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How to Make Sourdough Naan

How to Make Sourdough Naan (1)

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.

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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.

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How to Make Sourdough Naan

With this simple yet rewarding recipe, you'll embark on a culinary journey that combines the vibrant flavors of naan with the healthful and delicious qualities of sourdough, offering an experience that's both familiar and refreshingly new.

For More- Whole Wheat Brownie Sourdough Bread

Yield: Makes 16 loaves

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Ingredients:

  • 5-8 oz recently-fed sourdough starter
  • 2 generous Tbs homemade yogurt (you can also use whole milk or 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 the 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.  It's okay if the dough feels really sticky at this point.  Let rest for five minutes.
  5. Preheat a cast iron pan on 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.
  8. Brush each naan with butter and serve immediately.

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.

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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.

Also Read- A Tasty Sourdough Bannock Bread Recipe

Final Words

Sourdough Naan is a delightful departure from the ordinary, seamlessly blending the classic Indian naan with the sourdough's distinct tang and texture. This recipe showcases the simplicity and versatility of sourdough, introducing a tantalizing new dimension to an iconic dish. The fusion of cultures through culinary innovation is a testament to the rich and ever-evolving world of food. Whether enjoyed alongside hearty stews or as a standalone treat, Sourdough Naan brings the comfort of tradition with an exciting twist, adding a touch of artisanal delight to your dining experience.

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FAQs

Can I use whole wheat flour for Sourdough Naan?

Absolutely! Whole wheat flour adds a nutty richness. You might need to adjust the hydration levels slightly.

Do I need to cook Sourdough Naan in a tandoor?

No, a hot skillet or griddle works perfectly. However, for a more authentic touch, a pizza stone in the oven can mimic the tandoor effect.

Can I freeze Sourdough Naan dough for later use?

Yes, you can refrigerate or freeze the dough after the initial rise. Let it come to room temperature before rolling and cooking.

How long can I store cooked Sourdough Naan?

Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to a month.

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