The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Naan Bread

PaddyL's picture

Naan Bread

Is Naan bread supposed to be thin and soft, or a slightly thicker flatbread, and does anyone have a tried and true recipe which does not call for a tandoor oven or the equivalent?  I watched an Indian lady on YouTube making what she called naan bread but which looked more like pita to me.  The stuff that passes for naan at our local supermarket, is very good, but it's thin and pliable.  I did make a recipe once, from a Jeffrey Alford/Naomi Duguid book, and it came out much thicker and on the bland side.  Mind you, I didn't have the nigella seeds called for, but even so.  I've got other recipes, some calling for eggs, yogurt, baking soda and or powder along with yeast, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to be like.  Thank you in advance.

fancypantalons's picture

Good, tandoori-made naan is traditionally teardrop shaped, and in a single piece can vary a bit in thickness, from as thin as 1/8" and very crispy, to 1/2" and nice and chewy (this is the *best* part, IMHO).  It should be flat, light but not inflated (ie, the bread should be a bit airy, but not really bubbly), soft and "stretchy" in texture, and so in the video that you mention (which I've also watched), I use a variation of the method, opting to pierce the dough with a fork to ensure it doesn't inflate too much.

The kind I make uses yogurt as part of the recipe, which I think adds a nice depth of flavour, and compares fairly well (as well as you can with an oven :) to the stuff I've had at our local indian restaurants (we're lucky to have at least four really good, tandoor-equipped Indian restaurants).  Of course, you'll never get the perfect texture without a tandoor, which is able to crisp the outside of the bread without drying out the interior, but you can get close... ish.


BTW, here's an excellent shot of some tandoori-baked naan:


LeadDog's picture

I love Naan and have made some really good tasting Naan using this recipe.

Naan (Indian Flat Bread)Reply with quote

Makes 6 large breads.
2/3 cup hand hot milk (about 95°-100°F)
2 teaspoons extra fine sugar (I used regular sugar)
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast (I used wine yeast)
3.75 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus a little extra
2/3 cup plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Put milk in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and the yeast. Stir to mix. (I didn't stir mine because it would damage the wine yeast) Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until frothy. (I stirred mine at this time and let it sit another 20 minutes).

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, the yeast mixture, the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the yoghurt, and the egg. Mix and form a ball of dough.

Empty the ball of dough on to a clean work surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until it is smooth and satiny. Form into a ball. Pour about 1/4 teaspoon oil into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

I started up my charcoal oven about 30 minutes later. I had the vents very open and when I was cooking the thermometer was in the 500°F range.

Punch down the dough and knead it again. Divided it into 6 equal balls. Roll out the first one into a tear shaped naan. My first one wasn't thin enough so it was a very good fat Naan. I put the first on a cookie sheet and placed it on the fire for 5 minutes. While it is cooking I rolled out the other 5 Naans. After 5 minutes pull the Naan from the cooker and flip it over on the open grill. This will brown the top of the Naan and put grill marks there. At this time notice if the Naan is over or under cooked. I ended up cook the rest at 4 minutes and flipping them over on the open grill for 30 seconds.

Eat them while they are hot! They were very Naangood.


verminiusrex's picture

I have my recipe up as a google knol (its a new program they have, don't be suprised if you haven't heard it before). I'll copy the text here, but the original is here


Naan Bread Recipe Naan is that excellent flatbread made with yogurt. Traditionally it is cooked in a tandoor oven, but most of us don't have a spare thousand dollars to spend on one. So here is a recipe for a great naan bread that you cook in a skillet on the stove top.
This recipe was a breakthrough for me because I'd had no luck replicating the naan bread I'd get at Indian restaurants. But this turned out to be a pretty good home version.
This recipe can also be cooked in an oven using a pizza stone to make a flatbread that is softer and fluffier than the skillet bread. Contentslessmore Yields: 8 flatbreadsINGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb bread flour (3 1/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 6 oz plain yogurt (one snack cup)
  • 3/4 cup water, warm
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

PREPARATION:1. Stir together the bread flour, salt, and instant yeast.

2. Add in the yogurt, honey, oil and water and stir with a spoon until combined.

3. Knead this with the dough hook of your stand mixer for a few minutes until the dough is smooth, or hand knead for about 6-8 minutes.

4. Put the dough into a greased bowl and let it double in size, about an hour or two.

5. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 8 pieces.

6. Roll each piece between your hands for a moment to deflate and form into a disc shape, then place them all into a greased container and cover, let them rest for about half an hour (a 9"x11" baking dish worked well for me.)

7. Heat up a nonstick skillet on your stove top, about medium heat.

8. Take one of the dough discs and roll it flat on a floured surface, then toss onto the skillet for one minute. Turn the bread over and brown on the other side the same amount of time. You may have to raise or lower the temperature slightly to get browning without charring.

9. While one is baking, roll out the next bit of dough.

You can also bake these on a pizza stone at 500 degrees for about 6 minutes. Dimple the top so that they are less likely to swell up like balloons, unless that happens to be what you wanted.



ejm's picture

We LOVE it when our naan swell up like balloons! A couple of days ago, we were thrilled when one of the breads not only puffed up like a Macy's Thanksgiving balloon but STAYED in that position even after being taken out of the oven!

One thing we do differently is to shape the naan about 15 minutes (or so) before baking them and covering them with a tea towel to keep them moist. Last night's naan made on the barbecue were spectacular. (Did I think to take a photo? Alas, no.)


ejm's picture

We make naan on the barbecue, on a stone in the oven and on the stovetop. All methods work very well (stovetop is our least preferred method and barbecue is our most preferred - mainly because the barbecue takes the least amount of time).

I use a recipe based on the recipes in Madhur Jaffery's cookbooks (probably consulted "Taste of India"), and "Entertaining Indian Style" by Shehzad Husain. I use plain yoghurt, butter, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, water, salt, active dry yeast and a pinch of sugar.

Here is our naan recipe. (I really should update my instructions for how I melt the butter... I bring half the water to a boil, cut butter into pieces into the mixing bowl and pour the boiling water overtop to melt the butter.) By the time that the butter is melted, flours, yoghurt and sugar are added, the mixture is cool enough to add the yeasted water. (I mix active dry yeast with the other half of the unboiled water to rehydrate the yeast.) We sometimes brush the finished naan with butter and sometimes not. It all depends on how rich the rest of the dinner is.


naan, butter chicken, palak paneernaan, rogan josh, palak paneer


edit: The first time we baked the naan on the stovetop was actually because of a blown fuse in our oven. Necessity really is the mother of invention (even though we didn't exactly invent the idea of baking on the stovetop...). -ejm

kanin's picture

I sometimes use potato water for hydrating the dough when making this. It helps with the pliability of the end product. Adding a some mashed potatoes really help, too.

I always dock the thinly stretched dough and cook it 1-2 inches from a broiler over a preheated baking stone. I also keep the oven door open so that the broiler is on full blast once ready to bake. It usually takes 2-3 minutes for the naan to get done this way.

PaddyL's picture

They all look like the ones we buy, but they probably taste a whole lot better!  I've got your recipes, for which many thanks, and I will be trying them when my shoulder has settled down after its long bread knead yesterday.  Can't wait to try these!

PaddyL's picture

I used the recipe with 6 oz. of yogurt, and had to add a little more water, but my gosh they're terrific!  They look just like the ones we buy, which are tandoor-made, but the taste is so much better.  I brushed them with clarified butter while they were on the frying pan, and after turning them over, they got another swipe with the butter.  They made up part of our salad supper, warm, and so, so good!  Thank you again.