03 February 2022

Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread of India and Beyond

Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread of India and Beyond / www.delightfulrepast.com

Naan is India's, and other parts of Asia's, classic yeasted flatbread that I love so much! Not that I'm an expert, but it's my understanding that yeast is traditional, but you'll see baking powder and/or baking soda in more modern variations.

I will likely never try those variations because I like the yeasted version so much. The bread is soft and pillowy and, at the same time, chewy. I like to spread the top with unsalted butter and sprinkle it with finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves. You might like a sprinkle of finely minced garlic as well, but I'm allergic and must refrain. 

You know how much I've been enjoying my cast iron tortilla press, making batch after batch of both corn and flour tortillas. So, naturally, I was going to try pressing the naan. And I am thrilled to report that it worked beautifully! But you can also roll them out with a rolling pin as most people do.

I did a lot of research on this and saw much disagreement on how thick/thin to roll the dough. Most said 1/8 to 1/4 inch. While that might be fine for non-yeasted versions, I found that the yeasted dough starts puffing up right after rolling so needs to be rolled as thin as possible, certainly no more than 1/8 inch (3 mm). 


Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread of India and Beyond / www.delightfulrepast.com


Naan can be any shape. To mimic the shape they might naturally assume hanging on the sides of a tandoor (cylindrical oven), you can roll them into ovals or teardrop shapes. I just make mine round because everybody's going to know I don't have a tandoor anyway!

Roll them out or press them one at a time. While the first one is cooking, roll out the second one, and so on. Since the yeast dough rises quickly, give each a final roll/press just before cooking. So easy because you get into a real rhythm. I've put cooking tips for both stainless steel and cast iron pans in step 5 of the directions.

In my research, I found all kinds of tips that different cooks swear by. Cover the pan with a lid for cooking the first side only, cover with lid for cooking the second side only, grease the pan, don't grease the pan. I tried it all. The only one that made a difference to me was this: Rub water on one side before placing it in the hot pan water side down. Doing that and then tapping fingertips over the surface right away really increased the bubbling.

These will be great with my limited repertoire of Indian dishes: Chicken Tikka Masala, Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, and Dal Makhani. And being such a bread lover, the naan will inspire me to try more Indian recipes. And I look forward to working up a gluten-free naan for my GF friends.

Are you a bread fan? Have you made naan or other flatbreads? Tell me all about it in the comments below.


Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread of India and Beyond / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread

(Makes 8)

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) instant yeast
1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces/177 ml or grams) hot but not boiling water
1/4 cup (2.16 ounces/61 grams) plain yogurt
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml/25 grams) extra virgin olive oil
For kneading and shaping: Up to 1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour


1 In a 1.5- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl (I like to use the Pyrex 2-quart glass measure), measure or weigh the flour. Whisk in the sugar, yeast and salt. 

2 In a 2-cup glass measure, measure the water; heat in the microwave until very hot but not boiling. Whisk in the yogurt and oil. Check that the temperature of the mixture is very warm (120 to 130F/49 to 54C).

3 Make a well in the center of the flour, then add the warm liquid to the well. With a spoon, slowly stir until soft, shaggy dough comes together. Turn out onto lightly floured (from that 1/3 cup) counter for about 5 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking a great deal to your hands. (Set aside the remainder of that flour; you'll need it.) With very lightly oiled hands, make a ball of the soft, tacky dough. Place it in the bowl and cover the bowl with a lid, plate, or wrap. Let dough rise until doubled, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Note: Naan can be made ahead up to this point (step 3). Just pop the risen dough into the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring out of the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours ahead of the time you want to be shaping the dough for its second brief rise (actually just a 20-minute rest).

4 On lightly floured surface (from that 1/3 cup), shape the dough into a rectangle and cut the dough into 8 fairly equal parts. (I, of course, am so persnickety that I weigh the dough, divide by 8, and have realllly equal parts! These were 69 grams each.) Shape each into a smooth little 2-inch disk. Place on lightly floured plate and sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. 

5 Cast iron: Preheat cast iron pan gradually until it is super-hot (see Note); I use the Lodge Pre-Seasoned 14-Inch Cast Iron Baking Pan with Loop Handles that has lived in my oven for more than 12 years now. To preheat cast iron pan evenly, place over medium heat for 10 minutes, rotating every once in a while. Then wipe on a teaspoon of olive oil with a paper towel and continue heating for 2 minutes. 

Stainless steel: Preheat heavy-bottomed 12-inch stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 to 5 minutes.

6 Naan can be any shape. To mimic the shape they would naturally assume hanging on the sides of a tandoor (cylindrical oven), you can roll them into ovals or teardrop shapes. I make mine round. They should be rolled or pressed very thin, not more than 1/8 inch (3 mm).


Naan - Classic Yeasted Flatbread of India and Beyond / www.delightfulrepast.com


If using a tortilla press, place a very lightly floured disk of dough between the two layers of plastic* in the center of the tortilla press. Then gently press the dough ball. Turn it 90 degrees and press again. Press and turn until it is about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter. 

* I use a 1-gallon zip-top bag cut into an open-on-three sides 8-inch square "folder" to line the press. Wash and save the bag for next time; it will last for many, many batches.

7 Peel back the top layer of plastic, turn it on your hand, and peel back the other layer; or pick up the rolled naan and lay it over your non-dominant hand. Brush, or with your fingertips rub, water on one side of the dough. Lay it on the hot pan, water side down, and press the surface all over with your fingertips. Cook for about a minute when the naan gets bubbles on top and is well browned on the underside. Turn and repeat. You can give it another turn, if you like. Put on a plate and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

8 If serving right away, brush the top of each naan with butter and sprinkle on a little chopped cilantro. If serving later, do that after reheating the naan. 

9 The naan reheats beautifully. Wrap the completely cooled naan in foil and store at room temperature for a day or two. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

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46 comments:

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Counterintuitive as it may be for a guy who doesn’t eat much bread, there is a restaurant in Michigan I always visit on my trips which has exquisite yeast rolls. Ergo, this may be pretty close. I would probably like it as close to underdone as possible without becoming simply dough. Nice to know about this…

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Those look and sound wonderful. I have never tried making Naan.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, since they're "baked" individually on the stovetop for just a couple minutes, you could easily experiment and make them just as underdone as you like! It would make a great story, I'm sure!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Penny! I hope you will. If you do, let me know!

TONY said...

Three years ago Marilyn and I toured northern India. We visited a Hindu temple in Delhi. They invited us to see their kitchens where they cook food for anybody who wants to eat at midday. The food is free. Anybody from the richest person to the beggars on the street are welcome to come into the temple to eat. They showed Marilyn how to make naan bread and myself was set to stirring an enormous pot of vegetable stew. Did you know the favourite meal here in Britain is chicken tikka masala? I am sure your naans would match up to the naans in that Hindu temple, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Tony. I remember your taking that trip. That was what I call the trip of a lifetime! I based my Dal Makhani recipe on the one you and Marilyn learned there. Thanks for sharing that with me.

Richard Sheppard said...

Great! Another recipe I can use my tortilla press with. I usually buy naan at Trader Joes but don't make it there as often as I use to. I freeze the bread and pop it in the toaster when ever I want to make a sandwich.

ellen b. said...

We love naan! These look so good.

Sherry's Pickings said...

dip and sweep? I guess that's what we call a 'level' measurement - as in a level cup/spoon etc. very romantic sounding :-)

Lorrie said...

I enjoy eating naan, but have never made it. How delicious warm fresh naan would be.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Richard! I hope you'll try it soon and let me know how it turned out for you. It is super easy with the tortilla press. I wonder what other uses I'll find for it!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Ellen. It will be such a treat this summer having a nice yeast bread that doesn't require the oven.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sherry, I love that—"romantic sounding!" :-) But if I just said "level" there would be people in some places who would take that to mean the flour being spooned into the cup and then leveled off, which gives a smaller amount than a cup that is dipped into the flour and then leveled off. I try to be as precise as possible for readers in different places.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lorrie, thank you. It IS a treat!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Using a tortilla press to "roll out" the naan is brilliant! So easy, and I don't much care about whether the shape is traditional or not -- I don't have a tandoor either! I've made naan maybe twice in the past, with indifferent results. Going to try your recipe -- it looks excellent. Thanks!

Gary Thomas NItta said...

Love Naan and Indian dishes. I've made naan before, however this recipe looks very good and will give it a try.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, KR! Be sure to let me know how it turned out for you!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, GTN! I hope you like it as much as we do!

Jeanie said...

I love Indian food but we've never made Naan. Might be something new to try these cold winter days!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I think you two would have a lot of fun making naan!

Cheryl said...

I made naan when we did some Indian cooking in our homeschool studies. (Whew . . . I guess that's been a while!) The recipe I used called for yeast. I take the shortcut these days and buy my naan at Aldi. We have used it to make quick pizzas with the grandkids. Fun!

By the way, I made your cheesy potatoes (aka funeral potatoes) and they were a big hit! The three of us had enough for several meals, but I will make them again for our extended family! Thanks for the great recipe!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Cheryl, thanks so much. Glad you liked the potatoes. We all have our little shortcuts, but any kind of yeast dough is so much fun to me that I'll take my shortcuts in other areas! :D I'm a bread addict, I'm afraid.

Amy Johnson said...

This looks so good! Yum!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Amy!

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

YUM, looks good!! Thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 69. Pinned.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I love bread of (pretty much) all kinds but naan has had a very special place in my heart for many, many years. I think yours would have been just perfect for the curry I cooked today. I really love the idea of using a tortilla press. I absolutely need to get one, although I've no idea where I'm going to store it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. It's such fun to make!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Phil. I hope you'll make it soon. AND do get a tortilla press. It really doesn't take up much space. You could probably set it on its side and pop into a bookcase like a book!

Angie's Recipes said...

One of my favourite flatbread. I find cast iron pan method turned out the best.

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at the 25 and Done Link Party 8! 25 entries in 25 hours!! Shared on Fb, Pn, and Tw.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. Shares are much appreciated.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks. The cast iron works beautifully!

Lovely said...

I love naan and butter chicken. I need to try this. Thanks for the recipe!
xoxo
Lovely
www.mynameislovely.com

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lovely. I hope you will try it. And *I* need to try butter chicken. Don't know why I haven't yet!

Reidland Family said...

These look fairly easy to make and delicious to eat! Thanks for sharing.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, RF. Yes, they are delicious. Making more this weekend. And they are quite easy!

David Scott Allen said...

I have never tried making homemade naan,but I definitely want to try now. It’s one of my favorite parts of dining out in Indian restaurants. I will report back!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

David, that's wonderful! I shall be standing by for your report!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

We love Naan bread here but I have never made it. Oh, how wonderful fresh, warm naan bread would be! Home made would be a real treat with curry butter chicken or spinach saag. I would love to try making it myself one day. Thanks for your recipe, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you! It is rather fun to make, so it would be great to make when you have multiple cooks/guests in the kitchen and everyone can take a turn with the rolling or pressing and with the cooking.

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at the 25 and Done Link Party 9! 25 entries in 25 hours!! Entries shared on Fb, Pn, and Tw. Opens Feb-13 at 10pm. Closes Feb-14 at 11pm central time.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee! Much appreciated.

April Harris said...

I have never made Naan bread but I have definitely enjoyed it in many restaurants. Your recipe looks really do-able, Jean, and I like that you used your tortilla press. Sharing in the Hearth and Soul FB Group and elsewhere! Thank you for sharing with the Hearth and Soul Link party.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you so much! Much appreciated. I know you would have fun making naan.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

I've made homemade tortillas, but have never made naan. It sounds wonderful, and very similar in procedure to tortillas, without the rising time. Thank you for sharing both the recipe and excellent tips!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marilyn, I think you'll enjoy the naan. It's more bready than tortillas but just as easy to make.

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