Are you comfortable making tortillas, pizza or even loaves of bread? I have a new bread adventure for you that's actually quite simple. Behold an amazing pillowy, soft naan recipe that is likely to attract all the praise your home cooking deserves.
I consider this recipe to be an intermediate challenge, but even if your rolling pin skills leave something to be desired, this recipe is great practice and very forgiving.
You will need:
- 1 large bowl
- 1 whisk
- 1 rolling pin (an empty wine bottle will do well in a pinch)
- A decent amount of clean countertop space to portion and roll the flatbread
- 1 strong wooden spoon or pastry spatula
- A Griddle or large flat pan, cast iron works too
In the large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, olive oil and sugar, whisk until combined and let sit 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt, preferably at room temperature, if possible.
Whisk until completely combined, then add flour, fine salt and baking powder. Use a wooden spoon or pastry spatula or it may break with the torque of mixing. You could also use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you like; I don’t think it is cheating.
Stir until the mixture is lumpy, then use your hand to mix the dough together. Grab a handful of dough and squeeze firmly between your digits so that the mix extrudes out of your hands.
If you have a large enough bowl, you will not need to remove the dough from the bowl when kneading, which will keep your counter clean.
Knead the dough for 4 minutes: flattening, folding, flattening, turning, repeatedly until you have a slightly smooth dough. The dough will be slightly sticky which is okay, but if the dough is remarkably sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour onto the dough and continue. If the dough is slightly on the sticky side, it will come out perfect. If too dry, the bread will be chalky and have dry pockets after baking. Please excuse the gross analogy, but if the dough is stickier than freshly chewed gum, you might want to add a pinch of flour. Conversely, if too dry, you may want to add a splash of water. Yogurt greatly varies on its water content.
Form into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rest 10 minutes. Now would be a good time to make your garlic butter and chop the cilantro. I like to chop off the bottom stem of the cilantro and then chop the leaves with the top stems on.
Break or cut dough into 8 even balls and roll between your two hands until mostly smooth.
Let the balls rest on the counter.
Preheat a griddle to 375 degrees or to a medium-high heat. Brush generously with a neutral oil like grapeseed or canola.
Lightly, and I mean lightly, sprinkle some flour on a dry spot on your counter and flatten a dough ball with your hands, flip so that flour gets on the other side. And then gradually roll out until it is as thin as a penny or nickel or between 1/12 - 1/16 of an inch.
Lay naan on the griddle and cook until air bubbles form, flip and cook again on the other side. Hopefully you will see the bread puff up. A perfect naan is not raw but soft, and not crispy so take extra care not to overcook or scorch. Try to establish a rhythm while cooking so that while some naan are cooking, you are rolling the next one to take its place on the griddle.
Stack your naan as they cook. To serve, use a brush and cover one side of the bread with garlic butter, cilantro, and crumbled finishing salt. Serve at once, or rewarm wrapped in aluminum foil in a 300 degree oven.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yields: 8 large flatbreads, serves 4-8 people
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
For the naan:
6 Tablespoons warm water (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 Tablespoon instant yeast or 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, olive oil and sugar, whisk until combined and let sit 5 minutes.
- Whisk in yogurt until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder and fine salt, stir until a bit clumpy.
- Use hand to squeeze and mix ingredients until a cohesive dough forms.
- Knead for 5 minutes, then shape into 1 large ball.
- Let rest 10 minutes.
- Remove from bowl and break into 8 even pieces and shape again into balls and let rest on the counter.
- Preheat griddle to medium high heat, between 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lightly dust counter with flour, press one ball at a time into flour flip, and roll out until very thin, between 1/12th-1/16th of an inch.
- Brush oil on griddle and place flatbread on surface. Cook until bubbly on the top side, flip and cook until puffy and no longer raw, about 1 minute per side. Stack on a sheet pan or large plate. Repeat.
- Garnish with garlic butter and cilantro.
For the garlic butter and cilantro garnish:
6-8 Tablespoons salted butter
6 heads garlic peeled and chopped finely
1/3 bunch cilantro, 1/2 the stems removed and the rest chopped
A few pinches finishing salt
- Peel and chop garlic and put in pot.
- Add butter to pot and simmer on medium low heat for 5 minutes.
- Cook until garlic is soft.
- Smother cooked naan generously with butter and garlic.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and finishing salt, be sure to crumble the salt in your fingers and cover the naan evenly.
For a nice curry that goes well with naan, try this Indian Butter Chicken recipe.
And if you want to learn other Indian dishes, don't miss these classes coming up in February:
- Indian Vegetarian Tuesday, February 7 6pm
- Virtual Cook Along: Taste of India Workshop Sunday, February 9 11am CST