Afghan Snowshoe Naan
Recipe By : Home Cookin 4.8 ( 
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00 
Categories : Yeastbreads 
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method 
-------- ------------ -------------------------------- 
  afghanistan, Iran, Turkey
  flatbreads AND FLAVORS; ALFO
2-1/2 cup  Water; lukewarm
1 tsp  Yeast
2 cup  Flour, whole wheat; hard
1 Tbsp  Salt
3 cup  Flour, bread
1/2 tsp  Nigella; scant
Add yeast to water in large bread bowl and stir to blend. Add whole 
wheat flour and stir well. Then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the 
same direction to develop the gluten. Cover this sponge with plastic 
wrap and let stand 30 minutes-3 hours. 
Sprinkle salt over sponge, then add 1 cup bread flour and stir well. 
Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring until dough is 
too stiff to stir. turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 
thoroughly, until smooth and easy to handle, about 10 minutes. 
Clean out bowl and oil lightly. Return dough to bowl, cover with 
plastic wrap, and let rise 2-3 hours, until more than doubled in 
Gently push down dough and turn out onto lightly floured surface. 
Divide dough into equal pieces, one per naan, and shape each into flat 
oval shape approximately 6" wide by 8" long. Cover with plastic wrap 
and let rise for 20 minutes. Place quarry tiles on the bottom rack of 
your oven, leaving 1" space between tiles and oven walls to allow air 
to circulate. Preheat oven to 450 F. 
Five minutes after oven has reached 450 F, begin shaping the first 
bread. Place a small bowl full of cold water at the edge of your work 
surface. Dip your fingertips in the water and then, beginning at one 
end of a disc of dough, make tightly spaced indentations all over the 
surface of the dough so that it is deeply and uniformly pitted. Now 
stretch dough into long oval strip by draping it over both hands and 
pulling them apart gently. The dough should gradually stretch and 
give, and after several tries will extend to make a long oval 16-18" 
long, with attractive stretch marks along it from the indentations 
(hence the name "snowshoe bread"). there may also be a few small holes 
in the dough; don't worry about them, for many people the slightly 
crisper areas around such holes and thin patches are the best part of 
the bread. 
Place bread back on work surface and sprinkle with scant 1/8 tsp 
nigella. Then, using both hands, place bread on heated quarry tiles 
and bake about 4 minutes, until bread has golden patches on top and a 
crusty browned bottom surface. While the bread bakes, shape the next 
bread. You will soon develop a rhythm so that you can bake 2 breads 
side by side, one going in when the other is half-done. 
To keep the breads warm and soft, let cool 5 minutes, then wrap them 
in a cotton cloth. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
Authors' comments: I never quite figured out the daily routine of the 
neighborhood bakery just around the corner from the small hotel in 
Kabul where I was staying. Early in the morning, late in the evening, 
midday -- there was never a set schedule, yet no matter when they'd 
bake, there would immediately be a line of people waiting with 
outstretched arms for breads. At least it was easy to know that they 
were baking, as the warm, welcoming smell of the tandoor -- and of the 
juniper coals inside -- would make its way quickly through the 
neighborhood. In Kabul the air is crisp and dry, and smells travel 
well, especially the smell of hot bread. The bakery was unlike any 
other bakery I had ever seen. When baking wasn't actually in progress, 
there were no breads, no people, nothing. The bakery wasn't even a 
building. It looked something like a neglected piece of wooden 
scaffolding, a project long ago started and abandoned. But once the 
baking got underway, a group of seven or eight men and boys would 
climb up onto the scaffolding, and each would take his special place 
around the enormous burning hot tandoor, a little bit like a rock band 
coming on stage, the show about to start. Oven hot, crew ready, out 
would come the breads: large, thin, whole wheat breads, stacks of 
them, hundreds of breads. People would line up and carry away ten 
breads, twenty breads. I could eat three (I did eat three) three times 
a day, leaving not much room for anything else. Which was quite all 
right; it was some of the best bread I have ever had. In our house 
snowshoe naans are a favorite standby for parties, as well as a 
frequent everyday bread. They are easy to make and very beautiful: 
long and oval or snowshoe-shaped, less than 1/2" thick, with lines of 
soft ripples on the surface. There is an attractive sprinkling of 
nigella, a small black seed sometimes called black onion seed, on each 
bread. Nigella has a pungent, slightly onion tang, hence its name. It 
is used commonly on breads all across Central Asia, as well as in the 
north of India, and is available in South Asian groceries. The taste 
of nigella is savory and appetizing, but a little goes a long way. In 
other words, don't overdo it. 
Tyops courtesy of Sylvia Steiger, SylviaRN (at) CompuServe (dot) com, 
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* Exported from MasterCook * 
(ID: 80709) Mirror: Thu, Aug 22, 2002

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