Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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It is He who gives sustenance to wheat;
How could He then let your trust in Him be wasted?
For love of wheat you have become separated
From the One Who sent that wheat from Heaven.
Central Asian bread stamp, for making a pattern on the loaf
Naan
Teardrop Bread
A staple of Central and South Asia, naan is traditionally baked in a tandoor oven; stuck to the side of the oven wall, the dough sags into a teardrop shape. This recipe, baked in a conventional oven, is shaped before baking.
Total time: 4+ hours
Dough preparation: 30 minutes
Rising time: 3+ hours
Baking time: 45 minutes
2 tsp. yeast
¼ cup warm water
8 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
½ cup yogurt
2-½ cups milk
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
Garnishes (optional)
Poppy, sesame or cumin seeds, or chopped scallions or chives

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and set aside for several minutes until bubbly. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs, then blend in the yogurt and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast and liquid ingredients. Stir in one direction until you have a soft dough that is hard to stir.

Spread some melted butter over a smooth surface. Grease your hands with more butter, gather up the dough into a ball, and turn it out onto the greased surface. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until it is smooth and pliable, re-buttering your hands occasionally. Clean out the mixing bowl and butter it lightly; then put in the dough, cover it with a damp dish towel, and set aside to rise for at least 3 hours.

An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 450F. Before you begin to work with the dough, put in one or two baking sheets — however many will fit on the center rack of the oven.

Knead the dough briefly and divide it into 12 equal portions. Lightly greasing your hands with melted butter, and regreasing them as needed, flatten the pieces of dough and form them into teardrop shapes, 6" long by 3-½" at the widest point, and about ¼" thick. Place several loaves about an inch apart on each baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes, or until they are firm and just slightly colored. Turn on the broiler to brown the tops of the loaves, then remove from the oven.

Serve fresh and hot. Naan are delicious plain, or before baking you may lightly brush them with butter and sprinkle with poppy, sesame or cumin seeds, chopped scallions or chives.