing written down.
    Marshall in Beautiful Fruit Cove, FL.

    1 wife, 4 kids, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 bird, 1 Large Egg 10/28/16 and 1 MiniMax 04/29/17

    KAB, Adjustable Rig, PSWoo, FlameBoss 200, SmokeWare Chimney Cap

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    One of the challenges on that episode of Amazing Race had them making naan on an in ground tandoor. Most of them had problems getting the dough to stick to the side.

    Don't have the recipe to Mom's  cornbread but I'll PM you with it when I get the details. She is 90 years old and probably just does it by feel with nothing written down.
    That would be awesome. 

    The trick to getting the naan to stick is to sprinkle or spray some water on the side that gets slapped against the tandoor. Usually a small pillow/cushion is used to press it against the tandoor. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,672
    caliking said:
    @Toxarch do you mean put the dough in the DO with coals on top of the lid? Or coals in the DO, with the dough on the inside of the lid?

    I was planning on trying it with the dough on the inside of the lid, then placed on the grid. When I tried that indoors on the stove, it was easier to handle than flipping a heavy skillet.
    I was thinking multiple raised grids close together. On the lower of the two grids, put the naan. On the upper grid, put a CI pan (or something similar) with hot coals in it. So you have direct fire below and a hot indirect heat source from above. Then you don't have to hear the CI above and you can keep putting in new naan right after you are done with the previous one.

    Or what do you think about leaning one of these flat griddles into the fire box and sticking the naan to it like a tandoori oven?
    http://m.basspro.com/Lodge-Logic-Double-Play-Reversible-Grill/Griddle/product/10226191/?hvarAID=shopping_googleproductextensions
    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • blind99blind99 Posts: 4,211

    I love this kind of hard work, great thread and thanks for sharing.  Forgive me for my stupid question - why is using yeast or baking powder cheating?


    I thought of you the other day when I was talking to an older Indian woman  who cooks A LOT.  Her family has owned or works in a number of Indian restaurants.  I tried to sneak in the question "how do you make naan?"  and without skipping a beat she said "oh my husband makes it." 


    it's like some kind of flippin' state secret.  I tried...

    Chicago, IL - Large and Small BGE - Weber Gasser and Kettle
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    Toxarch said:
    caliking said:
    @Toxarch do you mean put the dough in the DO with coals on top of the lid? Or coals in the DO, with the dough on the inside of the lid?

    I was planning on trying it with the dough on the inside of the lid, then placed on the grid. When I tried that indoors on the stove, it was easier to handle than flipping a heavy skillet.
    I was thinking multiple raised grids close together. On the lower of the two grids, put the naan. On the upper grid, put a CI pan (or something similar) with hot coals in it. So you have direct fire below and a hot indirect heat source from above. Then you don't have to hear the CI above and you can keep putting in new naan right after you are done with the previous one.

    Or what do you think about leaning one of these flat griddles into the fire box and sticking the naan to it like a tandoori oven?
    http://m.basspro.com/Lodge-Logic-Double-Play-Reversible-Grill/Griddle/product/10226191/?hvarAID=shopping_googleproductextensions


    That's an interesting setup. Had not thought of something like that. May be worth a shot to try it.

    About the leaning griddle - one setup in the works is leaning an AR stone against a top bar set in the AR frame. @The Cen-Tex Smoker posted a mock-up in my last thread about this is well. I really like that idea, but the skillet is more convenient to handle.


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,118
    blind99 said:

    I love this kind of hard work, great thread and thanks for sharing.  Forgive me for my stupid question - why is using yeast or baking powder cheating?


    I thought of you the other day when I was talking to an older Indian woman  who cooks A LOT.  Her family has owned or works in a number of Indian restaurants.  I tried to sneak in the question "how do you make naan?"  and without skipping a beat she said "oh my husband makes it." 


    it's like some kind of flippin' state secret.  I tried...


    See what I mean?!?!? I don't understand why folks are so cagey about this. Its not like the naan is the star of the show at these places. Its the other stuff that brings people in.

    Yeast and baking powder/soda are "modern" ingredients. Indian cooks did not have these available way back in the day. Traditional Indian breads are not leavened (roti/chapati, parantha, etc) although there are some fermented breads made with rice flour in southern India (idli, appams, dosa). Naan likely came on the scene with invaders from Central Asia, and is probably the best known leavened bread in Indian/Pakistani cuisine. I read about how cooks would often add a portion of older dough to a new batch, so figured they were basically using sourdough.

    Another reason why I don't think yeast was available - there was no beer in India. Wine and other undistilled spirits/moonshine were made, but have never read about any beer in India. Yeast, as we know it,  came with the Europeans.


    And I appreciate you looking out for me by trying to weasel a naan recipe out of the lady :) .


    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
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