We're vacationing this week on the South Carolina coast; a family tradition that we look forward to all year long. It's a time when we can all be together, enjoying each other's company on lazy, sun-soaked, fun-filled days. One of our favorite things is hanging out on the beach all morning and, when feeling quite famished from swimming, surfing (not me!), building sand castles, walking and riding bikes along the shore, we pull out a simple, but delicious lunch.
These wonderful Herbed Naan fill the bill perfectly. I make them early in the day and stack them between layers of parchment or paper towels. I bring along separate containers of hummus, Feta cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and shredded Romaine lettuce. If I have leftover grilled beef, chicken, or even tiny steamed potatoes, I'll throw those in the cooler too. When we get hungry, we just set it all out and let each person fix their own delicious wrap. They're soft, fresh, light and always, a delightful crowd-pleaser!
If you're a regular friend at The Café, you know that I love the 5 Minute Bread doughs - this is just one more example of their simplicity and versatility. For those of you who might not be familiar with the 5 Minute method, you are about to experience something quite amazing; a bread dough that is stirred together in 5 minutes, - no mixer, no kneading and no yeast problems (wonderful for those with yeast phobia). The dough can be prepared and refrigerated for 4-5 days before baking into professional-looking (and tasting!) artisan bread, sweet delights, pizzas and now, Herbed Naan.
These Naans are not just for picnics; we enjoy them for breakfast, wrapped around scrambled eggs, as a side for salads and soups, or stacked up and served warm for a delicious, unique dinner bread. They make a fabulous, healthy snack when spread with hummus and topped with sliced cucumbers or tomatoes. I think you'll find a myriad of ways to serve these delightful Herbed Naan at your house too!
P.S. As you can see, I've had a few wonderful assistants in the kitchen this week and you may have guessed by now, I'm quite smitten with these granddaughters of mine and I'm LOVING being with them all week. They bring smiles and laughter galore!
- 2¾ cups hot water 110-115˚F
- 1½ tablespoons granulated yeast
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs I like to use ½ cilantro and ½ Italian parsley, but other herbs would also be good*
- sea salt
Mix the water, yeast and sugar in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container. Stir and let sit till yeast is bubbly. Stir in olive oil and sea salt.
Mix in the flour with a large wooden spoon or a heavy duty large whisk till all flour is incorporated.
Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and colapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 3-4 days.
Combine oil and herbs in a small bowl.
When you're ready to make the naans, remove dough from refrigerator. Liberally sprinkle flour on a work surface. With a large spoon, scoop up 10 lumps of dough about the size of a small apple. Refrigerate remaining dough. You can keep this dough refrigerated for 3-4 days. Make more naans, form into a loaf and bake bread like this recipe for Olive Oil Boule or form into smaller balls and make dinner rolls.
Roll dough balls in flour to coat all surfaces, then flatten each with the palm of your hand. With a rolling pin, roll dough into circles (don't worry, they don't have to be precise circles, real naans aren't supposed to be perfectly round) about 8 inches in diameter. Keep work surface well dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Stack rolled dough circles on a platter, separating them with parchment or waxed paper.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Coat surface lightly with olive oil. Place one dough circle in heat pan. Brush top surface with herb/oil mixture. If bubbles begin to form in dough just flatten them with your brush. This will give your finished naan lots of interesting texture. Continue cooking until bottom side is a light golden brown.
Flip naan to other side and brush top side lightly with herb/oil mixture. Continue to cook until second side is light golden brown, then flip one more time and cook for another 20 to 30 seconds. Remove naan to a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat process with other dough circles, stacking them on a plate, separating each one with paper towels.
If using fresh sage or rosemary cut back on the amount by half, as these are much stronger tasting herbs.