Naan Bread Recipe

Naan is the perfect accompaniment to any Indian or southeast Asian dish or an excellent substitute for Pita bread. This recipe shows you how to make it on your backyard grill.

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Made from wheat flour, naan is a leavened flat bread that is a staple of Indian and southeast Asian cuisine. It is traditionally cooked in a hot clay oven such as a tandoor and often baked directly on the side of the cooker. The bread is ready when it has fallen off the wall of the oven, having browned on the bottom and blistered on top. When testing this recipe, we replicated the process by cooking the naan on a hot pizza stone and directly on hot grill grates. Both methods yield fantastic results and provide a tasty and simple flat bread to accompany a wide range of meals. 

Course. Lunch. Dinner. Bread. Side Dish.

Cuisine. Indian. Asian.

Makes. About 8-10 servings

Takes. 2 1/2-3 hours

Ingredients

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 cup melted butter

About the flour. Use all-purpose flour if that is all you have. The recipe will still turn out some tasty bread. But bread flour is higher in protein and will yield a somewhat more robust and chewy texture. If you have access to bread flour, I recommend it.

Optional addition. Add a teaspoon or two of garlic powder when you combine the rest of the ingredients to amp up the flavor a bit, which is especially nice if you roll this dough out to top it like a pizza crust.

Method

1) Prep. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, water, and sugar. Whisk gently until the yeast and sugar have dissolved into the water. After a few minutes, look for the mixture to get bubbly, which is proof that your yeast is alive and working. If you see no bubbles after 5 to 10 minutes, it’s likely you have some old or dead yeast. Discard and start fresh.

2) Stir the milk, egg, salt, bread flour, and butter into the yeast mixture. When the dough starts to come together, knead it with your hands in the bowl. This can get a little sticky, but keep at it and continue to knead the dough until the flour absorbs all of the ingredients and the surface of the dough looks smooth.

3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. This step can be done overnight, and you can resume with steps 4-7 the following day.

4) Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface and cut into 8-10 equal portions. Form into balls and work one at a time, first flattening the ball with your hands into a disk. Then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough more thinly and evenly. Rotate as you go and dust the work surface with more flour as needed to prevent sticking. You want the dough to be roughly a quarter inch thick across the surface.

5) Fire up. Preheat your grill up to high. If cooking on the grates, ensure that they are cleaned of all debris. If cooking on a pizza stone, wait for the stone to get nice and hot before placing the dough on the surface.

6) Cook. When the grill is hot, toss the dough onto the hot surface and allow to cook until browned on the bottom, a couple of minutes. Once you see the surface begin to bubble up, use a pair of tongs to flip the bread, and continue cooking until the second side has browned, another minute or so.

7) Serve. Remove the naan from the cooking surface and serve immediately while still warm. Makes an excellent bread to build gyros, flatbreads, and pizzas.

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