Oasis Naan Bread

Oasis Naan

Pretty to look at. . . Hard as cardboard!

All in all, everything went well with the exception of the timing on the baking – this includes the choice of day as well as the baking. It was a 90/ 90 day.

Because I’m self-employed and do not have a set work schedule, I scheduled in my baking and cooking to celebrate our anniversary on a day I was not on the road and didn’t have any pressing desk work to do. And because I had ALL DAY, I decided to do a simple Indian dish with rice that I found in my Potato cookbook. Our anniversary was coming up in about 10 days so I thought this is the time to celebrate it. I pictured our dinner by candlelight, perhaps a little sitar music in the background, enjoying the rice food of India (just as we do when we go out to our favorite Indian restaurant). With homemade naan and a rich spicy meal. I even thought I might dress up in a sari (not that I have one. . . but you can see how far this fantasy went…)

So, at 7:00 a.m. when my husband was leaving for his job, I yelled out, “By the way, we are celebrating our anniversary tonight because I’m too darn busy on the actual date!” He kindly shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay, but do I have to bring the gift for tonight?” I said no but thought that it would be nice – even if I didn’t have his yet, the fantasy continued.

So anyway, back to the baking. After he left, I went to the grocery store to pick up the items I needed for the day. By the time I returned home, and not paying much attention to the weather report, I played with the dogs a bit and made certain that our three-legged hound is doing well. Gave her a massage. Checked my email, paid some bills, etc. All the time eater tasks. At one point, I wiped my brow from the heat and realized, I had to get ‘crackin.’ So, I begin making the bread. And it is now mid-day and it is 90/ 90 or better. In my other world of working with and riding horses, 90/ 90 is the line:  when it is 90 degrees (or higher) and humidity is 90% or better DO NOT RIDE. So, what do I do?

I baked at 500 degrees.

And I cooked on stove top.

And in spite of the heat it went well, as long as I didn’t rush. The bread rose very quickly which became helpful because I hadn’t realized I would be baking only 2 of these breads at a time. Because I had no experience with tiles (and therefore had no tiles) I used the back of a baking sheet. And because I had no experience with baking in this style, I ended up second guessing the length of time to bake.

And here is where I criticize the directions. Either this book thinks that everyone is pretty well advanced OR the editor was out to lunch eating pizza rustica, but the recipe seemed to allow for a whole lot more that 8 naans at a quarter inch think and 6 inches across. I think I could have made 16 naans with what I had. But the recipe said 8 and, being the novice that I am, I did 8. And for whatever reason, it hit me that I was going to be baking 2 at a time rather than all 8 at once.

And because it appeared that these babies were going to be bigger than described, I thought, “Okay, I’ll bake a little longer.” (Stop wincing, everyone!)

So I did – about 4 minutes longer. So now I have extended the baking time at 500 degrees at 90/ 90 all the while getting dinner ready.

I got really hot. I had to change from jeans to shorts (I dislike wearing shorts). I changed t-shirts because of the dough and flour I had manged to get all over me. My hair frizzed up. My make-up would have melted (if I had any on). In short, I was a mess.

And while the naan came out beautifully. . .

They were hard as cardboard. Which I didn’t discover until we sat down to dinner.

I did make my simple meal – which was spicy and rich as I thought (yeah that went well, but we were both perspiring like waterfalls).  And there was no candlelight (even THAT put off too much heat.)  And there were no gifts (that’s coming up on the actual day.) And I looked like a tragic figure out of a Dickens novel. I give my husband credit – he didn’t say a word about the bread, other than ask what the green things were on top. (Scallions, hon)

So, it didn’t turn out as planned but the meal was okay and we did try the naan and I made it! This recipe presented me with lots of new experiences in baking:

1) Never before had I done anything Indian, (except using curry and other spices);

2) I’ve never baked anything at 500 degrees before; and,

3) I have never baked with tiles.

Soooooooo
I gained, if not new skills for ‘application’ then I have a better ‘understanding’ of the baking experience! (Bloom’s taxonomy is at work here!) That’s all I can ask for at this time is that I pay attention to the weather before starting another project like this- and maybe some baking tiles for my anniversary.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my! What a …dis…adventure! I’m so sorry they did not turn out as expected as we really loved them.
    I hope you’ll try again, maybe when’s not 90/90…
    All the best for your anniversary!

    Reply

  2. Ok… you would TOTALLY benefit from a copy of “Artisan Breads Everyday” by Peter Reinhart. No matter the humidity or heat of the day, no matter how large or how small your bread, bake ONLY for the time specified in the recipe. Regardless of whether you use the back of a baking sheet or tiles or a baking stone (which only effect the crust and crisp-ness of your loaves), the baking time will NOT change. The texture however will, ever so slightly… so use what you have, but follow the recipe. And always err on the side of underbaking rather than overbaking. since these cool fairly quickly, you can always bake one batch at the time specified and if it tastes too wet or dry, you can adjust the times for the following batches. 500 deg is really typical for bread baking. you want a really, super hot oven for bread baking – although not all breads will require or need that high a temp…
    and yes, this book is intended for more advanced bakers, it leaves out lots of tips and instructions that it just assumes you will know to do …
    good luck! it looks great though and props for doing all that “hot” cooking on such a hot day!

    Reply

  3. I loved your story! It was hot here too and my naan was on the hard side also. Happy Anniversary!!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Piebird on June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    your post gave me a good chuckle. I guess my baking was done at 60/100, it was raining in Portland OR. oh, and my malamute Hana is three-legged too! hope the real anniversary lives up to fantasy!

    Reply

  5. Oh no – at least you can chalk it up to an adventure….
    These didn’t seem to brown up as much as some breads (even at 500F), so normal color cues would definitely leave these over baked.

    Reply

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