Whole Wheat Naan (Indian flatbread)

January 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment

This is a very easy, especially tasty bread that we found went  nicely with tandoori chicken, and I’m sure would be equally good with curries or other Indian inspired meals.  I found the original recipe at               Monsoonspiceblog and tweaked it to fit my kitchen options.  It’s not originally designed for soaking. However,  I will try that next time, simply combining the flour and yogurt, adding more milk or water if necessary to moisten the mixture, then covering it and leaving on the kitchen counter for 12-24 hours.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (fresh ground is always best)
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 3/4 – 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar (or other dry sweetener)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • >1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

To make the dough:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk; set aside until frothy.
  2. Sift (or stir) dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the center; slowly add yogurt, oil and yeast/milk.  Add a little warm water if needed and knead until dough is soft and pliable.
  3. Cover dough with damp dish towel or plastic wrap; keep in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it doubles in size.

To shape and cook:

  1. Punch down the dough and divide into 10-12 lemon size balls.
  2. When almost ready to cook, roll balls into 1/4″ thick ovals (I tried pressing sesame seeds into the flattened dough, but couldn’t get them to stick, and they were fine without the seeds).
  3. Flip each naan over and spritz a little water on it before placing it (spritzed side down) on a heated griddle.  My steel saute pan worked just fine.
  4. When bubbles form on the surface of the naan, turn it over and cook until dark spots form on it.

What we discovered–the balls of dough that had been sitting longer seemed to bubble up better and produce a nicer bread.  Also, coconut oil in the pan for frying was a complementary touch.

Especially with the yogurt, these were definitely a good complement to Indian flavors.  They reheated well in the toaster and actually worked with my black bean and yam burrito filling instead of tortillas the next day.  I’m guessing they would freeze well also.

Soaking Method (this really works!):

Mix flour and yogurt thinned with a little milk or water (you need enough liquid to stir all the flour into a dough).  Cover bowl and sit on kitchen counter for 12-24 hours.  Then follow original recipe for dissolving yeast.  Mix in remaining dry ingredients and oil.  Stir in bubbly yeast and knead until you have soft, pliable dough, adjusting liquids as necessary.  Rise according to original recipe until doubled.

Let the lemon-sized balls rest a few minutes before rolling them out (they seem to need to sit so they bubble up better on the hot griddle).  I bake the flatbreads in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When the first side begins to bubble, flip over and bake until done.  These are tender, moist, they taste great, and freeze well!

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