Non is the flatbread that is made the length and breadth of Central Asia.
It is usually baked by being slapped onto the searingly hot clay walls of a tandoor oven and is known as naan in India and much of the US. At home, using a pizza stone and the oven cranked to maximum temperature is the best way to achieve the characteristic chewy elastic texture.
Non (Central Asian Flatbread)
- 190 grams plain flour slightly less than 1 cup
- 1 ½ teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon caster sugar
- sunflower oil or melted lard
- ½ teaspoon black onion seeds
- Put the flour in a large bowl, add the dried yeast to one side and the salt and sugar to the other.
- Make a well in the centre, pour in 125ml water and mix thoroughly. If it feels stiff, add a little more water to make a sticky dough.
- Turn onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 minutes until the tackiness has gone and the dough is silky soft and smooth. Form into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 2 hours, or until at least doubled in size.
- Knock the air out of the dough and form it into a domed round.
- Sit it on a floured wooden board lined with a piece of baking parchment and cover again with the tea towel. Leave to prove for a further 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 240°C/460°F, or as hot as it will go, and put a pizza stone or baking sheet in to heat up – it needs to get really hot before you bake the non.
- Make an indentation in the middle of the bread by pressing with the heel of your hand, leaving a doughnut-shaped ring around the edge. Pierce a pattern in the middle using a non bread stamp or the tines of a fork.
- Brush the top with oil or lard and sprinkle over the onion seeds.
- Trim the excess parchment from the sides of the bread.
- Put a handful of ice cubes on the floor of the oven – these will create steam.
- Use the board to lift the bread to the oven and carefully slide it (still on the baking parchment) onto the preheated stone or tray.
- Bake for 15 minutes. The top should be golden and the loaf sound hollow when tapped underneath.