I fully admit it – I’m obsessed with naan. Are you unfamiliar with the traditional Indian flatbread? Well, first, know that it is awesome, a truly incontestable fact. That being settled, know, too, that it is actually not that hard to make! That being said, I do buy it a lot pre made from my grocery store deli, and I’ve had it at a great local Indian restaurant. The store-bought naan I get is a lot softer than the naan at the restaurant, but I love both versions. This recipe turned out more like the store-bought naan. The point is, either way, I’m tickled newborn pink over making this bread. Soon, my fellow cooking enthusiasts, you will be as well. Cuz I need some company over her at Obsessed With Naan.
New t-shirt idea: You can’t lure me to the dark side with cookies, but if you have naan…deal!
Possibly surprisingly, yes, you do need yeast for this bread.
But…but! It’s FLAT.
Yup, it is indeed, but the dough only needs to rise for one hour and you don’t even need to use a stand mixer. It’s just you, the ingredients, a wooden spoon and your hands. Make it happen, cap’n!
Arrrr, here there be yeasties! I love this stuff. You get such a wonderful bread aroma as this stuff blooms and you haven’t even baked anything yet. Let’s put bread yeast on the list of Weird Car Food Air Fresheners I’d Like to Have (Alongside, I kid you not, a Dorito one. I’ll leave that for you to ponder.)
After the yeast has bloomed and your kitchen smells like the most magical place on Earth (sorry, Disney World, you’ve been replaced), give it some warm milk. Why? It’s the wet ingredients. We’re putting them all in one court, the dry in another. You’ll see.
Now for some Greek yogurt, of which ours was the fat free variety. Why Greek yogurt in our Indian naan? Geeze, I dunno, I’m just doing what the recipe says. Put it in there, arrrrr!
Hi, Dry Ingredients! Meet Wet Ingredients. Together, you shall make beautiful naan babies. That we will eat. Hmm, that’s not weird, nope.
As the recipe says, when the dough is just beginning to come together, finish bringing it all together with your hands. Why? I think I can answer that one: it will enable you to not mix your dough to death. Dough that’s mixed to death tends to come out wrong: tough, yucky, disappointing, things like that. Listen to your hands, let them tell you when it’s time to stop! If you and your hands aren’t speaking that day, it will look like the picture above and be sticky. The ingredients will be just incorporated as opposed to being incorporated like, say, ten minutes ago. Don’t keep mixing for ten minutes. Or five even. Nope. Ours looked like this when we were done mixing.
After your dough has rested and risen for one hour in your homemade dough spa (read: a warm place, such as your stove, which you turned a couple of burners on when starting this, but then OFF before placing the bowl near them but not ON them, with a damp towel on top of the bowl, just an optional idea FYI), generously flour your counter or board you’ll be working with and turn that yeasty-good puppy onto it. Now cut it into equal-as-possible pieces. We tend to divide stuff like this wedge-shaped-scone style. The important thing is, really, it doesn’t matter if all your naan is equal in size. The outcome doesn’t depend on it. The runts taste just as good!
Hey – this is how your flatbread gets flat! But not too flat. Confession time – I made this recipe a second time after this, but I rolled them way too flat. It made a difference. So lesson learned. Size of the pieces doesn’t really matter, but rolling too flat just might.
Brush each side with melted butter or a little olive oil. Honestly, having made this twice now, and tried both, I think I prefer the butter.
At this point in the recipe, I wondered why we didn’t think to add some minced garlic to the dough, so we did it right before rolling the next piece out. It totally works, next time I’m just adding more garlic, cuz YUM. You can also add the minced garlic to the dough itself as you’re mixing it all together, after the wet ingredients are already incorporated a little.
At this point, you may be thinking LORDY but this is a lot of pictures, which must mean it’s a difficult recipe.
Not so! For a homemade bread, this really was easy. Technically this is the home stretch, so keep it up.
Now, at this point your cast iron skillet or other such heavy skillet has been properly heated. You’ll need a lid, but if you don’t have one, do what we did. Carefully place a piece of aluminum foil over the pan, patting it down slightly to hold in the heat. Use a pot holder if you have to. When the dough has cooked for one minute, lift off the lid and this is what you get. It’s supposed to bubble up that way and look like weirdness.
When you flip your bread over, the other side is niiiice and toasted and attackable. But you still need to cook it for another two or so minutes on that bubble side! Keep calm and cook on and soon enough you’ve got…
…a HUGE stack of naan! Well, not huge in number (the recipe makes 8), but they are big pieces of bread (winning!) and they are sooooffffft and crisp where the pan browned them and they make a perfect accompaniment to soups, chili and curry dishes. Really anything that’s saucy and full of spices and flavor. Really, I honestly just about might have sorta kinda cried on the inside a little at giving this stuff away to family and friends to try. Cuz I’m a naan pig. And proud of it!
originally from Half Baked Harvest
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes minutes (includes dough rise time) Cook Time: about 3-4 minutes per naan Level: Easy Makes: 8 naan
- 4 cups all-purpose flour or 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup hot water (but not boiling, just hot tap water)
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- melted butter for brushing (may use olive oil)
- your choice fresh, minced herbs or garlic, optional
- seasonings such as garlic powder, optional
- fresh cilantro or other herbs for topping
In a medium size bowl, or 4 cup glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in the warm water (about 105 degree F). Add dry yeast to the warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and rise.
Add the four, baking soda and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
When the yeast is foamy and smells like baking bread, add the warm milk and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the middle of the dry and begin mixing using a wooden spatula or spoon. If using any fresh minced herbs and/or garlic, add them in at this point. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to finish mixing. As soon as it all comes together, stop kneading. It should be sticky, but should form a ball and be soft. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place 1 hour or if not using right away, overnight in the fridge.
When ready to cook divide the dough into 8 equal balls and, using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape on a floured surface. It should be about 6-8 inches long and about 1/4-inch thick, but no thinner. Repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure to flour your board as necessary.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you need a hot pan, but do make sure you’re not burning your bread; go by your instincts for your stove and skillet). Brush both sides of the naan with melted butter or olive oil. You can also sprinkle on seasonings of your choice at this point. Place the naan on the hot skillet, cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until toasted spots appear where the bubbles formed. Brush with a bit more butter if desired, then sprinkle with a little kosher salt, fresh cilantro or other herbs. Repeat with the rest of the naan.
When rolling out the naan, we placed them on a floured sheet pan to wait their turns to be cooked. Sprinkle just a bare amount on each piece to keep them from sticking to one another.
For any leftovers, place in an airtight food storage bag in your fridge for about a week or a freezer-safe food storage bag for about a month. To reheat either from the fridge or frozen, place again in your hot skillet and toast till warm again, but not to the point of further browning (unless you just want them further browned). These taste best the day they’re made, but they tasted great leftover, too.