Homemade Naan Bread
Do you ever get a craving for a certain food? Recently I was craving Indian food and since I am a total “bread-aholic” I knew that I wanted naan bread with it!
If you’ve never had naan bread before, it’s an Indian, yeast-leavened flat bread that is one of the many types of Indian bread served with curry. You can use the naan bread to scoop up the curry, or mop up the remaining sauce – either way, it is delicious.
When looking for a good recipe, the Internet can be overwhelming – so many variations for the same thing, it’s tough to know which recipe to choose. Luckily for me, The Guardian newspaper had an article from 2014 entitled: “How to make the perfect naan bread". So now I had a potentially “perfect” recipe, I was ready to dive in and try it out…
What you need
1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
150 ml warm water
300 g white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons natural yogurt
2 tablespoons melted butter (or ghee if you have it)
Optional: extra melted butter or ghee to brush the cooked naan breads
Vegetable / canola oil for greasing the bowl
What to do
Add the yeast and sugar to 2 tablespoons of the warm water, stir thoroughly and leave for a few minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. I recommend doing this in a jug.
Then stir the yogurt into the yeast mixture.
Whisk the bread flour and salt together in a bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the yeast/yogurt mixture, and then the melted butter.
Mix together, gradually adding the remaining warm water until you get a soft, sticky dough.
Tip the sticky dough onto a floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and less sticky after the kneading.
Next, place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and roll it around until it is coated in the oil. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size (approximately 90 – 120 minutes).
When you are ready to cook the naan, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, deflate it and then divide into 4-6 balls.
Next, place your frying pan over a high heat, and let it heat up for about 5 minutes.
While the pan is heating, shape the naan breads by flattening each ball, and then stretching them into a tear-drop shape - see photo below.
TIP: if the dough is sticking to your hands, wet your hands – this will make it much easier to handle and shape the dough.
Place the shaped bread into the hot pan. When it begins to bubble, flip it over and cook the other side, until it is browned in places - see photos below. If there are still uncooked, “doughy” areas on the first side, flip it back over until they are cooked through.
Optional: brush cooked naan bread with melted butter.
How much time?
Using this recipe, I made 4 naan bread which took just under 2 ½ hours to make, including the rising time for the dough. Actual effort was just under 30 minutes:
Making the dough = 15 minutes.
Dough rising time = 2 hours.
Shaping the naan bread = 5 minutes.
Cooking the naan bread = 8 minutes
A pack of 2 naan bread from my local grocery store costs $5. This recipe makes about the same amount of naan bread but only cost about $0.73 to make.
Note: I did use homemade yogurt, so the cost was a little lower. If I had used store-bought yogurt, then the price of these naan breads is still an economical $1.03.
Is it worth it?
I haven’t eaten enough naan bread to be 100% sure that this is the “perfect naan bread” but I would 100% give this a 5-pig rating!
The naan bread was easy to make and from ingredients that I had to hand, plus it was very economical. Most importantly, it was delicious – and I am now looking for excuses to make it again soon. So, if you have any great Indian recipes please share them in the Comments section below – I’ll owe you!
Anything else I should know?
Isn’t naan bread traditionally cooked in a tandoori oven, not on a frying pan?
That is correct, naan bread is usually baked in a clay oven, but the frying pan is a quick and easy way to get the high heat needed to cook them.
If you want to bake the naan breads instead of frying them, then heat your oven to 500 with either a pizza stone or large baking sheet. Once the oven is heated, turn on your broiler and then bake the shaped naan breads directly on the pizza stone or baking sheet. They should take about 3 minutes to cook and they’ll be a golden-brown color when done.
Can I make the dough the day before I need it?
Yes, just put the dough in the fridge overnight to slow down the rising. When you are ready to use it, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature before dividing, shaping and cooking the naan bread.
Can I add toppings to the naan bread?
You can just brush the naan breads with melted butter after cooking, or you can brush them with melted butter and then sprinkle some seeds like nigella seeds, or sesame seeds, or poppy seeds over them.