Naan better! Go to the head of our Far-Flung Flatbreads class.

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What does the picture above have in common with the one below?

Both were taken at a recent class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center – a.k.a. the B.E.C.

Are we having fun yet?

Sure are!

Did you know King Arthur Flour is the largest educator of home bakers in the world? Between our Traveling Baking Demos, Life Skills program, and our on-site education center in Vermont, we’ve taught hundreds of thousands of people how to bake bread.

And cookies. And chocolate cake, apple pie, the best brownies ever, baguettes to die for… In short, if a recipe involves flour, we’re here to show you how to make it.

I spent a recent afternoon at a BEC class called Far-Flung Flatbreads, where within 4 hours students had made Syrian pita breads; a Scandinavian rye cracker bread; and Indian naan.

The whole experience was a great example of the journey being as important as the destination: not only did the students go home with bags of bread, they now know how to bake these treats themselves.

Most of you live far from Vermont, and may never have the opportunity to experience one of our BEC classes in person. But scroll through the pictures below, and enjoy a virtual trip to Vermont. At the end, I’ll show you how to make the delicious naan pictured at the top of this blog – with some help from our students.

First, we measure the flour.

(As I said, you’ll get the complete recipe down below; don’t panic.)

Next, melted ghee (clarified butter), milk, yogurt, and an egg are carefully measured out.

Mix…

…then knead. First, some flour on the board…

Push, turn 90°, push some more.

Students develop their own effective rhythms.

Some try a different method, slamming the sticky dough onto the counter top. Class instructor Amber Eisler, a baker in our King Arthur bakery, checks out Tina’s technique.

There! A fairly smooth, elastic ball of dough, ready to go into a bowl to rise for an hour.

An hour later, students turn their risen dough out onto a floured board.

The dough is divided into four pieces.

Once a mom, always a mom… Lyn brushes flour off daughter Michelle’s nose. There, that’s better!

Kinda sticky, Michelle?

Amber demonstrates how to shape the breads. The four pieces of dough are pre-shaped…

…then given a short rest.

Next, each piece of soft dough is flattened into a long, irregularly shaped flatbread.

Jon does some serious shaping.

Kalena grabbed her camera to take a “halfway there” picture.

Finishing touches being applied.

Amber demonstrates brushing the loaves with beaten egg white, and sprinkling with seeds.

Are you starting to picture the finished breads?

By the time all the students have finished shaping, brushing, and sprinkling, some of the earlier breads are starting to puff.

Perfectly OK. Bonnie Hooper, a long-time member of our retail staff and assistant for this class, quickly wheels this rolling rack into the bakery, and loads the loaves into our French brick oven.

About 5 minutes later – done! Amber and Bonnie place the baked breads on cooling racks, while out in the classroom students shape their pitas.

Now those are some good-looking loaves!

Let’s see how they taste.

Out comes the hummus…

Success!

Now – let’s make naan.

We’ll start with a pantry check. The recipe uses a couple of ingredients you might need to substitute for, if you don’t have them.

First, plain whole-milk yogurt, a staple of Indian baking.

Can you use low-fat yogurt? Yes, your bread will be a bit less tender.

Can you use nonfat yogurt? Yes, your bread will be a lot less tender.

Next, shelf-stable ghee – clarified butter. This is pure butterfat, with all the milk solids removed. Ghee adds rich mouth-feel to naan, and helps keep it beautifully tender.

Ghee is bright yellow, and spreadable at room temperature.

Can you substitute melted butter? Yes.

Can you substitute vegetable oil? Yes.

In either case you won’t be making traditional naan, but go for it.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
½ to 1 ½ teaspoons salt*
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 to 3/4 cup milk** – whole milk preferred

*The lesser amount of salt will give you a “neutral-tasting” naan, perfect for serving with salty dips or foods. Use up to the greater amount of salt if you’re going to be serving the naan on its own.

**Use the greater amount in winter or in dry climates; the lesser amount in summer, or in more humid weather.

Add the following to the bowl:

1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons ghee or melted butter
1 large egg

Mix and knead to make a smooth, fairly stiff dough.

I never fail to marvel at the stretchiness of gluten!

Round the dough into a ball…

…and place into a lightly greased bowl. Or into a large measuring cup, as I’ve done here.

Let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours; it should double in bulk. It’ll take the longer amount of time if you’ve used the greater amount of salt.

Towards the end of the rising time, start heating your oven to 475°F. If you want to use a pizza stone, place it on the bottom rack.

Dough doubled!

Divide the dough into four pieces. A scale makes this easy.

841g quickly becomes…

…210g for each piece.

I usually have my scale set on ounces, but switch to grams when I’m dividing dough; the arithmetic is a lot easier in grams.

Shape the dough into four rough ovals. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Shape each oval into a 10” to 11”, teardrop-shaped bread. I’ve put these two on parchment, so I can slip them easily onto my pizza stone.

I often use a pizza stone for pizza and flatbreads, but this time I had mixed feelings. While traditional naan is indeed cooked on the stone sides of a tandoor oven, I just had the feeling that in this case, it might make the bread more crusty than I like; I prefer a softer naan.

Well, let’s try it.

Two minutes on each side was all it took. And it was OK… but baking on a baking sheet, while it took 8 minutes (double the time), was easier. It also allowed me to top the loaves with seeds prior to baking.

In this case – the baking sheet wins.

I put two loaves on my parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush them with an egg white wash – 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon of water.

Next, the seeds. Fennel on one, poppy on the other. If I’d had nigella (a.k.a. black caraway or charnushka), I would have used them.

Ready for the oven.

Immediately place in the 475°F oven, and bake for 8 minutes. No need to turn them over.

Remove from the oven, and brush with ghee or melted butter, if desired.

I desired!

Since I’ve made the lower-salt version, I also sprinkle the breads with a bit of sea salt.

Break off pieces. Serve warm.

Trust me, this is a serious swoon…

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Buttery Seeded Naan.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    WOW…!!!!!
    You back to flattened breads!!!One of my favorites.
    I´d never had lucky with Naan recipes. Now i´ll give a try on it!
    I suggest you post another masterpiece bread step-by-step. I talk about Barbari bread from Iran.
    I make this bread here with some semolina on bottom and top plus black sesame seeds, a salty dough with no sugar added and two kinds of leaveners, baking soda and instant yeast. Another curiosity is that we brush the top of dough with a mix of mineral water, some unbleached flour and pinch of baking soda, all broiled under HOT water. then cooled and brushed on top. It gives a bread a nice GOLDEN color i´d never seem before!!
    It deserves a TRY!!!!!

    Wow, Ricardo – that sounds fascinating. You always alert me to the most interesting international recipes… Thanks, as always. PJH

    Reply
  2. Beth

    Will somebody please take that camera away from PJ – oh, that bread looks soooooooo good, especially at 5:30 in the afternoon when I have to come up with something fast for dinner…..

    P.S. Am trying 2 different varieties of apples for pie this week: Virginia Gold and Early Gold. Ill let you know how they do.

    Beth, you’re making me crazy – we have no new apples, not even close, and they say the crop is very bad this year. Already, all the orchards have instituted a “no pick your own” policy – so no excursions to the orchard this year… I’ll be interested to hear about those two Gold choices! PJH

    Reply
  3. Nancie

    That looks fabulous and when it’s not a blazing 105 + degrees out side, I will have to make some. One question though, why not sprinkle on the salt with the seeds? Does it make a difference in the texture or crust?

    You can absolutely do the salt the same time as the seeds, Nancie. Since I was experimenting with the amount of salt in the recipe, I didn’t want to put any on top without tasting the finished product first – thus adding it after it was baked. PJH

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    I always throw my naan on the grill…it works beautifully, and it’s so easy to add them as a side dish when you’re making, say, kebabs on the grill already.

    Great idea, Sarah – thanks for sharing. PJH

    Reply
  5. ellen

    i second the grill option, it works really well and the smokey flavor really adds something special.
    you can also make a batch of regular pizza dough and lay that on the grill to cook, it goes great with just about anything

    Reply
  6. SoupAddict Karen

    Love love love naan. I got my paws on some za’tar … gonna try it with that.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your NE orchards! Crossed-fingers – we do have local apples here in Cincinnati (Ginger Golds right now). I hope the crops hold out, though. The Fall pie competitions are coming up, and I need Empires!

    Reply
  7. Tom Garbacik

    Would it work, fat-wise, if you use non-fat yoghurt and then used half and half for the milk? Can you make a substitution like that or is the type of fat more important?

    I’ve been eating Trader Joe’s naan all summer – I’m going to make my own from now on. Thanks! We haven’t tried those substitutions, but i think that might work. Experiment. let us know how it comes out. mary@ KAF

    Should be fine, Tom – the lower the fat overall, the less tender. It’s a balancing act between calories and mouth-feel, for sure! :) PJH

    Reply
  8. Angela

    Looks lovely but my favorite naan from all the local recipes looks much softer. It’s more of a tearing bread than a breaking bread. Do you think I could cook it less time or at a lower temperature or maybe on top of the stove like a tortilla? it would be worth a try. We haven’t tried it. Have fun experiment. Let us know how it comes out. Mary@ KAF

    You could definitely try griddling it atop the stove, Angela – shape it thin, let rise briefly, and fry at medium-low temperature. I think this might be what you’re looking for- let us know how it turns out, OK? PJH

    Reply
  9. susan

    Can you use Whole Wheat flour in Flat bread? Or are there WWheat flat bread recipes? Also can you use a sugar substitute? I think whole wheat would work. You would want to increase your liquid slightly- usually 1 or 2 tablespoons is sufficient- as the bran absorbs more liquid. we suggest just subbing in half of the flour with the same amount of whole wheat flour to begin with. Then if you like that you can move the percentage up or down accoring to your tastes or dietary needs. Have fun with it.Experiment. mary@ KAF

    Reply
  10. Lyna

    Could this be done on the Dough setting in my (new and still unfamiliar)Zo? We haven’t tried it, but I think it would work on the dough cycle. Give it a try. Have fun. Let us know how it comes out. Mary@ KAF /strong>

    Absolutely would work on the dough cycle, Lyna – congrats on your new Zo! PJH

    Reply
  11. Annie

    This bread looks incredible. I wish I lived next door to KAF so I could take all kinds of courses there. Look how happy the students look! Quick question about the recipe…..Is it okay to freeze the naan? Should I freeze before or after baking? Thanks!

    I’d freeze before baking, Annie. Shape it, freeze on a cookie sheet, and wrap securely. When ready to bake, let thaw at room temperature, covered; or overnight in the fridge, covered. Let rise, and bake as directed. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  12. Dee Lewis

    I’ve always wanted to make naan and will give it a try. I used to live in Brazil and after reading Ricardo’s comments, it made me think of my favorite Brazilian bread pao de queijo. I would love a really good recipe. Thanks.

    Reply
  13. SusanG

    Re the double starred note about the milk quantity: is it reversed? Wouldn’t you use the larger measurement in winter/dry seasons and the lesser amount in summer/humid seasons?
    You are correct-I will ask our web team to make this correction. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. JMD@KAF

    Reply
  14. Susan K

    Glad to hear I could do the dough in my Zo! I haven’t used the dough cycle very much, and it’s been too hot to bake, anyway!
    I’ll be trying these when it cools off, in the Fall.

    Reply
  15. JimInHolland

    Your naan looks pretty decent, but did you know you can emulate the tandoori oven-method of baking your naan at home? I learned this trick in an indian cooking class in here in Amsterdam…

    Get at least 2 non-glazed ceramic floor tiles – the big ones, and if they’re not at least 1/4″ thick, get 4. Remove the racks from your oven and angle the tiles into a V in the oven, doubling the thickness only if you needed it. The tiles should sit at a mutually-opposing 45-degree angle in the oven; if your oven is very wide, you can stack bricks on the sides to make the V.

    Heat your oven to temp and then give the tiles at least 30 minutes to warm, then when you’re ready to bake your naan, slap them on the sides of the tiles, usually 1 to a side, and just bake them off…easy!

    Thanks for sharing this, Jim – never would have thought of it! PJH

    Reply
  16. Gillian Lang

    I grew up on curries and Naan bread in Scotland. I have been trying and trying to get naan like they make at home and like previous comments I cook mine on a grill. My favorite naan is peshwari naan, with a little simple syrup, dried coconut and golden raisins added after brushing with butter.

    Wow – That sounds REALLY tasty, Gillian… Thanks! PJH

    Reply
  17. Roy

    What is the role of using an egg in the recipe? Having lived in India, I don’t recall eggs being used to make naan.

    Added fat for freshness and tenderness; a bit of golden color; and added protein to help the dough come together. We Americans are very used to an abundance of eggs, so tend to use them more than many cultures do. You can certainly leave it out, Roy, and substitute about 1/4 cup water – PJH

    Reply
  18. Nicole Shugars

    That looks amazing. I’m heartbroken, though, because my family and I are making KAF part of our family vacation in August and all the classes are FULL. Ugh.

    Sorry about that, Nicole – we hope to be expanding our class offerings in the next year of so, as we’ve been filling classes regularly, which is good, but does prevent everyone who wants from joining in. In the meantime, put yourself on waiting lists – you never know when someone’s plans change… And enjoy your trip here! PJH

    Reply
  19. Susan from Oregon

    There are so many things I love about KAF, but I just wanted to thank you guys right now for always having substitution suggestions or explaining why an ingredient must be used. I think you really make the process of baking less scary-seeming when you show us that the recipes aren’t inflexible. I also learn so much about how baking works when you describe what various substitutions will do to the end result. Thank you for doing what you do!
    ~Susan

    Reply
  20. Margy

    Mmmmm! Now if only someone could come up with a recipe for ensaymada (Philippine sweet bread with cheese). Got addicted when I worked in the Philippines.

    I’m on it. Here’s a start, from Wikipedia: “In the Philippines, a Spanish colony for nearly 400 years, the Majorcan ensaïmada (commonly spelled ensaymada in Tagalog) has evolved over the centuries. There, the ensaymada is a brioche made with butter instead of lard, and topped with grated cheese (usually aged Edam, known locally as “queso de bola”) and sugar. Upscale versions of ensaymada are also topped with butter cream. It is extremely popular throughout the islands, especially during the Christmas season, when it is often, although not always, eaten with hot chocolate.”

    And here’s a recipe I found. Look about right? Or this? Sounds REALLY interesting, the cheese/sugar thing… PJH

    Reply
  21. Margy

    Thanks PJ! Yes, they are a lightly sweet, buttery, light raised dough, topped with a mixture of salty grated cheese and sugar that melt into a sweet-salty crusty top. It’s the yummy salt-sweet combination, like your bacon and maple scones, or the salted caramels and chocolates that are the present rage. You find them everywhere in the Philippines, fron the local bakeries to pre-packaged in stores. Unfortunately, no Philippine bakery in my area, and wanted to try to make my own.
    Another great recipe for a salty-sweet flavor is the keylime pie with a pretzel curst. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/key-lime-pie-with-a-pretzel-crust-recipe JMD @KAF

    Reply
  22. TByrd

    NAAN! It’s me again from my Himalayan hovel. India has soooo many delicious flat breads! I’ve made paratha’s, chapatti’s and roti’s (every culture must have a version of fried bread) but yeast makes me nervous. The only yeast I have seen at our local ‘departmental’ store is Chinese. Wonder if Chinese yeast is ‘instant’? Anyhow, I’ve only had naan out of a tandoori oven. Is the texture of naan out of a ‘western’ style oven similar?

    I think the Western naan (non-tandoor) is higher-rising and drier, TByrd. My experience is tandoor naan is fairly flat, bendable,and fairly moist… PJH

    Reply
  23. sandra

    Hi,
    I have a hubby who loves Naan with his curries. I make Peshwari Naan most of the time (adding coconut and sultanas to the dough). I cook them on a plancha which is a spanish electric grill plate. Oil the naan on one side, cook on medium heat, oiling the other side as the first is cooking. Cook until bubbles appear and flip over. You can use normal milk instead of yogurt if you have to, no difference really. The recipe is on my website and gives a soft, tearable bread.

    Reply
  24. sandra

    To TByrd,
    I buy chinese yeast in the chinese supermarkets in Alicante, Spain and yes they sell instant yeast. It is sold in packs similar to vac packed coffee.

    Reply
  25. Barbara

    I made this amazing bread this morning and it is mouth-watering delicious. I left out the egg by mistake and it didn’t seem to make any difference. I put sesame seeds on the top of mine, and brushed it with melted butter after baking. I made half a recipe because one person just can’t eat that much bread while it is still fresh, and I will do so again. Its sublime! I want to try some toasted with orange marmalade; I know it will be heavenly!

    Thanks for sharing your success here, Barbara – it’s nice the recipe is flexible enough to put up with our occasional mistakes, eh? PJH

    Reply
  26. huma12000

    My question is how long should we really “knead” the dough in the mixer to develop the gluten . And also does the temperature of the liquid ingredients matter at all?

    Depends on the mixer and the speed. I knead most doughs for 7 minutes in a KitchenAid stand mixer, using the speed 3 up from the bottom (not the slowest, not the second-slowest, but the next one up). The liquid ingredients should generally be room temperature to lukewarm; cold ingredients won’t hurt the dough or yeast, but will definitely prolong rising times. PJH

    Reply
  27. marymills10

    HELP! I bought sesame seeds in bulk at a grocery stand and baked a sourdough bread from the recipe in Tartine that calls for
    one cup for two boules. Inside the dough. I found that there were sand bits in the bread that I think came from the sesame seeds. I had this same experience many years ago when I made sesame bars. Should I have cleaned them in water and let them dry out? Shouldnt they come cleaned? They are hulled. I looked on the web and their was no direct information about it, only several references to cleaning machines used by manufacturers.
    Does anyone have a source of really clean seeds? I am giving those to the birds, and will keep looking.

    I’m sorry you had this happen with the sesame seeds. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Perhaps next time, you could purchase just a tablespoon or so of seeds first, and taste them to see if they’re clean and grit-free. Then, if so, buy in bulk… PJH

    Reply
  28. bibiswas

    I made the naan – it was fabulous – and this coming from a bona fide Indian – born and raised in naan country. We don’t usually use eggs and our dough is a lot softer, which also makes it that much more delicate to handle. The joy of making naan is really slapping them on the walls of a tandoor! Thanks for bringing back the taste of home. Making two batches tomorrow – and yes, do use Nigella seeds for the Made in India authenticity!

    Thanks so much for your feedback – much appreciated hearing form someone “in authority”! I’d love to try a tandoor oven sometime… PJH

    Reply

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