Naan is a member of an extended family of flat breads, but while it looks on the surface to be similar to its cousin, the pita, it’s thicker, and much more tender thanks to the addition of yogurt in the dough.
Naan is a traditional Indian bread perfect for sopping up curry sauces, but is also ideal for everything from dipping in oils and spreads like hummus, to sandwiches, or pizza bread.
How you use it is up to you, but I guarantee once these soft bread rounds are in your kitchen, you’ll find all kinds of uses.
A Few Tips:
Naan is traditionally kneaded by hand, but I used the dough hook on my Kitchenaid. It was so easy, and this is a great way to minimize flour content which can yield a tougher bread.
Even in summer, I place the bowl of dough to rise in the cavity of my microwave oven and close the door. If it’s a cold day, I place a cup of very hot water in the cavity with it, to warm up the air. That way it stays safe from any cool breezes.
I made this at roughly 7000 feet above sea level. To make this at sea level, use 1 package active dry yeast, add an additional 1/2 cup of flour, and stir 2/3 cup warm water into the yogurt instead of 3/4 cup.
High Altitude Baking: Whole Wheat Roasted Garlic Naan
makes 8 naan flatbreads
Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (including rising time)
Cook Time: 3 minutes per naan
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105˚ – 115˚)
- 10 ounces (2 cups) bread flour
- 5 ounces (1 cup) whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling over cooked flatbreads
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used full fat yogurt)
- 3/4 cup warm water (no warmer than 120˚)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl and pan
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves
- Chives (optional)
- Fresh minced rosemary (optional)
Stir the yeast into 1/4 cup warm water until the yeast dissolves. Let stand for 10 minutes. You should start to see some bubbling action.
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or if kneading by hand, combine in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, 3/4 cup warm water, olive oil, and agave nectar together. Stir in the yeast.
If using a stand mixer, start the dough hook on the lowest speed and pour in the liquid. Continue to mix on low until at least three-quarters of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Advance to the next highest speed, and mix with the dough hook for 10 minutes. Add the roasted garlic cloves.
If kneading by hand, form a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid in. Using a flexible dough scraper designed for bowls, fold the dry ingredients into the wet by moving the scraper along the edge of the bowl starting at the bottom of the bowl and moving it upwards along the bowl and in towards the liquid. Continue until a dough starts to form. Empty it onto a work surface and begin to knead. It can be a sticky dough, so add flour as needed. Knead until soft. You should be able to press it with a finger and the dough will spring back a bit. Towards the end of kneading, add the roasted garlic cloves.
Oil a large, clean bowl and scoop the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm area of the kitchen, free of any cool breezes. Allow to rise for one hour, or until it’s increased in volume by 25% – 50%. It likely won’t double in volume, and doesn’t need to.
Scoop the dough out onto a work surface, and separate into eight sections. Remove one section at a time, always covering the remaining sections with plastic. Roll each section into a circle roughly six inches in diameter. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and cover with plastic. It’s fine to stack them. Let rest for ten minutes.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add one of the flatbreads. Allow to cook for one to two minutes, or until lightly browned. They will bubble up in large bubbles – this is completely normal. Flip, and cook for another minute. Sprinkle a little salt over the cooked surface. Remove to a plate, and repeat with the others. If the oil starts to smoke, reduce the heat or remove the pan from the heat for a minute or two. I did this while continuing to cook the flatbreads without a problem, making this very quick work.
These are fantastic warm, fresh from the pan, sprinkled with a few chives, or fresh rosemary, or just plain. Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator to allow them to last longer. They can be frozen for up to six months, but mine never last that long.