Over the years I must have tried dozens of recipes for naan bread, and gradually I've distilled the parts I like from each of them into a recipe of my own. You probably don't own a tandoor oven - I certainly don't - and if you are anything like me, you don't want to risk burning the house down by finishing them over an open flame, or clogging your arteries by smothering them with ghee, so these will never turn out like the ones you get in restaurants. But what you WILL get is a delicious, soft bread ideal for mopping up the gravy of your favourite curry.
You can add flavourings to the dough - herbs, seeds or spices - but I think the plain ones are more versatile. The recipe makes 6. We usually use two straight away and freeze the rest in pairs. The dough can, of course, be made without a bread machine, but if you have one, why have a dog and bark yourself?
500g white bread flour
1 sachet dried yeast, or if you buy it loose, ½ level tablespoon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp caster sugar
1 beaten egg
2 tbs sunflower oil
1 small carton natural yoghurt
milk (see below)
You will need two baking trays, dry not greased. If your oven has three shelves, you can use three trays, otherwise you'll need to cook the bread in batches.
Put the yoghurt into a measuring jug and make up to 250ml with milk. Add the egg and oil and whisk together.
Mow load up your ingredients into the bread machine in the right order for your machine, keeping the baking powder well away from any liquid.
Set the machine to the dough setting and start it. Once finished, leave the dough to rise for at least another half hour, as the milk and yoghurt will have slowed down the rising process.
Turn out the dough on to a floured board, knock back and divide into 6 portions. Roll each into an oval about 20cm by 12 cm, so that they will fit side by side on your baking trays, two to a tray. Leave the rolled out naans on the floured board, covered with a floured cloth, for about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, place your baking trays in the oven and heat it to its very highest setting.
Take one tray out of the oven and quickly slap two naans onto it, put it back in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes until the breads are puffed up and have browned patches on them. Repeat with the other tray, and when the first tray is empty, re-use it for the final two breads.
As the breads are cooked, remove them fro the oven and stack in a clean cotton cloth, wrapped around them to keep in the steam. This makes them very soft.
Serve immediately, or wrap in foil and reheat just before serving.