Easy Naan Bread Recipe, Hold the Yogurt and Add Some Yeast (Traditional Indian Bread)

This easy homemade naan bread only requires 6 simple ingredients (yes it has yeast, but don't be afraid). It's soft, chewy, and comes together in just about 30 minutes.


Anyone else absolutely love the fluffy, perfectly charred naan that comes fresh to your table at every Indian restaurant? I’m not sure there’s anything better.


One day my husband decided to make a Indian curry dish and we realized we had 0 naan... You can't have curry with out some Naan to soak up the delicious sauce! So I hopped on Pinterest to find a simple recipe, but I was bummed because so many recipes called for 'yogurt', but I didn't have any. I stumbled upon this one recipe (no yogurt) by Sprinkle and Sprouts, her recipe was so easy to make. Yes, there is yeast in this recipe, but don't let that ingredient scare you. It's so easy to use in this recipe.


Now that you know why I wanted to make Naan bread, lets look into what it really is.


Backstory of Naan Bread


Naan bread is a leavened flatbread usually made using Yeast as the leavening ingredient and the special part of this flatbread is being cooked in the 'Tandoor'; hence the name Tandoori Naan. Ever since going to my first Indian restaurant and trying this delicious bread, I’ve always wanted to try making a homemade version, and after playing around with some recipes, I knew I could make some pretty tasty Naan bread really easily.


A Tandoor is basically a round clay pot. It's normally heated by super hot charcoal or wood fire and the temperature can go up to 900°F (that's why I said "super hot").


Once the pot reaches that high temperature, the naan bread dough is then stuck to the sides of the pot where it's exposed to direct fire to cook - that cooking style results in the classic brown bubbles that you see on top of the naan.


Of course, no one has a tandoor oven at home (if you do, that is pretty cool and you most likely already know how to make naan). But you can still master the brown bubbles even with a regular home skillet. If you have a cast iron pan, use that to cook your naan. They retain heat so well. If not, a heavy skillet will do (I cooked mine without a non-stick skillet).


Ok, so now you know the story - lets get to baking!


How to Make Homemade Naan Bread


Start by warming up some water. There are a lot of recipes that call for a dairy product like milk, yogurt or sour cream. They say it adds an additional flavor, thickness and a slight fattiness. I just stick to water - its easy, I always have it and it's dairy-free for my toddler.

Add the flour next. I like to start off by adding 1 1/2 cups first. And then I add more as the dough mixes. Depending on how humid the day is, I have to vary the amount of flour in the recipe.


Next you'll need yeast. Don't be intimidated by this ingredient. There is nothing fancy in this recipe that will make it hard to create. Just add the 1 tsp the recipe calls for and move into the next step of adding your 2 other dry ingredients, salt and sugar. Mix the 4 dry ingredients for a minute until all is well blended on low in your stand mixer.


Last, add in the warm water + oil mix on low (speed 2 is what I set mine at) for around 10 minutes. During this process I slowly add a little more flour until it gets to a better consitancy and is not super sticky. Let it mix for a good 5- 8 minutes to know if its right. It takes time, in the beginning it will be super sticky, but give it time and then give it a little more flour. Once it's to the point you think it is right (after 10 minutes of mixing) it'll be that nice elastic dough that looks like bread dough.


Final step before cooking (let dough rise), cover the bowl with cling film and let it rise for 20 minutes in a warm space. I live in the north, so my home doesn't have a ton of dry spaces. So I have to create my own 'warm' space. Turn on your oven on the lowest heat, place your dough in an oven safe bowl, lay a damp dish towel on top of the bowl, place in oven, leave oven door cracked while dough rises and turn off the heat.


The fun part!


Plop the dough onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 pieces (if I want small Naan bread, I cut into 8 pieces.) Roll out the individual dough balls into an oval-ish shape with a rolling pin. Heat up the skillet so its super hot.


Place the dough onto the hot skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes on one side, it should start to puff up with big bubbles and charr lightly. This is the look that traditional Naan bread has. Flip the bread and cook for another 1-2 minutes. I found that 2 minutes the magic number, but it will vary depending on hot you have the skillet.


Once you got that perfected color Naan bread, remove it with tongs and place on a plate, drizzle with melted garlic butter. Cover with a tea towel in a warm basket or cover with foil and keep in a low oven while you prepare the other breads.


And that is it - tear, dip and enjoy!


Recipe


For the naan breads

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour) (see note 1)

  • 1 tsp dried instant yeast (see note 2)

  • 1/2 tsp table salt

  • pinch sugar

  • 3/4 cup warm water

  • 3 tbsp oil (see note 3)

For the Garlic Butter

  • ½ cup salted butter

  • 2 tsp dried garlic flakes

  • 2 tsp dried cilantro


Instructions

To make the dough (STAND MIXER METHOD)

Set your stand mixer up with a dough hook.

  • Place the flour, yeast, salt and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low to combine.

  • Pour in the water and oil and mix on low for 10 minutes until you have an elastic dough.

  • Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rise for 20 minutes.

To make dough (BY HAND METHOD)

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

  • Add the water and oil, then use a fork or butter knife to combine all the ingredients, once you have a raggy looking dough, start using your hands to bring the dough together, until the sides of the bowl are clean.

  • Empty the dough on a floured board and knead the dough for 15 minutes.

  • Place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave for 20 minutes.

To form and cook the dough

  • Once the dough has sat for 20 minutes, punch it back down and then divide the dough into three roughly equal balls.

  • Place one ball on a floured board and use your hands or a rolling pin to form the naan breads into oval/teardrop shapes (ensure they will fit in your skillet/griddle). (see note 4)

  • Put a heavy skillet/griddle over a high heat and allow it to get searingly hot.

  • Place the dough onto the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, it should start to puff up and charr lightly.

  • Flip the bread and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

  • Remove to a plate and drizzle with the garlic butter.

  • Cover with foil and keep in a low oven whilst you prepare the other breads.

To make the Garlic Butter

  • Place the butter in a small microwavable bowl and microwave for 45-60 seconds or until just melted.

  • Stir in the garlic flakes and dried cilantro.


Notes

  1. Not all cup measures are created equal, I have found that my 4 different sets all give me a different amount of flour! And then depending on how you fill your cup, the quantity of flour will vary quite significantly as well!I lightly pack my cups and then level them off. Start by adding 1 1/2 cups of flour and mixing it, if you find the dough is too wet, add up to 1/2 cup more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If you have scales in the house, then this is the perfect time to use them. By weight you need 10.5oz/300g of flour.

  2. The recipe calls for dry instant yeast, I use either, Red Star Quick-Rise, Fleischmann’s RapidRise Dried Yeast.If you have dry active yeast, then you can use that but you will need to adapt the recipe as follows: Measure the water into the mixing bowl first and dissolve the yeast. To do this just sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water and leave for 5 minutes. You can then add the remaining ingredients and proceed with the recipe.

  3. 3 tbsp of oil = 45ml of oil. (The recipe uses US/UK 15ml tablespoons rather than the AU/NZ 20ml tablespoons)

  4. The dough should be soft, so lightly flour your board or work surface to stop it sticking. Roughly divide the dough into 3 pieces and then roll each piece out until it is a little thicker than 1/4 inch thick. Don’t be too worried about it, just roll it out so it will fit in the skillet or griddle, if some bits are thicker than others it won’t matter, just try and get it anywhere between 1/4″ and a 1/2″ thick. (6mm-9mm)


Nutrition

CALORIES: 317kcal | CARBOHYDRATES: 24g | PROTEIN: 3g | FAT: 22g | SATURATED FAT: 10g | CHOLESTEROL: 40mg | SODIUM: 330mg | POTASSIUM: 61mg | FIBER: 1g | VITAMIN A: 485IU | VITAMIN C: 1.2mg | CALCIUM: 12mg | IRON: 1.6mg


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