Thanks for coming to check out the blog again. Something a bit different this time. This time the challenge on Reddit was to make a dish that was movie or book inspired.
So I went and made something. So what the hell is it some of you may be asking? I might actually be cheating here since rather than a novel kind of book it’s from the manga/anime Yakitate!! Ja-Pan, which follows the story of some baker in the pursuit of bread, with the focus being on protagonist Azuma Kazuma, both something of a bumpkin and baking genius who has come up with several classic bread recipes out of his own head, and having no idea of the original recipe, refers to them as Ja-pan, a pun on being Japanese and pan, or bread.
So what the hell is this you thing I have presented here you might ask? Why it is Ja-pan #16 obviously!
Early in the series, Azuma Kazuma makes Ja-Pan #16, a “a bread to go with the Japanese dish, curry" much to the confusion of everyone else who knows that curry originates in India. At any rate, his recipe tracks closely with many accepted recipes for making naan, which replace the yeast and water used in most breads and replaces those with yogurt.
His has a slight twist though, as with many of his recipes. Being that he wanted to make it a Japanese style bread, he managed to make the breads look like Mt. Fuji, a fitting symbol for Japan. His method seemed ingenious, and while I tried to emulate it, I had to quickly give up due to my hardware constraints. Still, I’m glad to at least capture some of the essence of his dish, even if they are piss poor representations of what Mt. Fuji should really look like.
The recipe itself is really simple, and I made use of a naan recipe on food.com. Apparently it is low cholesterol too, not that I care too much about that.
Ingredients are as follows, low fat plain yogurt, flour, baking powder, salt. I had fat free on hand which worked fine.
First preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine four cups of flour (20. oz.), 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Then add two cups of yogurt.
Using a strong spoon, mix until it can’t be mixed any more using a spoon, then knead it in the bowl until it comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for five minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place in a greased bowl and allow to rest for a while. The recipe calls for an hour, but Azuma Kazuma only used 20 minutes. Which might have had something to do with his “solar hands” abnormally warm hands which are ideal for making bread. Just trust me on this or read it. It’s manga after all.
I decided to try my luck and go with 20 minutes of resting before doing my first batch.
Take a ball of dough out and roll it out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Now for the weird part.
In my failed attempt to make it the manga way, I tried to duplicate the method. Using a ball of flour paste in the middle, one is supposed to slap the whole thing on the roof of the oven. As I have an electric oven with coils up there that was kind of impossible, I attempted to fake one by using an upside down pizza stone on the top rack and hoped that I could somehow get the force and stickiness necessary to stick the dough through it. No chance in hell.
Giving up on that notion, I decided to just go for looks. Wadding up a piece of foil, I made a frame to put the Ja-Pan on.
There we go. A bit too narrow for Mt. Fuji, but ok for a test run.
Fifteen minutes later, voila.
Part of the appeal of this Ja-Pan/naan is that you can use it as a bowl and put curry inside. Sound delicious to me!
Some leftover curry shows that the flavor does indeed match up. Yum.
I decided to try again, using the pizza stone. Righting it and placing it in the normal location I made an even beefier foil mold.
Another piece of dough which has been resting for about 40 minutes.
Rolled out thinly.
Is very carefully draped over the structure.
About eight minutes later, this was the result. Overall much better and quite fluffier.
A transportation error yielded this. Maybe it’s a volcano now.
Don’t forget to remove the foil by the way.
It may be slightly more steamy on the inside so it should be given time to air out. Maybe even placed back into the oven for a minute.
Anyway, here are my terrible representations of Mt. Fuji. It’s the thought that counts anyway.
I’ll show you how to do things correctly if you didn’t want to make several geologists turn over in their graves at your representation of a classic vista.
If you have all of your dough, cut it into 10 pieces. Here’s half, so I am cutting it into five.
Roll them out to about 8-10 inches long and a quarter inch thick.
In a hot pan, preferably well seasoned cast iron or a non stick, cook the dough over medium heat for a few minutes until bubbles come up and the bottom gets nicely browned in places.
This is good.
You can then lay them on one of the higher racks for a minute to give them a nice browned top.
And there you have it, naan!
On the left is what happens when you don’t babysit it.
On the right is when you just slap it onto the pizza stone without using the skillet, which actually works well so long as you extend the baking time a bit.
For some reason one of the direct to stone naan puffed up like a big balloon.
It’s a mystery to me!
Now for some glamour shots with curry. It works pretty well as a vessel! Perhaps with a less… meat intensive curry it would work best. By breaking off pieces of naan from the side and dipping the pieces into the curry in the center, one can have a rather balanced curry and naan meal, that gradually leans more the curry side towards the end.
And if you just feel like some curry and naan, well I can’t fault you for that either.
My adaptation of Ja-Pan #16 – Mt. Fuji style bread for curry. (For standard recipe of naan go here.)
- 4 cups of flour (20 oz.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups of yogurt (16 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F, with baking stone if you have it.
- Combine flour, salt and baking powder
- Add yogurt and mix with a spoon until too stiff to stir with a spoon. Knead in bowl until dough comes together.
- Turn dough onto floured surface, knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Put dough into greased bowl and let rest for at least 40 minutes, preferably 60 minutes (20 if you have solar hands).
- Make a “mountain mold” out of foil and place on a baking sheet or directly onto baking stone.
- Divide dough into 6ths, and roll until a quarter inch in thickness.
- Carefully drape sheet of dough over foil mold.
- Bake for 8-15 minutes, to desired brownness.
- Serve with your favorite curry.