Ironically, naan was the first Indian bread I ever made, and yet it’s taken this long for me to be able to confidently say I have a good recipe for it. Just like any other Indian bread, there’s 1001 different variations on making naan, but the basic principle remains the same: yeast, flour, dairy. It was that ratio that I just couldn’t quite pin down.
To start with, I knew that I didn’t want to put dairy in it. Not that I have anything against it myself, but with my son’s allergy to all things dairy, and my own insatiable desire to veganize all the things, it just made sense that I skip the dairy. I subbed it with a plain, unsweetened coconut milk yogurt and I actually liked it even better. It brought a smooth, soft texture to the dough, and imparted a very subtle coconut-y sweetness that felt perfectly natural.
My second order of business was the flour. I’ve found with many other Indian breads that using a whole wheat flour which has been sifted works best. You get the nutty flavor of whole wheat, and by removing the bran, you don’t inhibit the formation of gluten as much. With naan though, I found that plain old white flour, or a half sifted wheat/half white ratio works best. I’ve done it both ways and have been pleased with the results either way. I don’t recommend doing 100% wheat for this though, as you will get a noticeably lesser rise. I put my favorite combo in the recipe below which I think contributes good wheat-y flavor without sacrificing texture.
Adding garlic is totally optional. I love garlic naan, so I thought it only natural that I include my method on here. If however you’d rather just have them plain, you can definitely do that too.
Our favorite brand of yogurt for this recipe is So Delicious.
- 1 tsp Yeast
- 1/2 Cup Luke Warm Water
- 1 tsp White Granulated Sugar
- 1 1/3 Cup White Flour
- 2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour, sifted to remove bran
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/3 - 1/2 Cup Coconut Yoghurt
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan until shine apears. Add the two cloves of garlic and cook over medium low heat until garlic starts to brown, but does not appear burnt. Remove from pan and set aside for later.
Add the yeast and sugar to the 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof.
Add the whole wheat flour, salt and the white flour to a large bowl and stir. Add the Tbsp of olive oil and use your fingers to rub it in. The flour should look like very fine sand when it is all incorporated.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Add a 1/3 cup of coconut yogurt and stir to combine, adding more yogurt if necessary until mixture form a soft but workable mass.
On a floured surface, knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, about 5 minutes. Place the dough ball, seam side down into a greased bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes.
Uncover the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces, using a scale if necessary. Form the dough into balls by rolling it on the counter. Set the dough balls back on the lightly floured counter top, cover with lightly greased plastic and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a cast iron skillet that is at least 10" to high heat. Working with one naan at a time stretch it, (or roll it) into a tear drop shape. You can do other shapes too, but the teardrop is the signature one.
Slap the naan into the hot pan, it will immediately start to puff up. Allow it to cook for a minute or two, and then flip it with a tongs to finish cooking. While it is finishing brush the top side of the naan with some of the garlic infused olive oil.
After the naan has finished cooking on both sides, remove it and start the second one. You may need to reduce the heat of your cast iron pan as you go to prevent burning.
Keep the naan tightly wrapped, or in an airtight container if you won't be using them right away.