Naan (Indian Flatbread)

I work in IT and many of my co-workers are from India. A few of them tell me how their wives make fresh bread from them each and every day. When I saw this recipe I thought that this was what I was going to make, but it turns out that their daily bread is Roti, not Naan. Naan is more for special occasions owing to the longer preparation time and richness from the butter or gravy. I love eating fresh bread and this recipe was not a lot of work, though it took about 24 hours of clock time. However, the real reason I probably won’t make this particular recipe for Naan again (unless I have Indian friends over for dinner) is the huge mess that I made in my kitchen. There are too many easier ways to make bread. The resulting bread was 4-stars.

There has to be an easier way

Also, this post represents somewhat of a milestone for me; this is my 300th recipe.

Comments:

  1. My Indian friends tell me that Naan is best served with vegetarian gravy. I wasn’t sure exactly what vegetarian gravy was, and Chris Kimball doesn’t show any, so I have provided a few examples potato-and-chickpea-based recipes here and here.
  2. Over the course of two days I dirtied the following items preparing this recipe: food processor, large bowl, Pyrex casserole, sheet pan, 12″ skillet and lid, plus flouring my counter over two days. Of course on top of that was a serving plate, measuring cups, etc.
  3. Chris Kimball also has a variation of this recipe that only requires a few hours. It still makes just as big of a mess in your kitchen, but it does so over just 3-1/2 hours.
  4. The recipe just uses regular all-purpose flour. The only thing you may not have in your kitchen is plain, unflavored yogurt.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $0.75 for 4 pieces of bread.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start the day before, then started at 5:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

1/2 cup ice water
1/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1-1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Measure out flour, sugar, and yeast (don’t add salt until step 3) into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 2 seconds to combine. In a measuring cup, mix together ice water, yogurt, 3 tablespoons oil and egg yolk.
  2. Turn on food processor and slowly pour in water mixture. Continue mixing for 10 seconds until there is no more dry flour. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Add salt to dough and process for 60 seconds; until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. I had to add a little more flour.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface and knead by hand for 1 minute, then shape into a ball. Lightly spray a large bowl with vegetable oil , add dough ball and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for between 16 and 24 hours.
  5. The next day about 45 minutes before dinner, set a heat-proof serving plate on an oven rack in the middle of your oven; I had to use a Pyrex casserole.  Pre-heat to 200-degrees.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface cut dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a large plate or baking sheet, and space dough at least 2″ apart. Spray the tops of the dough with a little more vegetable spray and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons butter in microwave for 30 seconds.
  7. Working with 1 dough ball at a time,  use your hands to stretch into a 5″-disk, then use a rolling-pin finish into an evenly thick 9″-round. If the dough is sticking to the counter you may need to adjust how heavily you are flouring your board. Use the tines of a fork to poke the dough about 25 times to prevent the flat bread from becoming puffy.
  8. Pre-heat a teaspoon of oil in a 12″ cast-iron (or regular, heavy-bottomed skillet). When the oil begins to shimmer, use paper-towel to completely remove excess oil. Lightly spray dough with water and put in pre-heated pan with the sprayed-side down. Lightly spray the top-side and immediately cover. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it becomes evenly speckled with brown spots. (while the naan cooks, repeat the stretching, rolling and poking process with the next dough ball). Use a spatula to flip and cover. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. If at any point during cooking the flat bread begins to puff, use the tines of a fork to deflate it. Flip the naan and lightly brush the top with 1 teaspoon of melted butter. Move oven and cover with aluminum foil.
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10 Responses to Naan (Indian Flatbread)

  1. Sonia says:

    Sounds like way too many steps :-/ I have been making home-made naan for 3 years n

    • Sonia says:

      Ugh, sorry, baby attacked my phone and comment got posted. Anyways, when I read the recipe and steps in the CI I knew where they were heading with it, and I was disappointed. For lightest, fluffiest and tastiest naan, my methods doesn’t use yeast, dough rests for 1 hr, and not nearly as messy as the CI method.

  2. Jenn_DC says:

    Congrats on your 300th recipe!

  3. GG says:

    Congrats on your 300th recipe! Just discovered your blog – loving it! I’m a big fan of ATK etc. Just to clarify, I’m from India and what Indians call ‘gravy’ is anything with a sauce. So what your co-workers probably meant was that it tastes good with a vegetarian curry. Although I have to disagree there as I think naans taste best with chicken/lamb curry! Try it next time and let me know!

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