Kalonji & Carrot Naan Breads


This recipe makes 8 flatbreads. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, so you can have freshly-made flatbreads every day! The dough should be firm but pliable and not sticky; it may seem a little stiff when you begin kneading. The grated carrot will release some water and loosen the dough, but if the dough still seems too solid (some carrots contain more moisture than others), then add a little extra yoghurt or water. This sourdough bread can be completed in a day, ready to use in the evening if you undertake the initial proofing at room temperature and skip the overnight refridgeration.

I like to use an organic bread flour instead of a combination of plain and spelt flours. I like Mulika which is grown at Wimpole Hall and milled at my local windmill (Foster’s Mill at Swaffham Prior) and contains some of the bran and germ remaining after the milling process.

250g Frisky Sourdough Culture (50:50 hydration)

300g Plain Bread Flour (such as Shipton Mill No.4)

50g Wholemeal Spelt Flour

170-180g Full Fat Greek Yoghurt

6g Nigella or Kalonji Seeds

6g Sesame Seeds

8-10g Sea Salt

200g Carrots (preferably organic) peeled and coarsely grated

25ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix together the sourdough culture, both flours, the yoghurt, the kalonji/nigella and sesame seeds, the carrot and the salt to form a single firm ball of dough. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated and then leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough for 4 minutes. It may start to feel a bit sticky as you knead; use a dough scraper to keep the dough in one piece and don’t be tempted to add any additional flour (unless it is really really wet). Rest the dough for 15 minutes.

Knead the dough for 4 minutes and then rest it for 15 minutes. Test the gluten content using the window-pane method. The seeds and the carrot will make the dough tear easily but you can still get an impression of it’s elasticity. Either knead and rest the dough again if the gluten is not quite developed or return the dough to the bowland cover with an oiled piece of cling-film if it is ready. Leave the dough to prove at room temperature (14C-22C) until it starts to inflate. This will take 3-5 hours depending on the culture and the temperature. Move the dough into the fridge to continue to proof until it has doubled in size (the dough can be left overnight).

Drop the proofed dough onto a lightly oiled work surface and stretch it out into a large rectangle shape about the size of an A4 piece of paper. Fold down the top third of the rectangle. Fold up the bottom fold of the rectangle. Grasp each end of the now small rectangle and pull slightly, then fold both ends into the centre to create a square ball. The dough is now ready to use, but it can be returned to the bowl or an oiled plastic bag and refridgerated until required (return the dough to room temperature before shaping).

Pre-heat the oven to 250C and put a large baking sheet to pre-heat.

Oil your hands and the work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Oil the palm of your hand and flatten each ball into a disc. Rest the discs for 30 minutes before stretching each into a circle measuring about 12cm in diameter. Place each nann onto a piece of baking parchment and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Bake the naans on the hot baking sheet for 9-11 minutes until golden. Wrap the cooked naans in tin foil to keep them warm and soft.

Alternatviely you can cook the naans in a frying pan over a very low heat covered with an up-turned stainless steel bowl for 8 minutes. Flip the bread over and cook for a further 6 minutes. If the bread has more than a couple of charred spots the heat is too high.