Tuesdays With Dorie: Oasis Naan

Two weeks ago, one of my dear middle school friends visited from France with her husband and adorable 11 month-old baby. We hosted them for dinner on a weeknight so making a meal from scratch seemed too daunting a task, especially with my hectic work schedule these past few weeks. We brainstormed good take-out options and decided to order from our favorite Indian restaurant, Royal Taj, a place that we’ve visited on a couple occasions with Indian friends. Then Dave had another brilliant idea – I would make the naan for the meal. How perfect was it that the next TWD recipe happened to be naan?

This naan is called Oasis Naan in Baking with Julia. I tried to search for the origin of the name but did not come up with anything. I made the dough the night before and let it rise in the fridge. I had a bit of trouble shaping the dough and may not have prickled it enough before baking. As you can see, mine are quite puffy while the ones photographed in the book are much flatter. They were still very tasty but likely more hearty than intended (although it seems that for many other TWD bloggers these came out thicker than in the book as well) and made for a very fine vessel to scoop up all the curries we had that night.

Oasis Naan
You can find the recipe at Maggie’s blog – Always Add More Butter  – or at Phyl’s  blog – Of Cabbages & King Cakes. The recipe calls for 5 cups bread flour and for me it came out to be exactly 2 pounds.

Royal Taj (link)
8874 McGaw Road
Columbia, MD 21045
(410) 381-1111

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda Bread

This week’s TWD recipe is Irish Soda Bread, in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day this past weekend (did you do anything fun?).

The bread gets its name from its use of, well what else, baking soda. As a researcher by day, I like to learn about the origin of different types of foods and how they evolved over time. According to this article, baking in Ireland has been influenced by two main factors. The first one being the Irish climate, which is much more temperate than other European countries and thus prevented hard wheats from growing properly. Hard wheats have high gluten content and are thus suitable for being raised with yeast. Soft wheats on the other hand do grow well in Ireland but contain less gluten than hard wheats (American all-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheats). The second factor was the abundance of fuel such as firewood. This meant that every household could bake at home instead of using a communal oven.

These two factors contributed to the Irish baker using baking soda, or ‘bread soda’ in Ireland, as the main leavening agent. And traditionally this soda bread was baked in a pot (called a bastible) over the fire rather than in an oven. I also learned from this interesting interview with Irish chef Rory O’Connell that Irish soda bread in America is quite different from the one you can find in Ireland as the addition of butter and eggs, which is common in the U.S., would raise eyebrows over there.

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