Naan bread is traditionally served with Indian dishes such as curries.
What is the difference between pita bread and naan bread?
Both pita and Naan are considered flatbreads and are often served the same way, but are made differently causing the difference in texture.
- Pita bread uses simple common baking ingredients and yields stiffer bread, ideal for holding different fillings.
- Naan uses common ingredients in addition to yogurt and sometimes eggs, resulting in a softer and pliable texture.
- They also typically differ in size. Pita bread is generally around 5″ in diameter and naan is around 10″ in diameter.
How to Make Naan Bread
DOUGH. Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let sit for five minutes or till bubbly. Add olive oil, yogurt, egg, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Stir till smooth.
KNEAD. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead a few times on a floured counter until smooth.
RISE. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
PREP. Preheat a skillet to medium heat. Cut dough into eight pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece into a 6″ circle.
COOK. Add a little oil or non-stick spray to the skillet. Cook each circle for 2-3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
SEASON. Brush the top (the bubbly side) of each naan with melted butter. I added garlic to my butter, in order to make more of a garlic naan, but that is optional.
Yeast. Normally instant yeast does not need to be activated in warm water first, but for this recipe, it tends to create a fluffier texture than simply adding it to the flour or using active dry yeast.
Faster rise. Proofing the dough can take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Creating a warmer environment will allow the dough to rise twice as fast. There are a few methods I have used successfully. In all cases, use a heat-safe glass or metal bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F then turn the oven OFF. Place a warm damp tea towel over the bowl of dough. Place the bowl in the oven to rise.
- Find a slightly smaller bowl than the one holding the dough. Fill it halfway with HOT water. Place a bowl of dough on top, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. The steam will heat up the dough bowl.
- Cover the bowl of dough with a clean kitchen towel and place it near a warm fireplace or crock pot.
Dough thickness matters. The width of the bread can be anywhere from 5-10 inches wide. The thickness should only be about 3-5mm thick. If rolled too thin they’ll be crispy, but if rolled too thick, they won’t form bubbles.
Cast iron skillet. Homemade Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven or fried in a skillet. If you have one, a cast-iron skillet is a great choice. It distributes heat equally, giving an even cook to each piece of dough. Other heavy-bottomed pans will work too.
Dry cook over medium-high heat. In fact, the skillet should be hot enough to begin smoking. Hopefully, your skillet is seasoned enough to where the dough won’t stick, but if it does, use a paper towel to add a very thin coat of oil. Don’t pour in the oil or add too much because the dough will fry and we want it to dry cook.
STORE. Cool and store in a Ziploc bag. At room temperature, Naan Bread should last 5-7 days on the counter. If stored in the fridge it can last a couple of days longer.
FREEZE. Wrap in Saran Wrap or foil and for extra security, place in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let defrost and warm up in the oven or microwave.
STORE the dough. To store the dough in the fridge or freezer to be cooked later, place them in an airtight container large enough to accommodate it gradually rising. It can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. Punch down, divide and bake according to the directions.
FREEZE the dough. Double the amount of yeast added to the dough to compensate for any that will die in the freezer. Freeze it a couple of ways:
Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let sit for five minutes or till bubbly. Add olive oil, yogurt, egg, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Stir till smooth.
Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead a few times on a floured counter until smooth.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Preheat a skillet to medium heat.
Cut dough into eight pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece into a 6" circle.
Add a little oil or non-stick spray to the skillet. Cook each circle for 2-3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Brush the top (the bubbly side) of each naan with melted butter. I added garlic to my butter, but that is optional.