Don’t you just love fresh bread? There’s no smell better than the smell of fresh bread. I try to bake all sorts of bread so we can have homemade bread for breakfast in the weekend. Every now and then I make a small batch of flatbreads for dipping into hummus or soup, or as a wrap for things like shawarma or falafel. When we have curry I usually make some naan to go with it. Homemade naan involves a bit of work, but the effort is well spent. When you make it yourself you will never buy the naan from the supermarket again that look like stiff flip flops.
Naan bread is an Indian-style bread traditionally baked in a tandoori oven; a cylindrical clay oven. The great thing about a tandoori oven is that it can reach temperatures of almost 500c degrees which means the naan breads cook almost instantly. Even though I know they taste way better when cooked in a tandoor oven I don’t think I want to stick my hands in one of them to slap the dough on the sides of it. I’d rather use the next best thing which is my baking steel. If you don’t have a baking steel you can always use a smoking hot skillet. The naan should cook fairly quickly, about a minute per side, but again it depends on how hot your skillet is. You will notice that the dough will bubble up nicely as you cook it.
These naan are deliciously soft, pillowy, airy and have beautiful golden brown blisters on the surface. Make sure you finish them off by brushing them fresh-off-the-skillet with some melted butter. You will absolutely love them and if you are going through the trouble of serving an Indian-inspired feast, go the extra mile and make this naan bread spiked with coriander to add to the experience.
If you are scared of yeast or had trouble in the past making bread , flatbreads like naan are a great place to start. So let’s get in the kitchen and make some naan!!!!
Two things before you can start:
- I like to use yogurt in my naan recipe which will definitely make the bread a bit more chewy but also give it a mild acidity. Just so you know, because if you don’t like that you can leave it out and at a tad more water to replace it.
- You can use active dry yeast which you have to activate first, but you may also use instant or rapid yeast which doesn’t require you to dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and sugar. I always use the latter just because it’s easier to find here in the Netherlands and easier to use.
I remember the last time I made a butter chicken I did not have enough flour to make naan. I tried to borrow some from my indian neighbour, but he said he had naan left.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!
Source: adapted from ‘Felicity Cloake’s perfect naan bread’ – The Guardian website
- 300 g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1.5 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 10 gr coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbs natural yoghurt
- 2 tbs melted butter, plus extra to brush
- 150 ml warm water
- a little vegetable oil, to grease your skillet
Put the flour, the sugar, the yeast, the nigella seeds, the coriander and the salt into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the yoghurt and melted butter. Mix on low speed and then gradually add the water until it’s well combined. Raise the speed to medium and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. (If you don’t have a standing mixer put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it into a dough. Then you tip it out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 12 minutes until smooth and a little less sticky).
Put the smooth dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and leave in a draught-free place until doubled in size: roughly 90–120 minutes. In the summer it will probably take less and in the winter more time so just judge your dough by looking at it.
When it doubled in size you tip the dough back out on to the lightly floured surface and knock the air out, then divide into eight balls. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over a very high heat for five minutes and put the oven on low. Prepare the melted butter for brushing the fresh-off-the-skillet naan.
Flatten one of the balls and roll it into a flat circle. Pick it up by the top to stretch it slightly into a teardrop shape, then put it in the hot skillet (I used my bakingsteel for this). When it starts to bubble, turn it over and cook until the other side is browned in patches. Turn it back over and cook until there are no doughy bits remaining.