Homemade Vegan Naan Flatbread + 3 Things Bread-making Has Taught Me About Life
When the going gets rough, retreating to the kitchen proves to be an effective way to cope. There is something soothing about the process of creating something beautiful and delicious with my own two hands. Taking just twenty minutes to whip up something fresh and healthy has immediate calming effects, but when I’m faced with bigger life challenges I like to tackle something a bit more complex and immersing.
There is something magical about the aroma of freshly baked bread made from scratch. To this day, the scent of grains and yeast wafting through the air has sedative effects and lessens the perceived severity of whatever dis-ease I am facing. Not too long ago, when I was having an off day I endeavoured to gather the few ingredients required and got myself elbow-deep in dough. Aside from earning a beautiful pile of vegan naan flatbread from my labours, I also came to a few realizations about life:
1.) It takes patience. Bread-making is no quick kitchen project. Working with yeast and allowing it to rise requires time and patience—usually 15 minutes to proof and another additional two hours to rise, not to mention the time and effort it takes to knead the dough. Yes, it does take longer than running to the supermarket and grabbing some off the shelf, but just like in life, good things come to those who wait.
2) It doesn’t always work out how you had thought it would. Let’s be realistic; everyone makes errors from time-to-time when following a recipe. We have all mistaken baking soda for baking powder, and may have even used a cup of salt instead of sugar. Sometimes we get distracted, and our bread comes out a little browner than we would like. These small kitchen blunders, while irksome, need not ruin our kitchen mojo. When life gives you burnt bread, make croutons, or bread crumbs or a really kick ass panzella. Baking and life are about taking what you get to make something amazing.
3) It’s not as hard as we might think it is. Bread making need not be as daunting as it seems; a few simple ingredients and a whole lot of love are all that are really required to make something beautiful and delicious. Any new skill requires practice, but with time, it becomes easier and really quite an enjoyable experience. As is life.
Vegan Naan Flatbread
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer bread side vegan vegetarian wheat-free
Ingredients (12 flatbreads)
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
- 2 c. warm water (as hot as the tap will go)
- 2 tbsp. cane sugar
- 6 tbsp. non-dairy milk (almond or soy)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3-4 c. spelt flour
- olive oil, for bowl and frying pan
Place yeast and water in a bowl and stir until yeast in dissolved. Allow to sit for 10-minutes until frothy.
Mix in sugar, salt, and non-dairy milk. Begin to stir in flour starting with 3 cups and adding more as necessary.
When you can no longer stir, place dough on a floured surface and begin to knead roughly with your hands, adding more flour as required.
Continue to knead for 5-10 minutes until a elastic ball forms (note: your dough should no longer be sticking to your hands, nor should it be too dry).
Place ball of dough in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave dough to rise for one hour in a warm and draft-less place (note: I like to turn on my oven light and place it in there, with the oven off of course).
After 1 hour, ‘punch down’ the dough and separate into 12 even balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet, recover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat a lightly oiled frying pan or skillet. One-by-one, roll out the dough balls on a floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness, and place on the skillet to cook. Once naan begins to bubble, flip to the other side to cook uniformly (note: this usually takes 1-2 minutes per side).
Enjoy warm with curry, hummus, or with a spread of nut butter and chia seed jam. Freezes well in a sealed ziploc bag.
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Get your veggy on: