There exists a popular variety of flatbread that’s commonly used in Indian cooking. It’s fast and delicious to make, but a surprising amount of people don’t actually know how to create the delicious recipe known as naan bread in their very own kitchen.
Naan bread can be a rather tricky variety to make, traditionally requiring a special cooking vessel called a “tandoor oven” – a clay oven that reaches incredibly high temperatures and flash cooks the bread.
However, using a cast-iron skillet will act as a substitute for the oven, allowing for quick and easy naan bread making experience without the need for expensive ovens.
Ready? Let’s get started!
How to Make Naan Bread
Naan Bread Recipe
The recipe of Aarti Sequeira, an expert on Indian food for Food Network and host of the show Aarti Party, will be used for the dough.
This recipe will make six loaves and take roughly three and a half hours to prepare and cook, but it will be well worth it.
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
Preparing and Cooking Our Naan Bread Recipe
In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar with ¾ cup of warm water.
Let it sit on your counter until it’s frothy – roughly ten minutes.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and remaining sugar into a large bowl.
Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and olive oil to the glass and stir to combine.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork to keep it aerated and light. Over-mixing will result in a dense loaf and it will not cook properly.
Once everything has just about come together, go in with your hands and mix.
It will feel like there isn’t enough flour at first, but the more it is worked, the more it will take the form you will want: soft, sticky, and pliable.
As soon as it’s together, stop kneading and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel; let it sit for between two and four hours.
After it has set and risen, you will almost be ready to roll.
Before you begin this step, make sure you have two bowls on the table, one with the extra flour and one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky, but that is a good thing.
Separate the dough into six equal portions and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
Now it is time to shape the naan.
Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, wider on bottom than on top. It should be between eight and nine inches long, four inches wide at its widest point and ¼ inch thick.
Once you have the general shape, you will repeat the method with the rest of the dough. (If you are using a gluten-free recipe, you will likely have better luck using your fingers than the roller)
It is time to get cooking. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to cover the skillet and a bowl of melted butter ready.
Dampen your hands in the water and lightly dampen one of the naan loaves. Then, set it in the skillet for one minute.
At this point, the dough should begin bubbling. After this, flip the naan. It should be blistered and have black spots. This is the normal look of traditional naan.
Cover the skillet and cook for between thirty seconds and one minute before removing the naan from a skillet, brushing with butter, and sprinkling with salt. Then, you simply place in a tea towel-lined dish and repeat with the rest of the naans.
Alternatively, there is another way to prepare the dough. After you have mixed it, place the dough in a bread machine pan and turn it to the dough setting.
After the cycle has completed, continue with the cooking method seen previously – and enjoy!
See the video below for more ways of making naan bread.
Have you tried your hand at making naan bread?