How to Make Sourdough Naan

Have you ever tasted the samples at Costco? Most of the times, I have great resolve. But occasionally, I’m lured in to purchase something not on my list. Such was the case with the naan. After trying it, we were hooked. But, as Michelle brings out in this post, it was not the healthiest option. I cannot wait to try her recipe for whole wheat, sourdough naan with yogurt. It has to be even better than the Costco variety.

Posted by Michelle

The world loves its flatbreads.  That ubiquitous and delicious round of baked or fried dough takes many different forms and names, from tortillas to frybread, johnnycakes, focaccia, lefse, pita, and injera, just to name a few!  One of my favorites is naan, that soft, pillowy, irresistibly chewy bread that is found in Indian and Pakistani cooking traditions.

I love getting naan at our local Indian restaurant, but I have never been a fan of refined, white flour, and store bought naan just doesn’t have the same texture as the fresh, real stuff.  So I set out to make up my own recipe, and this whole-grain, sourdough-and-homemade-yogurt version is the result.   This is not a traditional naan in any sense, (my background is Italian-American), but I do find it delicious and versatile.

NOTE: This recipe for whole wheat sourdough naan is made with the use of a cast-iron pan over a gas stove in mind, in lieu of the intense heat of a tandoori oven.  You will need to heat your cooking surface at really high heat for those distinctive seared bubbles, so if you don’t have cast-iron, you can also cook them at 500 °F on a pizza stone or sturdy baking sheet.

How to Make Sourdough Naan

Yield: Makes 16 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 5-8 oz recently-fed sourdough starter
  • 2 generous Tbs homemade yogurt (you can also use whole milk, store-bought yogurt)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs coconut oil or butter
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 cup/8 oz warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine starter, yogurt, salt, sugar, oil and water.  Mix by hand, being sure to even out any lumps of oil if you’re cooking in cooler weather.
  2. Add the mixed flour and baking soda, one cup at a time, and continue mixing by hand.  Knead in the bowl for several minutes until the dough forms a smooth, slightly sticky ball. (If it starts sticking to your hand too much, wet your hand with a little water and continue to knead.)  The dough should be soft and pliable.
  3. Let the dough rise, covered, for up to two hours if possible (but if you’re in a hurry, you can also just let it rest for 10 minutes).
  4. Punch down the dough and knead a few times.  Divide the dough into sixteen balls. To make it easy, divide the dough in half, divide those halves in half again, and so on.  Its okay if the dough feels really sticky at this point.  Let rest five minutes.
  5. Preheat a cast iron pan on as high heat as your stove can go/as you feel comfortable, and do not oil it.  You want to create an intensely hot, dry surface.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out one of the dough balls into a round.  You want it to be a little thicker than a tortilla, but not much more so.  You only need to roll out one ball at a time—in the time it takes to cook it in the pan, you’ll have a chance to roll out the next one.  You’ll hit a good rhythm after you do a few!
  7. Place the rolled-out dough onto the hot pan.  You should see it making large bubbles after a minute or so.  Once one side is starting to show browned spots, flip and cook until the bubbles have a dark brown sear.  Place on a towel-lined plate and repeat until all the dough is cooked.

NOTE:  As you cook, stack the naan on a plate, covered with a cotton towel.  As you pile them high, they will steam each other into a nice, chewy softness.

8. Brush each naan with butter and serve immediately.

BONUS: 

If you have any extra after your meal (I make a lot of them on purpose for this very reason), they can be wonderfully re-purposed into single-serve pizza crusts or cut into wedges, drizzled with oil and spices (if desired) and baked until crisp in a 350 °F oven for crispy, crunchy naan chips.

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If you hadn’t noticed, Fermentools has a wide range of recipes for fermented foods. In addition to bread, we have recipes for condiments, sauerkraut, beverages and more. Just click on Recipes in the sidebar.

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