Naan Recipe

Naan present some of the same challenges pizzas do: how to cook both the top and bottom to charred deliciousness in a home oven? It’s a bit of a dilemma given that both types of flat bread are traditionally baked in extremely hot wood or coal ovens (a tandoor in the case of naan, a wood oven in the case of pizza). This technique, that combines a hot oven with the broiler, is my preferred solution. Alternately you can grill naan or fry them in a cast iron skillet, both popular techniques. You’ll need:

11 ounces (2 cups plus two tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
a generous pinch of baking powder
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup) milk (room temperature)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) yogurt (room temperature)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) olive oil
More oil and coarse salt for a topping

In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle (beater) combine all the dry ingredients and stir them to combine. Combine the milk, yogurt and oil in a a small bowl or a measure, and stir them to combine. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and turn the machine on to medium-low. Mix until the dough starts to come together, then switch to the dough hook and knead for 4-6 minutes until a soft, smooth and somewhat sticky dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise until doubled, 2-3 hours.

When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and set a rack in the upper third of the oven. Divide the dough into six portions of equal size. Using a pin, roll the balls out into an oblong shape, about 8 inches long. If you wish you can tug them into the traditional teardrop shape, though it’s not strictly necessary. Transfer as many will fit onto a lightly greased sheet pan and reserve the rest for a second baking.

Brush or drizzle some oil on each naan and sprinkle on some coarse salt. Bake the naan on an upper rack for 12-14 minutes until they puff up nicely. Turn on the broiler and toast the tops of the baked naan until the tops blister and blacken a bit. Repeat with the remaining naan. Serve warm.

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19 Responses to Naan Recipe

  1. Mari says:

    Why do you prefer bake/broil over cast iron/grill? Is there a texture difference?

    • joepastry says:

      There is, Mari. I think pan fried naan has more of a spongy texture versus the lighter and crispier texture you get with high oven heat.

      - Joe

  2. Nahid says:

    Dear Joe:
    I love your site and have been following that for a couple of weeks now. I am truly enjoying it. Just wanted to comment on the word “Nan”, nan is a Persian (Farsi) word, originated from Iran(Persia). In Iran all types of breads are referred to as nan, basically nan means Bread. Then going from Iran to India just one type of bread is called nan. which is different from all the nans Iranian have.
    I love to know if you know any of Iranian Breads, like Sangak, Barbari, Lavash, Taftoon, Komaj and so on. Sangak is the healthiest and most delicious high fiber bread which is made in a brick oven over hot gravel. I am wondering if you can make that and teach us how to simulate the oven at home.

    • joepastry says:

      Thank you, Nahid! I’m very glad you’re having a good time here. I also thank you for the excellent information. In answer to your question, I have made lavash once before. My home oven isn’t big enough for sangak I don’t think, but I might be able to do it in my big wood oven. That would be fun to try!

      Where are you writing from?

      - Joe

    • Nahid says:

      I live in Cincinnati.
      You are right, Sangak is a yard or yard and half long if you want to look axactly the same as original. Your wood oven is a fantastic oven to simiulate the Sangaki’s Tanoor (we don’t say it Tandoor, But I have heard that Steven Raichlen calls it tandoor also).

      • joepastry says:

        Interesting challenge, Nahid!

        I may try something less ambitious for starters. What about some lavash, perhaps?

        - Joe

        • Nahid says:

          Joe, Lavash are extremely thin, some of them are so thin that you can see the other side when you hold them up. There is two types of rolling pin used in the process, first one is just the French or German rolling pin, the other on is a very long and its diameter is less than an inch. I never seen those pins here. My mom always made Lavash. but I never mastered using the thin rolling pin which makes the bread paper thin. Lavashs are round and about two feet in diameter.
          After dough is rolled out, they spread it on a pillow (it is something similar to a firm round pillow). With the help of that pillow they stick the dough to the side of oven. lavash ovens are usually a hole in the ground with sides made of pottory clay) . It is pity that I am hearing traditional ovens and bread making are all replacing with mechanical ones even in my country.
          I would love to see how you make the lavash?

          • joepastry says:

            I’m going to try these before I abandon my flatbread phase. I love lavash to much not to try it. It’s going to take some fiddling to be sure. I’ll let you know!

            Thanks for the help!

            - Joe

  3. Frankly says:

    I have tried about a dozen recipes for naan & never had anything I liked. I’ll check this recipe against the ones I have & if this is different I’ll give it a whirl. I’m thinking there is some ingredient that is different, like the European flour that makes a difference in French bread.

    • joepastry says:

      See what you think, Frankly! Naan is a way of making bread as much as a recipe. Maybe you have yet to hit on the technique that produces your perfect naan!

      - Joe

  4. pat says:

    Joe, is the yogurt essential or can I sub something else in for it? I don’t mind yogurt I just rarely have it on hand.

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Pat! Buttermilk makes a fine substitute for yogurt if that’s handy. If not you can simply use milk. The yogurt is there for flavor more than anything, so it won’t effect the performance of the dough.

      - Joe

  5. Jen says:

    Hi Joe, I’m really excited for this! Is there a reason that you are using olive oil instead of ghee? Is it just a question of what you have on hand?

    Also, while you’re in the Indian subcontinent, culinarily speaking, can you be persuaded to whip up some samosas? :) Mm, and gulab jamun for dessert :)

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Jen!

      Great question and yes,it’s because I didn’t have any around. I should add that butter is a perfectly fine fat to use as well, either for the dough or for finishing (though it should go on after the baking so it doesn’t burn). Thanks!

      And…maybe!

      - Joe

  6. Thames says:

    Well I just made this and it was great. It passed the ultimate test – my kids said I should make it again!

  7. Nevy says:

    I’ve been a loyal reader for your blog for some time but I always lurked. I wanted to send you a note that I really loved the recent international bread recipe series. I’ve made everything from bao to the naan and each time has been fantastic.

    Yesterday I made the naan recipe but family interrupted my baking so I had to put half the dough into the fridge. I wasn’t sure how it would be a second day but it turned out to be even better! I used a pizza stone and my oven was about 560F. The naan dough was very supple and it made for a very flavourful and chewy flat bread. Like you, I like things with a bit more colour and the crispier naan was fantastic.

    I just wanted to say thanks for the recipes! If you ever considering doing an upgrade of sorts on your site, would you consider putting the recipes in grams? It’s great to see you use oz where most bloggers are still in the dark and only use cups. I find using grams even more precise.

  8. Meg says:

    Hello, Thank you for the nice recipe. Your naan looks great. Could you tell me what is broiler? You mentioned you put them in broiler for 20 seconds? Is it something like a grill? Im European and broiler means different things but nothing in common with baking. Thanks..

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Meg!

      Of course, how silly of me. In the States it’s the lower part of the oven where there’s an open flame or heating element that can be used for grilling. In Britain toasters are above the oven, and can be used for that purpose. If there isn’t anything like that in your oven you can brown them in a skillet.

      Thanks for the question!

      - Joe

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