One of Uzbekistan’s great culinary staples is non – leavened flatbreads, and usually stamped with beautiful designs to keep them from rising. Non and naan come from the same Persian etymology, and are often cooked in a similar way – being stuck to the side of a tandoor.
I’m going to try to make non myself, though I’ll warn I am not a breadmaker – every few years I try to make a loaf from scratch and it never quite works. However, I’m going to use the Tashkent non recipe from Caroline Eden’s Red Sands – a collection of travel reporting and recipes from Central Asia. Her recipe calls for adding raisins and nuts, but I want to try to just make it plain. She’s also adapted it to a convection oven.
The recipe very helpfully makes it clear how much time things should take and what consistency things should be at each step, so I could make a few tweaks as I went along – I needed a bit more water before kneading, I didn’t need as much time to let the bread rise since my kitchen was warm, adjusting baking because my oven runs hot, etc.
Sadly, I couldn’t get my hands on a chekich – an Uzbek bread stamp – so I used the tines of a fork. The goal is to keep the middle of the bread flat or low.
Oh WOW it turned out great! I was shocked and overjoyed – I’ve never made bread successfully before. This came out beautiful – crispy crust, fluffy and not too dense, neither under nor overcooked. I’ll nitpick a little – I think I should have flattened it down more, the middle still seemed a little high, and the nice pattern I tried got a bit messed from a fold in the dough, but you know what? I don’t care that much. I’m just so happy it worked.
I may have eaten half the loaf straight still hot out of the oven – ripped with my hands, which is the way you’re supposed to. Just a little bit of butter and salt and you’re laughing, and the rest I had at breakfast with jam.