This is the best Nann Bread I have ever made. I have been searching for years for that perfect bread and finally I think I have succeeded. I thought it was so great that I even did a step by step recipe here for you folks. It is worth making!
I found this recipe on a site called Spice up the Curry and I did it pretty much exactly the same. Fantastic recipe!
If you are an accomplished bread maker, you probably never have problems with yeast. If you are a new to using yeast, there are a few things you really need to know. First and foremost, I always use active dry yeast. That is a type of yeast that you add to warm water to prove it. There are other types of yeast, like instant dry yeast that you just add directly into the dry ingredients. The main reason I prefer to use active dry yeast is that you can see that it works before you get your recipe going. So, for this recipe I have used dry active yeast.
Okay, the water temperature really does have to be just right If the water is too cold, the yeast will not activate. Equally, if it's too hot, you will kill the yeast and it won't work.
What is that magic temperature and how do you know if your water is right? Well, the experts all say that yeast will be activated between 105 degrees F (40 degrees C) and 115 degrees F (46 degrees C). Yes, those are the magic numbers. The easiest way to see if you have the correct temperature is to put a thermometer into the water. But I am aware that not everyone has one of those in their kitchen. So the best test to do it run the water until it just becomes a little bit on the hot side. Kind of like almost too hot to touch. Some people say luke warm water, but I never get that to work.
If your yeast works, you will know pretty quickly. It usually takes about 10 minutes and it should look a little like the pic below to the right. If after 10 minutes, the yeast still looks flat, chances are it isn't going to work. You can cover it and check it again in about 5 minutes. But most likely the yeast isn't working. At this point, I would recommend throwing it away and starting over. Yes, sadly it most likely just isn't going to work.
Here's an amusing fact. When I was making this bread it took me 5 attempts to get my yeast to work! That has never ever happened before and I still have no idea why. My kids told me life was too short and to give up. I persisted and it did pay off. Okay, I spent an hour waiting on yeast, but I had nowhere to be anyway..ha!
Once you have accomplished the yeast, the hard part is over. Well, that is just my opinion anyway. Next, add the yeast to the flour mixture and use a spoon to stir it all together. If the dough is to sticky and not coming away from the sides of the bowl, add a bit more flour. I find I most always need to add a little bit more flour at this stage. Just add enough so the dough becomes more smooth and not sticky. Once the dough has come together, it should be soft.
The dough should look a bit like this right about now. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead it for just a couple of minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover it and leave it it a warm place to rise. Depending on the temperature this will take anywhere between one and two hours. My kitchen was about 25 degrees C when I made this bread and it took exactly one hour to rise.
The dough should pretty much double to triple in volume. See the photo below to the left and this is what you are aiming for. Then, of course, you punch it down and deflate it. All that hard work!
Once you have punched down the dough, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 10 equal parts. I just divided it in half and then cut each piece into 5 sections. Then you roll each one into a ball. Now cover all the balls of dough as you prepare them to cook.
Ok, right now here is the fun part. Get out a cast iron skillet. You can see mine below in the right hand photo. This was the first time ever I have made Nann bread on a cast iron skillet and it really was the best. I have previously baked it in the oven on a regular baking sheet. There is no comparison at all. This was perfect. If you don't have cast iron, any other pan will work, but you probably won't achieve the authentic look of Nann bread. It will still taste great.
So, put that cast iron skillet over high heat and leave it to get hot as you start rolling out your Nanns. I like to roll them in an oval shape as you will see below. But you can easily make them round if you prefer them this way. Only roll out as many as you can fit in the pan at once. I could fit two in my pan at the same time. So I kept the rest of the dough balls under a tea towel. After the pan has been heating up for about 5 minutes, it should be hot enough to cook the Nann bread.
Next, brush one side of the Nann bread with water. Place the Nann bread in the pan, water side down. Bubbles will start to appear in the bread quite quickly, probably about 10 to 20 seconds. You can see what that should look like in the photo below to the right. So just leave it on that side for a minute then turn it over. Cover the pan and leave them to cook for a further 2 minutes or so until they are completely cooked.
Remove the cooked Nanns and place them inside a clean tea towel. Repeat same steps for all Nann bread.
As you are cooking you may need to adjust the heat of the pan if you notice certain parts of the bread are burning easily. Also, after you do say two to three batches, you may need to scrape excess flour off the pan to avoid burning of the bread and a burnt flavour of the bread. I did 5 batches in total and had to do this once during the cooking process.
Then just like that you have perfect Nann bread ready to serve and enjoy! Okay, it is a bit more than "just like that", but I assure you they are worth it.
I started making Nann Bread probably about 15 years ago. I have had hit and miss success with it and different recipes over the years, but this is by far the best one I have come across. The bread, as you can see, isn't really puffy at all. In fact, it really is a flat bread. You do get that layer of air between the bread that Nann is so famously known for.
When I made these, I thought I would be able to freeze half of them for a later date. I was wrong, because they were loved so much by everyone that they were all gobbled up at dinner. Success!
These are best the day they are made. In fact, they don't really keep that well at all. However, you can freeze them with success. As well, if you are making them before serving, and I am sure you would be. It is best to reheat them under a hot grill for just about a minute each side. Make sure you dampen the bread lightly when reheating them. This will bring them back to their full glory of being freshly made. You can also brush them with melted butter once they are ready to serve but I don't find this necessary.
Hope this was helpful if you are planning on embarking on Nann bread any time in the future. I am actually about to make another batch for the freezer. This time of year, we start getting back into different curries and have something at least a few times a month, so they will come in handy.
Good luck and happy cooking!
Stove Top Nann Bread
Makes 10 / Prep time: 2 hours / Cook time: 20 minutes
2 1/2 Cups/320 grams strong wheat flour (more if needed)
1 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon baking powder
2 Teaspoons sugar
1 Teaspoon Active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons plain yoghurt
3/4 Cup/180 ml warm water
In a small bowl, add the dry yeast and sugar to the warm water. Stir until it dissolves. Cover and leave to become frothy. About 10 minutes.
In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir to combine.
Add the oil and yoghurt to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, incorporate it until you have a shaggy dough.
Pour in the active yeast mixture and stir until you have a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. It should be soft and a little elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and put it back into the bowl. Cover with a dampened tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise between one and two hours.
After the dough has risen, punch it down. Remove from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 10 equal parts. Then roll each piece of dough into a small ball.
Place a cast iron skillet over high heat on the stove top and leave for about 5 minutes to get hot.
Roll out the dough balls, two at a time, or as many as you can fit in the pan at once. Leave the rest of the dough balls covered until they are ready to roll out.
Lightly brush one side of the Nann with water. Place the Nanns in the hot pan, water side down. As soon as bubbles appear over the entire bread, turn them over. Cover pan and leave to cook for a further 2 minutes or until completely cooked.
Remove from pan and place in a clean tea towel to keep warm.
Repeat for all Nanns.
Best the day they are made but will keep in the freezer for about a month.
Great served with any curries or Indian dipping sauces.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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