How to Make Naan Bread at Home
In the Indian subcontinent, naan bread is a particularly popular kind of flatbread. Usually served with savory dishes such as curries, chicken tandoori or kebab, naan breads are sure to whet anyone’s appetite. And while it is easy to have it delivered from your favorite Indian restaurant, homemade naan is much better. So, if you are eager to learn how to make this delicious Indian flatbread, read along!
Ingredients for Homemade Naan
- Package active dry yeast 5 g
- Warm water 1 cup
- White granulated sugar ¼ cup
- Milk 3 tbsp.
- Egg (lightly beaten) 1
- Salt 2 tsp.
- Bread flour 4-1/2 cups (1125 ml)
- Minced garlic 2 tsp.
- Butter (melted) ¼ cup
This naan bread recipe serves 14 flatbreads in total.
- Mixing yeast with warm water
Fill a large bowl with warm water and add the yeast to it. After the yeast has been added to the water, it should start frothing up. Wait for at least 10 minutes or so till the mix appears to be foamy and frothy.
In the rare instance that the water and yeast do not foam up, you will need to re-do the whole process once more, using a new packet of yeast and warm water. The absence of foam basically means that the yeast is dead which in turn will not be able to lift the dough at all. Hence, you need to start afresh after dumping the first mix.
- Adding rest of the ingredients
After the foamy mix forms, proceed to add the other ingredients on the list – sugar, milk, beaten egg, salt and flour – to it. Use a wooden spoon to fully mix all the ingredients and form a soft dough.
It will be best to add the flour in small parts which will prevent you from adding excess flour. Also, it will be easier to gauge when you have added a sufficient amount of flour in order to formulate the dough. When you finally feel that you have added enough, do not put in more. A part of the bread flour may as well be leftover but it will be better not to use it.
- Kneading the dough
On a clean, flat surface of a kitchen counter or working surface, lightly dust some flour. Transfer the dough in the bowl to this floured surface and move on to kneading the dough. Use your hands for kneading till you get a smooth dough which is easy to work with. This process should not take more than 6-8 minutes because by then, the dough should be formed.
If the initial dough seems much too sticky to work with, lightly coat your palms and fingers with flour. This will essentially keep the dough from sticking to your hands and make it easier to work with.
- Letting the dough rest
When you are done kneading the dough, let the dough rest for 1 hour. This will allow the dough to rise and get airy which in turn will make softer flatbreads.
Take a large mixing bowl and give its inner surface a light coat of oil. If you like, you may substitute the oil for non-stick cooking spray. Then put the dough inside the oiled bowl with a clean and damp towel covering it and the bowl. Do make sure that the place where you leave the dough out for an hour is warm. Then you wait for the dough to rise and let it increase twofold in volume.
- Adding garlic
After an hour has passed, the dough will have risen and taken up a lot of room in the bowl. To work with the dough, the first thing you need to do is punch it down with your hand. Then dump the minced garlic onto the dough and knead well to evenly spread the garlic around.
Naan is often made without garlic which is only used to for additional flavoring. So, if you are not a fan of garlic naan, leave it out. Just simply punch down the dough after it has risen and do not bother kneading for a second time.
- Separating to smaller portions
Grab a hold of a small part of the dough (enough to form a ball with a diameter of 3-4 inches) and separate it from the rest of the dough. From this, form a smooth, even ball by rolling it in between your palms in circular motions. Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready beforehand and put the dough on it.
Repeat the same process until all of the dough in the mixing bowl has been turned to smaller portions and placed on the sheet.
An important thing to keep in mind is that when you position the dough pieces on the sheet, you must keep a minimum of 4 inches between each chunk. This is crucial because each will need space to expand and spread without overlapping the others.
- Letting the dough rise again
With the dough portions placed properly on the baking sheet, you will need to place a damp towel over them once again. Leave them to rest for about 30 minutes which should be enough time for them to become twice their volumes.
- Rolling the dough out
Once the dough pieces have expanded again, you will need to roll them out into flat discs. Before you start though, dust your rolling pin with flour – this will make it easier to maneuver. When you roll the individual balls of dough, make sure they have a thickness less than 1 inch.
- Grilling or baking the naan
In order to grill the naan, preheat your grill over high heat. Put a little oil in it prior to placing the naan on it. Cook one side for 2-3 minutes during which it will rise and brown lightly. Before you move on to cooking the other side for 2-4 minutes, brush the side that has not yet been cooked with melted butter. Then flip it over and cook until the said side turns brown as well. Do the same for the remaining naans.
For those who want to bake their naans, preheat your oven to 500°F with a baking stone or sheet inside. Afterward, brush a little water on each naan and place a few of them on the baking sheet or stone. Keep some space in between each naan and form only one layer. Proceed to let them bake for 4-5 minutes. They should be golden brown when taken out of the oven. Keep the melted butter at hand and brush it on the flatbreads right away. Repeat the process for all the naans.
Serve the gorgeous Indian bread with your desired dishes, preferably still warm. And then enjoy the fruits of your labor!