Naan Bread

This is my naan bread recipe, and I wrote it back when I was a scientist. As a result, its very odd compared to normal recipe format. The intent was to capture as many variables as possible, to improve it over time, and also shed some insight and humor into the life of a scientist. It does make good naan bread too.

Naan Bread

1 package active dry yeast
2.25 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
0.5 cup water
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 oz plain yogurt

Install water, melted butter, salt, and yogurt in bread machine pan. Add flour, and leave depression for yeast and install the yeast in the depression. Wait 15 minutes to allow pre-curing of liquid/flour mixture. Start bread machine on dough cycle. Upon dough cycle completion, restart bread machine for 30 seconds to “punch down” the mixture. Stop bread machine and wait about 3.5 hours in the stopped state to allow dough to rise. [current conditions of 78 deg F, DP~68 deg F] and temperature/dewpoint spread does seem to affect rise time. Remove dough from machine and place on floured wooden surface (polyurethane finish ok). Separate dough into 4 quadrants and roll each quadrant with a rolling cylinder into a slightly oblate “flattened” spherical shape.

Place dough spheroids into an atmosphere of gaseous food grade hydrocarbons. This is achieved by spraying a flat dish with a light mist of cooking spray and then covering the spheroids and plate with a polyethylene film which has been lightly coated with the same atomized food grade hydrocarbon vegetable oil.

My wife suggested I just say spray a dish with Pam, and some Saran wrap with Pam, place the dough balls on the plate and cover them with the Pam covered saran wrap. The previous discussion is much more scientifically accurate, but she thought it was a little too obtuse for the cooking audience who may not be concerned with hydrocarbon diffusion throughout the outer surfaces of bread dough. I think this could be a critical issue concerning the consistancy of baking, but I do not have enough data to make any conclusions yet.

Allow oven to stabilize at 500 deg F temperature (check calibration) this requires a minimum of 20 minutes on my oven, and probably allows substantial hydrocarbon diffusion into the dough during the room temperature dwell time. The cooking surface should be preheated along with the oven, as the thermal shocks that will occur can be fairly hard on cookware. In addition, the hot cookware will start baking the dough right away instead of a delayed dwell time, while it attains a high temperature. A cooking surface with a non-stick coating could be a bad idea, as the coating will probably break down due to the extreme temperatures and thermal cycling. My gut feel suggests 410 stainless steel, but 303 or 304 being more common may be an adequate solution for a cookware material. Aluminum should be avoided as the thermal cycling could result in softening/warping of the cooking surface. A fellow software engineer suggested using a ceramic surface, as naan bread is typically cooked in a clay oven.

After oven stabilization, remove one oblate spheroid of dough from the gaseous hydrocarbon environment, and use a wooden floured rolling cylinder to compress the spheroid into a thin flatten surface of 4mm or less in thickness. Surface area should be around 20cm X 40cm. Remove cooking surface from oven, use one short spray of manually propelled reduced flammability hydrocarbon based vegetable cooking spray. I used Pam and had a fire extinguisher ready to go, in case of a flash fire. There may be a process of additional hydrocarbon diffusion in addition to reduced adhesive properties of the dough to the cookware. Immediately place thin dough oval on the cooking surface and reinstall cooking surface in oven. Start timer and check the appearance of the dough oval after 180 seconds. It may take more or less time depending on oven cycling, and calibration. When the baked bread has slightly blackened or browned circular marks, it should be removed and placed on a wire rack for cooling purposes. Eighty percent of the surface area should remain white in color, or the bread may be carbonized and not too edible.
Items to consider:
Flash point of Pam cooking spray
Shahi Tandoor Clay oven instead of household range
Better cooking surface, check on 410SS plate and its thermal properties. Use of Ecko non-stick cookie sheet resulted in failure of non-stick coating, and extreme warping of cooking surface resulting in total loss of use in the future.
Hydrocarbon diffusion properties into dough
Better monitoring of rise time in bread machine.
External microcontroller on bread machine for specific purpose of Naan bread on/off cycling
Improved water measurement capability, use graduated cylinder and measure in mm
Improved dewpoint measurement and perhaps barometric pressure measurements
Oven gloves must have higher R value and maximum temperature resistance, clean leather welding gloves?

Why Random?

Random was chosen being all my other sites are organized reasonably well by topic.This one, being my ham site won’t be. I’ll have car stuff on here, including my massive checklist which allowed me to put over 500,000 miles on my Nissan S12. I’ll have recipes, including the scientific one on making Naan bread. I’ll probably even post up some musings on medicine from time to time… and of course, there will be ham stuff too!

Starting Over in 2015

My old site is gone… well, not quite, its backed up on a hard drive sitting next to me, but I’ve deemed it to much a hassle to reinstall it and put in the thousands of lines of modified code. Thus a warning to all… not upgrading your software being its a royal pain when ignored long enough brings about much peril. I preach this to others, but just like the plumber with leaking pipes at home, well, you know how it goes.

The biggest bummer though is the loss of recipes. What I may end up doing is extracting the text out of the database manually, tweaking it in notepad and bringing it over here.