I’m no baker. Making things perfectly shaped, measuring out exact amounts, keeping track of exact baking times, waiting for things to rise, rest and cool, cleaning it all up, not cleaning it all up and having to suffer the dried up/wet flour consequences – none of these things are my idea of fun. But one pretty, chewy, soft and doughy bread has got me really excited. Ecstatically excited. And you should be happy about it too.
Making naan bread at home is super simple, super easy, super cheap and no baking is necessary. So tell all the Indian-food-imitation restaurants who are selling a few skimpy pieces of “naan” for an insane price to SHOVE IT, because here’s a step by step game plan of how to make your very own batch of naan.
Measure all your dry ingredients and put it in a bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. You probably already have all these essentials in your kitchen, and if you don’t, you definitely should.
Measure plain yogurt and milk and toss into a microwavable bowl. Pop in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it up a bit. Since the plain yogurt in Argentina pretty much sucks, I’ve used two different kinds for this recipe and each has worked out pretty well: #1 Natural flavor of La Serenisima’s Griego (OJO: this ain’t real Greek yogurt) or #2 The natural firme version of Sancor’s Yogo.
Pour half of the wet ingredients (warmed milk + yogurt) into the dry flour mixture and combine dat shit up good with a spoon. Slowly pour the rest of the yogurt-milk mixture, making sure the dough isn’t becoming too sticky. No kneading necessary in this step.*
*If you see that you have added too much wetness, add a bit more flour. If you think it’s not wet enough, add more milkyog moisture. You’ll know it’s the right consistency if you stick your finger (or any other body part…) into the dough and it springs back without too much doughy gooey residue. To all you baking illiterates, don’t worry, this is the hardest part.
Once the two ingredients are well combined, cover with a damp towel and store in a nice warm spot. I like to keep it with the monsters under my bed. Let it rest for about two hours. If you don’t have time or are impatient, you can do less than two hours, but it won’t be as fluffy.
While the dough is warming up, you can begin to prep the toppings. Whatever you like on your naan, go for it! There ain’t no topping rules.
I made a variety of different kinds, using red pepper flakes, cilantro, tandoori spice mix, green onions, GARLIC, and ginger. I’m a big proponent of garlic naan, but it was fun switching it up and playing around with different flavors combinations. Yes, sadly these days this is my idea of fun. Wompwomp.
Two hours are up! Check on your dough – has it risen at all? It hasn’t? Good, it’s not supposed to. Bring it over to a floured surface.
Knead and punch for a few minutes. Get out that raaaaage.
Separate into equal pieces. If you are a neat and tidy perfectionist, you probably can make them into perfect sized balls. If you are like me and at this point are totally over the whole baking bread ordeal and just want to get the shabammm done with so you can eat it, ugly doughs of dook are also acceptable.
Have you ever been called a ball buster? It’s a total complement. And now you can physically act out a proper ball busting and flatten those naan balls.
You probably bust them all flat and perfectly oval shape, I like to keep some lumps in mine. Rustic, son.
Brush the bottom side with water to get it nice and damp. *While this step is going on, get your cast iron pan nice and toasty on the stove top. No oven needed!
Topping time! Play around with different combos, there is no right or wrong way to top it. I made this combo of garlic, green onion and tandoor spice mix.
Now let’s get baked. Make sure your pan is HOT! I used a cast iron (no oil or butter is necessary). Slap the naan on the pan, placing the side you brushed with water on the bottom. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to stick to the bottom at first.
Pop a top on the pan and let it cook for about 45 seconds to one minute. Check to make sure the bottom is a little burned, you want to have that char, giving it an extra tandoori tickle.
The naan should easily flip over and shouldn’t stick, flip it over to the other side but this time make sure it doesn’t burn too much so only cook it for 30 seconds. Burnt garlic doesn’t taste so great.
If you want to get a bit more brown color in certain areas, grab some tongs and hold the naan over the open flame – be very careful not to burn your hair or the house. Mom, don’t worry, I am very careful and wear very loose floppy sweaters with big flowy sleeves.
AND you’re done. Top with cilantro if you’re feeling nasty, or maybe some tandoori spice if you are feeling extra ethnic. And if you are feeling like a mega fatty…
And now it’s time to eat.
Homemade Naan Bread
Adapted from Indian Simmer on Tasty Kitchen
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- ¾ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ cup Warm Milk
- ½ cup Warm Plain Yogurt
- Optional Toppings: Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, Ginger, Green Onions, Cilantro, Butter etc.
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
2. Mix milk and yogurt together. Warm up in the microwave if it’s coming directly from the fridge. Pour half of it into the dry flour bowl and slowly combine it together with a spoon. Pour the rest in and combine.
*Note from the original recipe: I don’t think there’s an exact amount of liquid that should be added to the exact amount of flour to make a perfect dough. So what I do is continue adding liquid slowly and combining it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to your hand too much, then use little bit of oil on your hands and then punch into the dough.
3. Cover with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
4. After two hours, flour work space and knead dough for about 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls – depending how big you want your naans.
5. Flatten the balls to make bread that is a little thick and long, oval-shaped.
6. Brush one side with water.
7. Sprinkle the other side with flavor toppings.
8. Heat a cast iron (or thick bottomed skillet or wok). Once it’s very hot, place naan wet side down (it will stick) and cover with a lid.
9. Let it cook for about a minute – or until you see bubbles. Now flip over for about 30 seconds. You can also hold it directly over the burner with tongs. Once it’s charred in some spots, it’s done.
10. Let cool, smother with butter, and fly high while eating the fluffy, chewy lil’ mothers.