Naan is a simple Indian flatbread that is perfect for scooping up sauce and rice and it makes a perfect accompaniment to just about any meal, Indian or not. Plus, we love to use the leftovers to make mini-pizzas. Not exactly staying true to traditional Indian food, but delicious nonetheless.
I have an old recipe for naan, but to be truthful, the recipe I’m posting today (that I’ve made at least six or seven times in the last couple of months) completely blows it out of the water. Tender, light and buttery, this naan is irresistible.
If you are afraid of yeast, please – don’t be! Naan (and other flatbreads) is a great place to start if you are a newbie to working with yeast. Check out this tutorial for some helps, as well as the recipe instructions below that include directions for using either active dry or instant yeast. Also, you can email me at any time with questions on working with yeast. My lifelong goal is to make bread/yeast/dough experts out of all of us!
Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.
- 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons, melted butter
- Pour the milk into a liquid measure and heat in the microwave until warm to the touch (about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). If using active dry yeast, mix the sugar and yeast into the milk and let it sit for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is foamy and the yeast has activated. Once the yeast/milk mixture is foamy, pour the mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour (proceed with the second paragraph of the recipe). If using instant yeast, pour the warm milk into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the sugar, instant yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Proceed as directed below.
- Mix well to combine. Continue adding flour gradually in small amounts, until a soft dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough by mixer or hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest at room temperature, covered lightly with greased plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.
- After the dough has rested, turn it onto a lightly floured surface (I like to use my roul’pat for this) and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rounding each into a ball shape. Cover the pieces with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, try grilling the dough on a lightly oiled outdoor grill or use a hot griddle to bake the naan – you’ll have to experiment with cooking times but I’ve seen either of those methods used with cooking naan also.)
- Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, one by one, roll each piece into a circle about 6-8 inches wide, depending on how thin or thick you want your naan. Lay the circle of dough on the hot pizza stone and spritz lightly with water. Close the oven and bake the naan for 2-4 minutes, until it is lightly puffed (some pieces will puff more than others) and brown spots begin to appear on the top. Remove the naan from the baking stone and place on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with melted butter. Stack the hot naan on top of each other as it comes out of the oven. Cover with a towel and let the naan cool completely or serve warm.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Evil Shenanigans
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