Category Archives: bread

Naan Bread – Grilled

This is my brand-spanking new naan recipe, that has blown my old baked naan bread recipe out of the water. With this recipe, you first dry fry on the hottest hob and then finish off under the blazing grill. It is a very sticky dough, only really suitable to make with the help of a mixer, and you ideally need a gas oven to get the heat needed to cook it. However, it has a brilliant texture, with crispy risen bubbles and thick spongy edges. Perfect to go with a curry.


This recipe makes 4 large naans (that perfectly fit a 23 cm frying pan).

Ingredients

  • 1 sachet (7 g) yeast
  • 125 ml lukewarm water
  • 125 ml natural yoghurt
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Nigella / black onion / kalonji seeds (these are all the same thing, but known to different people by different names)
  • 150 g strong white bread flour
  • 150 g plain white flour

How to make it

First, combine all the ingredients (except the flour) in a small jug. Now, if you have a mixer then you simply put the flour into the mixing bowl, add the jug of wet ingredients and leave it to knead for about 5-10 minutes until the dough becomes silky. If mixing the dough by hand, then put all the flour onto a surface and create a well in the middle, big enough to accommodate all the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well you’ve made. Then drag the flour to the centre and combine it quickly, before it starts to run down the surfaces and into your shoes. You will have to knead for a good 10 minutes, so the dough goes from just mixed (it’ll look sort of messy and shaggy) to combined, and then as you knead more it’ll start to relax and get silky and spongy.

When your dough is kneaded, lightly coat it in oil and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave the bowl in a warm place until it doubles in size. I leave mine on a windowsill and it takes about an hour and a half. When it has doubled, punch it down and leave it to rise again. If you can do this three or four times it helps improve the dough but it’s not strictly necessary.

When you’re ready to go, get a work surface floured and get your dough and cut it into four pieces. Roll each into a ball and roll out until it’s half a centimetre thick. Once you have your dough ready, place it on a baking tray and cover in plastic and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes. The naan will rise a little. This is a very important stage and should always be done, no matter how many times you punched down the dough.

Preheat your frying pan and your grill. Place one of your naans into the frying pan and let to cook over the highest heat possible for about 5-7 minutes until the bottom becomes quite charred. At this stage, the bubbles should have started to form on the surface of the bread.

Finish the bread off under a hot grill and watch as the naan rises even further. It should take less than 5 minutes to cook through under the grill.

To serve, paint it with a little melted butter. Yum.

Naan Bread – Baked

It took a lot of experimentation to get this baked naan bread recipe right. I also have a recipe for grilled naan bread. The pros of baked naan bread are that it’s easier to make without a mixer (the dough isn’t as wet) and you can cook more than one at a time. They’re also good to freeze after being cooked. The down side is that you don’t get the large air bubbles & associated crispiness that happens with grilled naan. So the texture isn’t quite as good. But, it’s still a fair bread to go with curry.

This recipe makes 4 large naans.

Ingredients

  • 1 sachet (7 g) yeast
  • 100 ml lukewarm water
  • 100 ml natural yoghurt
  • 30 g melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Nigella / black onion / kalonji seeds (these are all the same thing, but known to different people by different names)
  • 300 g strong white bread flour

How to make it

First, combine all the ingredients (except the flour) in a small jug. Now, if you have a mixer then you simply put the flour into the mixing bowl, add the jug of wet ingredients and leave it to knead for about 5-10 minutes until the dough becomes silky. If mixing the dough by hand, then put all the flour onto a surface and create a well in the middle, big enough to accommodate all the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well you’ve made. Then drag the flour to the centre and combine it quickly, before it starts to run down the surfaces and into your shoes. You will have to knead for a good 10 minutes, so the dough goes from just mixed (it’ll look sort of messy and shaggy) to combined, and then as you knead more it’ll start to relax and get silky and spongy.

When your dough is kneaded, lightly coat it in oil and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave the bowl in a warm place until it doubles in size. I leave mine on a windowsill and it takes about an hour and a half. When it has doubled, punch it down and leave it to rise again. If you can do this three or four times it helps improve the dough but it’s not strictly necessary.

Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius

When you’re ready to go, get a work surface floured and get your dough and cut it into four pieces. Roll each into a ball and roll out until it’s half a centimetre thick. Pull at one end of the dough as you roll it if you want the classic teardrop shape. Once you have your dough ready, place it on a baking tray and cover in plastic and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes. I find that on top of the oven is quite a good idea as it’s warm from the preheating. The naan will rise a little. This is a very important stage and should always be done, no matter how many times you punched down the dough. If you want to add garlic (as shown in the picture), then do so at this stage.

Bake your naan bread in the middle of the oven for around 15-20 minutes or until golden and risen (I like mine very golden as you can see!)

To finish off, paint it with a little melted butter. Yum.

The Naan Bread Saga

I have had many many problems with naan bread (not least because I have to sing the first verse of ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper‘ every time I make it). For over a year now I’ve been trying all sorts of naan recipe and they’ve had varying degrees of success. Mainly clustered around the ‘unsuccessful’ end of the spectrum. Whether thin and hard or flabby and doughy they were all disappointing and I began to wonder, “just how do you make naan bread?”.

Through much tinkering and many failures I have come up with two versions that seem to work in my oven – the baked naan isn’t quite as spectacular as the grilled naan but it is a bit easier to make.
First is a baked naan recipe, which you cook in a moderate oven.
PROS: dough is easy to make without a mixer; you can cook more than one at a time; good to freeze.
CONS: don’t get the large air bubbles & associated crispiness.

Second is a grilled naan recipe, which you first dry fry on the hottest hob and then finish off under the blazing grill.
PROS: brilliant texture, with crispy risen bubbles and thick spongy edges
CONS: can only cook one at a time; sticky dough which is difficult to make without a mixer; need a very hot stove & grill (so preferably gas).