If you enjoy naan, you should learn how to make it. Here are a few pointers to help you make the most of your homemade naans. You can make homemade naans without yeast with baking powder and baking soda instead. The fluffy texture and flavor of yeast-based naans will be replicated with these alternatives. If you use non-dairy yogurt, you can even omit the rising time.
What is Naan?
The origins of today’s naan can be traced back to Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and South Asia. The most well-known and widely available varieties of naan in Western countries are those from South Asia. The word nân (Persian: does not have a specific connotation in Iran or other West Asian countries or ethnic groups in the region because it is a generic term for any form of bread. The word naan is used to describe a thick flatbread popular in parts of the Indian subcontinent.
It’s usually leavened using yeast or bread starter (leavened naan dough from a previous batch), although it can also be made with unleavened dough (similar to roti dough). Naan is made in a tandoor, also the name for tandoori cooking, and this distinguishes it from Roti, frequently prepared on a Tava, a flat or slightly concave iron griddle. In modern recipes, baking powder is occasionally substituted for yeast. You can use milk or yogurt to give the naan a unique flavor.
How to Make Naan Recipe?
Before we get into the recipe’s details, here are some short notes on the items you’ll need to prepare this handmade naan bread: Warm water: The water should be around 110 degrees Fahrenheit to activate the yeast fully.
I recommend using a cooking thermometer to check the temperature, but it should feel warm but not hot to the touch.)Honey: To give the bread just a hint of sweetness.
Alternatively, you can use an equal amount of sugar or another sweetener.)One quarter-ounce packet of active dry yeast is required. Alternatively, 2 1/4 teaspoons if you buy yeast in bulk.
For this recipe, I use plain all-purpose flour. However, if you decide to experiment with a different flour, please share your results in the comments section below. Baking powder:
Adds more rise and tenderness to the naan. Salt: A pinch of salt is put to the bread dough, but I like to top the naan with a pinch of flaky sea salt right before serving.Yogurt:
Any plain yogurt will do (including plain Greek yogurt). Add an egg to bind the ingredients together and give the dough a fuller texture. Optional garlic butter sauce: melted butter with garlic and parsley sautéed briefly, which you can spray on the warm dough after baking.
Measure your water temperature: The water/honey mixture should be around 110°F for the yeast to activate effectively. This temperature should feel warm to the touch but not scorching.
But, to be sure, I recommend checking the water with a thermometer to ensure it is neither too hot (which would kill the yeast) nor too cold (which would kill the yeast) (which would not allow the yeast to activate).
Check to see if the yeast is still active: It could be a poor batch or outdated yeast if the yeast does not bubble up and foam in the first steps of the recipe. Don’t sweat it if your naan isn’t properly sized (or shaped):
It’s fine if the dough isn’t exactly divided into eight equal-sized pieces, and they’ll fry equally if you eyeball them and try to roll them out to the same thickness, more or less. Also, don’t worry about generating precisely shaped ovals unless you want to.
Pieces that are thinner vs. thicker: I like my naan to be thick and chewy, so I usually spread the dough to around 1/4-inch thickness. However, if you want a thinner naan with more bubbles, you can roll it out even thinner.
- 1 cup warm (about 110°F) water
- honey (two tablespoons)
- 1 (0.25 ounce) active dry yeast package (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
- One tablespoon of plain yogurt
- Two tablespoons of sea salt, fine
- baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
- a single huge egg
Garlic Butter Ingredients
- One tablespoon of salted butter
- Three garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- fresh cilantro or parsley, freshly chopped
- flaky sea salt (optional)
- To activate the yeast, combine the warm water and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer for a few seconds. (Alternatively, check the notes below for instructions on making the dough by hand.) Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and whisk briefly, then set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast has foamed.
- To make the dough, combine the following ingredients: Combine the flour, yogurt, salt, baking powder, and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix the dough for 2-3 minutes on medium-low speed with the dough attachment until smooth. (The dough will be a little sticky at this point, but it should form into a ball that pulls away from the mixing bowl’s sides.) Add a little extra flour if it’s too sticky.)
- Allow time for the dough to rise. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and roll it into a ball with your hands. Place the dough ball back in the mixing bowl (or a separate basin) after lightly spraying it with cooking spray, then cover it with a moist towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot (I put mine near a bright window) and let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until it has nearly doubled.
- (Optional) To make the garlic butter, melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat during the last 10 minutes of the dough’s rise period. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is aromatic. Remove the pan from the heat and, if wanted, add some chopped herbs. (If you want the garlic butter to be entirely smooth, drain off the garlic bits.)
- The dough should be rolled out. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and form it into an even(ish) circle once it’s ready. Cut the dough into eight wedges of equal size and roll each wedge into a ball with your hands. Then flatten out the dough ball with a rolling pin until it forms an oval about 1/4-inch thick. (I suggest multitasking this step by rolling out the next dough ball while cooking the previous one.)
- Prepare the dough. Preheat a big cast-iron skillet or a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Cook for 1 minute, or until the top of the dough bubble and the bottom turns gently golden, using a portion of the rolled-out dough. Cook for 30-60 seconds on the second side, or until the bottom is golden, before transferring the dough to a clean dish. (If creating garlic naan, coat one or both sides of the dough with garlic butter after it’s finished cooking.) If preferred, season the naan with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
- Then, to keep the naan warm, lightly cover it with a clean towel. Repeat with the remaining dough until all naan pieces are cooked, adjusting the pan’s heat as needed to maintain a high temperature (but not overly hot, so it burns the bread).
- Serve. Warm it up and enjoy it!
What is Traditional Naan Made from?
A basic naan recipe combines white or whole wheat flour, active dry yeast, salt, and water. After a few minutes of kneading, the dough is laid aside to rise for a few hours. The dough is divided into balls (approximately 100 g or 3.5 oz apiece) and flattened before being fried.
Naan is produced with all-purpose flour traditionally made with whole wheat flour. Yeast. Naan is a leavened (yeast-based) bread that is thicker and airier. Roti is baked without yeast and is unleavened, similar to a tortilla rather than a puffy bread like naan or pita.
Naan bread, offered in every Indian restaurant globally, most likely originated between India and Pakistan. Naan extended throughout Myanmar, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and the Chinese area of Xingjian over the centuries.
The traditional Indian flatbread, naan, is baked in a “tandoor” oven. Tandoors are a hot clay oven that employs charcoal or wood to generate up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit heat. It frequently adheres to the interior of the oven’s sides, creating air pockets and baking them to fluffy perfection.
Is Yeast or Baking Powder Better for Naan?
Naans receive their bubbly texture from yeast, even though they’re flatbreads (traditionally from wild yeasts). Some more modern adaptations, such as Vivek Singh’s Curry, utilize baking powder instead, with more bicarbonate of soda added by Jaffrey. It’s quite easy to make naan bread from scratch, and creating a batch takes less than 10 minutes because it doesn’t contain yeast. Invert the container so that the smooth side is facing up.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of 6-7mm / 1/4″ thick circles. Heat a prepared, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat, but not until it smokes. On the first side, cook the naan for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden – it will puff up!
If your dough isn’t rising, try putting it on the bottom rack of the oven with a baking pan filled with hot water. Allow the dough to rise by closing the oven door. Increasing the temperature and moisture in the dough can help it rise by activating the yeast. You might also try increasing the amount of yeast in the recipe.
Does Naan Need Yogurt?
The yogurt is used to make the bread soft and fluff, but you may achieve the same results by baking Naan bread with yeast and allowing it to rise. This recipe does not require any form of yogurt. Yeast will do the trick, turning the Naan dough into the softest, bubbliest bread you’ve ever had.
When making naan, use milk instead of yogurt. The method is the same as yogurt, except the quantity is doubled. For example, instead of 1 cup yogurt, use 2 cups warm milk with flour to achieve a thicker consistency similar to conventional yogurt.
Naan loaves of bread are traditionally baked with yeast, flour, water, and salt. Whoever came up with the idea for this yogurt-based, yeast-free naan bread is a genius! The yogurt makes the naan extra soft and fluffy, yet it takes a fraction of the time and labor!
Traditionally, yogurt is used to tenderize the dough. Because of its acidity, yogurt relaxes the gluten in the bread, making it softer. It also lacked the sour taste that yogurt gives baked products. The bottom line: In a pinch, use 1/4 less milk than the amount of yogurt asked for in the recipe and substitute buttermilk or milk spiked with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar (aka homemade buttermilk).
Do Naan and Pita Taste the Same?
Although a longer fermentation (rising) time might improve the flavor of pita bread, naan bread is often superior in terms of flavor. Because pita bread is so simple, the food it’s served with enhances its flavor. Pita bread isn’t as flavorful as naan on its own. Pita is far healthier than naan, given the components that may be used to make it. It contains fewer sugars and fats than naan, which is heavy in fat and calories. The greatest naan bread substitutes are Roti, paratha, puri, pita bread, or tortilla.
Despite their minor variances, they’re all great as a snack or served alongside your favorite Indian curry. When it comes to nutrition, these popular ethnic pieces of bread are nothing alike. Pita and naan pieces of bread are both popular for dipping and eating with Greek and Indian cuisines, yet their nutritional profiles are significantly different. Pita bread is drier and less moist than naan bread.
What’s the Difference Between Naan and Bread?
The name is derived from the Persian word non, which means bread. Unlike pita, naan is made with yogurt, milk, and occasionally eggs or butter, giving it a softer texture. After making the dough, bakers roll it into a ball and smack it against the inside walls of a tandoor or clay oven. As the bread cooks, it puffs up and bubbles. Naan is higher in nutritional value than pita or white bread. While it has more carbs and sugars, it earns its image as a healthy choice thanks to its high protein and fiber content.
It holds a unique place in Indian cuisine because it can be stuffed with a filling or used to scoop other dishes and gravies. A basic naan recipe combines white or whole wheat flour, active dry yeast, salt, and water. After a few minutes of kneading, the dough is laid aside to rise for a few hours. Chapati, like naan bread, has a higher calorie, sugar, and sodium content than other types of bread. Chapati is healthier than naan bread variations prepared with white flour since it is constantly made with whole wheat.
Making homemade naan is a simple way to elevate nightly dinners and wow your guests with restaurant-quality results. Curries, soups, and dips go great with naan and fill the dough with whichever flavors you like. Unlike many other ingredients you may already have in your pantry, these recipes will also save you money. And nothing beats the taste of freshly baked naan!