Looking for an Oasis

Life can be busy, hectic, harried, and scattered.  We have a lot around us to distract us with our cell phones, computers, tablets, mp3 players, tvs, and video games.  Sometimes, it’s nice to just take a break from it all.  When I am especially busy, I sometimes try to take  a moment to think about my Innisfree*, my oasis, my happy place.  If I can, I will escape for five minutes to knit something.  If I have a little more time, I bake bread.

What?!  I know what you’re thinking.  If she’s so busy, then how in the world does she make time to knit, much less bake bread!

To answer this question, I’d have to go into a long explanation of how I prioritize my tasks (cleaning would be at the bottom of the list, by the way) and how I order my days and my schedule.  To tell you the truth, I am sometimes not really sure how things get done around here, except that, maybe, when I turn on that mixer, the whole world is drowned out and perhaps time slows down.  Actually, I am just fortunate that I am home all day.  They are super busy days and sometimes I don’t even get much time to think, but bread making really takes very little hands on time.  What you do need to have for it is availability.

It takes an average of 30 minutes to  do the initial mixing a kneading of the dough.  Some take longer, such as brioche, and some are shorter like the no knead variety.  Then, you just need 5 or ten minutes every several hours to punch it down or shape it.  At the end, 45 minutes to an hour is what you’ll need for baking.

Your reward, after all that, is the toasty, wheaty smell of fresh baked bread in your home and something delicious that can find no rival at the grocery store.  Your little bit of work transforms flour and water into a beautifully crusty, tangible reward.  There is very little in life that I find more satisfying that looking at my freshly baked loaves of bread.

I was happy when June’s first TWD recipe turned out to be a bread recipe, a flat bread recipe to be more specific.

Oasis Naan

Actually, this is sort of two recipes.   First, you have to make the Persian Naan recipe, then you use that dough for the Oasis Naan.  The dough itself came together beautifully.

While the dough was kneading, I decided to add the dough that was leftover from feeding my stiff sourdough starter that morning.  I hate to waste things, you know, and it can’t hurt.   It turned out to be a lot of dough, so I decided to make the Persian Naan and the Oasis Naan.

I had fun with the Persian Naan.  It was easy to stretch out and lovely to work with.  My first one was really long.

The second one was rounder, and wider.  I put this one on a parchment sheet because when I threw the first one on the stone, I almost burned myself very badly.

The Oasis Naan were just as easy to roll out and bake.  I did two with just green onion and two with the onion and anise seed.

If you hadn’t noticed, I like variety.  They all baked up really nicely, though I couldn’t understand why the tops did not brown as much  as I would have liked.

We all really liked these and they kept very well in our house.  After they had cooled, I threw half of them into a freezer bag and stuck them in the freezer for a future dinner.  Any that were leftover sat on the counter in a bag and were just as good 4 days later after a light toasting in the toaster oven.  The sourdough starter might have contributed to its long life and it does add a nice depth of flavor, though the bread was not sour at all.  I would definitely make these again.

If you want to try making them yourself, you can visit Always Add More Butter or Of Cabbages and King Cakes.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree: One of my favorite poems, by William Butler Yeats.

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Posted on June 5, 2012, in Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. vintagekitchennotes

    Making the persian naan was a good idea. I think the sesame seeds should add a lot to the final taste of this bread. Your oasis naan sure looks good! I agree about baking bread being sort of therapeutical.

  2. Homemade bread sounds wonderful! I’m so afraid of yeast… I can do the artisan bread that doesn’t raise very high. But I can never get a nice loaf bread to raise well. Any tips for me?

    • Instant yeast. It’s also called rapid rise yeast when it is sold in packets. With instant yeast, there is no need to “proof” the yeast. You just stir it into your flour. Also, the thing that gets most beginning bread bakers in trouble is your liquid temperature. I don’t know if you have kids, but my rule of thumb is that if I wouldn’t put my baby in it, it’s too hot. Some recipes just call for room temp. water, so that’s pretty easy. You could just stick with those recipes:) This naan recipe is actually a really good one to start with. The dough comes together nicely and you don’t need a mixer. A pizza stone does help a lot with the baking part, though.

  3. I was wondering why these didn’t color as well.

    I find makinng bread is very relaxing – kitchen therapy.
    Your flatbread look lovely

  4. The persian naan sounds like a lot of fun!

  5. thekitchenlioness

    Both your versions, the oasis naan and the persian naan look delicious – I am glad that you and your family liked them because they are fun to make!

  6. I find bread baking therapeutic …and comforting! Enjoyed your post! Such lovely looking naan! Both versions!!

  7. Great photos…especially of the one with your hand in the photo stretching the dough. Very cool!

    I like how you take the time to get into the ‘now’. Baking always does it for me 🙂

    ~Carmen
    http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/twd-baking-with-julia-oasis-naan/

  8. Yum! This looks terrific!

  9. OMG! Yum! You bakers and cooks are so amazing. 🙂

    I’m the only one in my house that likes bread fanatically. But, if I could bake breads like that on the fly, maybe I’d have some converts. I’m getting so hungry now.

  10. I love baking with stiff sourdough, too – slow food in this stressy life 🙂
    Great blog, delicious naans.

  11. I wish I’d thought to (a) make half as Persian Naan and (b) make a full batch of dough (I made just half) and freeze some for later. Both your versions of naan look wonderful.

  12. Ooh, love the look of the seeds on your naan!

  13. I sneak in my bread baking during naps or at the end of the day after dinner… especially since mixing up the dough is usually pretty quick and most of my recipes allow for an overnight (or up to four days) rise in the fridge so I can get back to it and bake it when i have more time, it almost never gets baked in one day.

  14. Absolutely gorgeous!

  15. I agree with Betsy, I really wish I had thought to make half as Persian Naan. I really liked the bread, but I have tons of it left in my freezer, and your Persian Naan looks excellent.

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