Tuesday, August 11, 2009
1 cup water, warmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 tsp granulated fructose or 1 tsp sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour
This dough is very easy to make. Drop the 2 tablespoons of butter into the water and stir until it is melted. This should take about a minute at the most. The water/butter mixture should be lukewarm, around 1000F (380C). At that temperature, add the salt, fructose (or sugar), and the entire package of yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast, and then allow the yeast to bloom (approximately 10 minutes).
Add the first 2 cups of the flour to a large plastic bowl, making a pit in the center and piling the flour toward the edge of the bowl. Pour half of the yeast mixture into the pit and use a spatula to begin folding flour from the edge of the pit into the liquid at the center. When all of the liquid has been absorbed, add the remaining yeast mixture and continue folding. Add the remaining cup of flour until the dough forms a ball. The dough should not be wet, and should barely stick to your clean, unfloured hands when enough flour has been worked into it. Drizzle some olive oil over the dough ball to coat, place in a covered bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow to rise at least one hour.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and kneed briefly. If the dough feels sticky, sprinkle a little flour onto its surface before kneeding. Put the dough back in the covered bowl and allow to rise a second time, this time for half of the original rise (30-45 minutes).
Baking the Bread
Bring a teflon-coated frying pan up to medium heat on top of your stove. With floured hands, divide the dough into smaller "balls" which are about the size of a kiwi fruit; you should get between 8 and 12. Shape each ball into a round, flattened loaf (like a pita). The easiest way to do this is to let gravity help you; the dough is pliable enough that as you hold a portion of the ball it will begin to streatch. Go around the circumference of your small dough ball, pinching the dough and holding it briely for gravity to do its thing. This is a variation on the pizza-shop theme of tossing the dough, we're just substituting gravity for the centripetal force. Allow each of your flat dough "patties" to rise briefly (10-15 minutes).
Place a dough "patty" in the frying pan. When the upside of the bread begins to look solid and no longer moist/sticky, flip the "patty" and wait about two minutes before removing the bread. At this point, it you want the smokey flavor of real nan, place the bread on one of your stove burners set to low heat. Don't burn the bread, merely toast until char marks begin to develop. Do this for both sides of the bread. Enjoy with your favorite Indian dishes!!