Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yogurt Nan

Ever buy one of those giant tubs of plain yogurt and then realize it's weeks later and you must use it up immediately or toss it out? That exact situation was the inspiration for my searching for and deciding upon this recipe.

A success! My toddler, especially, enjoys these breads, and using the freezer and the oven methods I've been able to bake fresh bread for her even on weekday (work) mornings. What a treat, to have hot steamy fresh bread available each morning. Totally worth taking the time for the preparation on a weekday night or weekend morning.

Yogurt Nan
from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe

1/4 cup wrist-temperature water
1 1/4 tsp yeast (1/2 a package)
pinch of sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbs olive oil or unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for brushing the breads)
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups plus 2 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for handling dough)
cornmeal (opt)
coarse salt (opt)

Place the water in a med-size bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, and let it stand for 5 mins. Add yogurt, olive oil or melted butter, and salt and whisk until smooth.

Add one cup of the flour, whisking until it is incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon, and mix in the remaining flour. Lightly flour your hands and knead the dough, still in the bowl, for a minute or two, or until the dough is smooth (it will be quite soft).

Gently lift the dough, spray/spread the bowl underneath it with oil and then put the dough back down. Lightly spray its top surface with oil as well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towl and leave it in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

When the dough has risen, lightly flour your fist, punch down the dough, and turn it out onto a clean, floured work surface. The dough will be very soft and slightly wet. Use a knife or kitchen scissors to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces, then briefly shape each piece into a ball with your hands. Let the balls rest for 5 mins.

Generously flour a rolling pin and the work surface, and without kneading or handling the "rested" balls, roll each one into a very thin circle 7 to 8 inches in diameter. The breads are now ready to cook [or freeze].

To Freeze: line a plate with plastic wrap and place a rolled-out, unbaked flatbread on top. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the bread. Continue layering plastic wrap and rolled-out flatbreads. Seal the whole thing including plate in a large ziplock and place in freezer for about 45 mins. Remove the plate and plastic wrap and place the separately frozen breads back into the bag. Will keep for a month in the freezer. You can bake them as needed, one or more at a time, straight from the freezer. (They are so thin the fact that they are frozen does not increase their cooking time.)

Cooking with the Oven Method (there's also a griddle method, which I do not record here): Preheat the oven to 450F. Oil a baking tray or sprinkle lightly with cornmeal or flour. Lay the breads flat on the tray and bake for about 5 mins. Turn them over and bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown in spots but still supple.

Brush the tops with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with course salt, if desired. Serve hot or warm.

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