Naan

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Buttery naan is always something I order when I go out, but why wait until then? I decided to make these and they are really not too much trouble at all. The proofing time is just 15 minutes! The one thing I would say is that a pizza stone is so handy, it quickly cooks the bottom of the naan and the top puff up and brown nicely.

I thought I’d try two different recipes, one with yeast, one with just baking powder. In the end, there wasn’t much between them, but the yeast one was slightly lighter in texture.

Of course, these plain ones can be embellished any way you like, onion seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, fresh corriander, just make sure you brush them with butter.

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Focaccia

Country of origin: Italy

I wanted to start my bread making with something nice and safe, and after pizza dough, focaccia seems the next step, having an almost identical dough. The recipe is for one large loaf, but I made five smaller ones, using ring moulds to shape them and split between rosemary and chopped black olives. These loaves came out delicious and fluffy, perfect to eat hot from the oven.

This recipe has the following steps: make the dough, let it rest and double in size, knock it back, shape and then let it rise again:

Once the bread has risen for the second time, on a well-oiled baking sheet, you punch little indentations in and then brush the bread with additional olive oil, to give the loaves some moisture while baking.

Tips:

– If you use a stand mixer for the kneading part of the recipe, you might need to hold it steady or even take the dough out and knead it by hand for a while, as the dough is quite dry and rocks the mixer about.

– It’s probably worth trying to make these on a pizza stone if possible, as the bottom of the loaves were slightly too brown using metal baking sheets.

– Another variation to try is to incorporate potato flakes or riced potatoes, especially with the rosemary.