This is the recipe we’ve always used for nan–taken from the public library many decades ago (apologies, the book was not noted, so ‘could not citate; if any of you recognise the recipe, please let us know). Except for a few modifications in the preparation of yeast, we’ve usually followed the rest of the instructions.
For the yeast
1 tsp demerara sugar
1/4 pint milk
1 tsp dry yeast
For the dough
450g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
1 egg (beaten)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp natural yogurt
1. Mix 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar with the milk and warm in the microwave to body temperature. Whisk in yeast, and leave in a warm spot until frothy.
2. Except for the remaining sugar, sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and stir in the sugar, egg, oil and yogurt.
3. Add the yeast mixture and mix all the ingredients to a soft dough (you can add more milk as necessary)–make sure they’re coming off the surface of the bowl. Then knead the dough onto a lightly floured surface until it becomes elastic.
4. Cover the dough and leave to rise until double in size (I just put mine in an oiled, big salad bowl, then hide it in the oven together with a tray full of hot, steaming water).
5. When the dough is double in size, knead again and divide into 6 equal parts (or more, depending on the size you want for your nan)–rolled into balls. Roll out each ball using a rolling pin–surprisingly, they automatically take that tear-shaped form!
6. Turn on your grill. Then place some of your nan on a baking sheet or rack. Now be careful–this will not take long and you will need to flip over the nan bread halfway through (est. 1 minute on each side). You will see them puffing right before your eyes!
I sometimes pressed in some kalonji seeds in the rolled-out dough before putting them under the grill–because they taste good and to also make them look like shop-bought 😉