Whole wheat naan with raita: Grill friends

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Hot bread.

No matter how sweltering it is outside, fresh-from-the-oven hot bread always sounds compelling, doesn’t it?

Think melting butter on a biscuit. A warm chunk of crusty baguette dipped in herb-infused EVOO.

Think cinnamon toast.

(I confess, typing those words just now sent me down to the kitchen for a toasted slice of whole wheat bread spread with soft butter and showered with cinnamon-sugar. Truth: I have no self-control when it comes to hot bread.)

There comes a time, however, when heating up the kitchen to bake a loaf of bread – or even some quick rolls – tips you right over the steamy edge.

A quick solution? Grilled bread. As in, get out of the kitchen, heat up your barbecue grill, and make pizza or flatbread.

Our choice today: this thick, soft, garlicky South Asian whole wheat naan – a great example of our oft-chanted mantra, “Whole grains can taste GREAT!”

First, let’s make something cool – raita, a thick, yogurt-based cucumber dip, perfect with naan.

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Start with 2 small-to-medium cucumbers, or 1 medium-to-large cucumber. If the cukes are waxed, peel them; if they’re right from the garden, there’s no need to peel.

Slice the cucumber lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. I find a serrated grapefruit spoon works well for this task.

Dice the seeded cuke into 1/2″ or so cubes. You’ll have about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups diced cucumber. Don’t be a perfectionist here; more or less is fine.

Toss the diced cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put it in a strainer set over a bowl; weigh it down; and let it drain for 2 hours or so at room temperature.

Scoop the drained cucumber into a bowl; no need to rinse the salt away. Add the following:

2 cups whole-milk yogurt, drained in a yogurt cheese maker or cheesecloth for several hours; OR 1 cup (8 ounces) thick Greek-style yogurt
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 to 3 teaspoons minced hot chilies or chili paste, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, all optional

Stir to combine.

Refrigerate the raita until you’re ready to use it. I like to keep mine in a yogurt strainer (Greek yogurt maker), as it prevents it from becoming watery as it sits.

Now, on to the naan.

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Place the following in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer:

2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee (clarified butter), melted
1/2 cup milk; or whey, from the drained yogurt used for the raita
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt*
1 large egg

*If you use Greek-style yogurt, increase the milk or whey in the dough by 2 to 3 tablespoons, to account for Greek-style yogurt’s thicker texture.

Mix everything until cohesive; the dough will be rough and shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it’s smooth and shiny. Or knead for about 7 minutes in a stand mixer.

Want to make the dough in your bread machine? Go for it; use the dough cycle to knead and raise the dough, then pick up the shaping/cooking directions below.

Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for about 1 1/2 hours…

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…, or until it’s doubled in bulk.

At this point, the dough may be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours, for extra flavor and ease of rolling.

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Divide the dough into six pieces. Hand-stretch or roll each piece into a thin oval shape, about 4″ x 7″. Pull on the front edge of the oval to elongate and create the traditional tear shape.

Let the pieces rest, uncovered, while you heat a griddle on high heat. They’ll become somewhat puffy.

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Heat a griddle; a cast-iron pan, or any type of heavy pan over medium heat on your outdoor barbecue grill.

Grease the pan with olive oil, if desired. If the pan is sufficiently non-stick, there’s no need to grease it.

Transfer the naan to the griddle, as many as will fit at a time. Grill for approximately 2 to 3 minutes on one side, until the bread puffs and begins to look set around the edges. If your barbecue has a lid, cook naan with the lid in place; this will help it cook all the way through without becoming overly browned.

If the naan appears to be browning too quickly (as the loaves in the photo above did), lower the heat.

Flip over and continue to cook, until the bottom side is brown.

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Remove naan from the griddle, and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.

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Serve warm, with raita.

It’s good to cook one naan first, to test the temperature of your griddle or pan. I was over-confident, and cooked the first two together; witness how dark they got.

Lesson learned: do a test cook of ONE naan first.

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Cool any leftovers; store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage.

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Looking for a way to use leftover naan?

Split in half around the circumference, naan makes a nice crust for thin-crust whole-grain pizza. Simply add toppings, and bake until hot. Leave naan whole to make a thicker pizza crust.

Read, make, and review (please) our recipe for Whole Wheat Naan with Raita.

Print just the recipe.

 

 

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. wakikirie

    Having an overnight dinner guest on Friday. Might just have to give this a try.

    Definitely give this recipe a try and let us know how it worked for you!-Jon

    Reply
  2. Keri

    For those who may not like cumin, try tzatziki: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/tzatziki-recipe. This is my favorite dip for veggies, pita-like bread, etc. I know cucumber, garlic and dill sounds like an odd combination but TRUST ME – give it a try. You won’t regret it!

    PJ, what kind of grill do you have? Is that a Big Green Egg? If so, how do you like it? I need to get a grill and am trying to decide what kind to get.

    Mmmm tzatziki is so refreshing; I am in great need for a gyro now!-Jon

    Reply
  3. Sue

    Can I use all AP in this recipe? I don’t have any Whole Wheat flour in the house right now. Thanks! I love reading the blog and all things KAF!

    You can certainly use all purpose flour as a replacement, but you will likely need to reduce the milk by 3-4 tsp.-Jon

    Reply
  4. Paul

    Don’t use a skillet on the grill. Just put it on the grill over direct heat. brush oil first. Why use a skillet, no difference then on your stove. I do this to make pizza and it’s a hit. grill one side over direct heat then flip over to indirect heat, add toppings and cover lid for 10 minutes. it’s the best.
    Paul

    You can certainly use either method for making naan; there is rarely only one way to bake!-Jon

    Reply
  5. Pat L.

    Can these be baked in the oven on a pizza stone or oiled pan?

    Both should work well, though I imagine a cast iron pan will be a little easier as the naan will need to be turned over.-Jon

    Reply
  6. Janine

    Is all whey the same? I just started learning to make cheese and I have an abundance of whey that I substitute for the liquids in my whole wheat bread. I am thinking this should be fine to use instead of the milk or yogurt whey?

    Yes, your cheese whey should work just fine in this recipe!-Jon

    Reply
  7. Margy Harper

    I love naan bread. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Let us know what you think, Margy, OK? You sound like a naan “expert”! :) PJH

    Reply
  8. susan

    can I use other flour? Whole wheat,spelt? any other…I would be using plain coconut yogurt as I’m vegan. Is there any adjustments?

    This recipe does already call for whole wheat flour and coconut yogurt should work. Perhaps replace the whey with unsweetened coconut milk? Also, keep in mind that the recipe may not turn out completely like our version with your changes. Good luck and happy baking!-Jon

    Reply
  9. Dee

    Wish I had a grill. But I do have a cast iron pan. Will this work on a ceramic cooktop?

    That will be fine! Just make sure you have your range set to medium high and let the pan pre-heat. If it is not seasoned then you will need to use some oil to prevent sticking.-Jon

    Reply
  10. tom

    how about gluten free version?

    Unfortunately we do not have a gluten free version, but one is certainly on our radar for the future.-Jon

    Reply
  11. Adrian Seltzer

    For those that don’t like cumin: I suggest that you don’t buy ground cumin. Buy the whole cumin seeds and toast them in your cast iron pan, than crush or grind them and use that in the recipe. I know it will be a bit more work but the different in flavor is over the top.

    What a great tip! Freshly ground cumin is really fantastic.-Jon

    Reply
  12. Karen

    Can this be made using sour dough?

    That should be doable! I would start by removing 2/3rds of a cup of all purpose flour and 1/3rd cup of whey from the recipe, then add 1 cup of unfed starter.-Jon

    Reply
  13. Joyce

    It’s a lot hotter outside than it is in the kitchen. That’s no place to go at this time of the year.

    I suppose it depends on where you live! I know my kitchen can be 15-20 degrees hotter than the actual temperature outside.-Jon

    Reply
  14. Andy King

    Beautifully done!

    You can also throw the dough directly on the grill grate, as you would a piece of meat or fish! We do this with our leftover dough, then freeze it for quick pizza later in the week. T

    Great tips, happy baking!-Jon

    Reply
  15. BakerEddy

    Couple of questions; is there nutritional information for this recipe I understand with the variations that may be difficult. And second I am going to use non fat yogurt may I increase the fat content using olive oil instead of butter. If yes how much would you suggest. Thanks!

    Unfortunately nutritional information is not available for this recipe. If you were to use a non-fat yogurt then you will need to increase the fat with at least one tablespoon of olive oil.-Jon

    Reply
  16. lisab912

    I love naan! And this looks good, but, it looks too thick. Most naan I come across in restaurants is a lot thinner, more like a thin crust pizza. Is there a secret to achieving a flatter naan? I have tried many different recipes and they end up being too thick like pictured above.

    I once spent several minutes, with the owner of a local Indian restaurant trying to convince him to let me go back in his kitchen to show me how it was done. He just chuckled, said it was easy and no I could not go back in the kitchen. Pft!!

    Sorry you couldn’t get back in the kitchen, Lisa – I’m sure that would have been fun! As for naan – there are apparently many different styles. While naan originated in Central Asia, this is a South Asian naan – here’s what Wiki says about it: “Naan in other parts of South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread (another well-known kind of flatbread is chapati). Generally, it resembles pita…” So I think you’re simply looking for a thinner variety, maybe from a different locale. Feel free to pat it very thin and cook it without any rise time at all – that will definitely make it thinner. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  17. member-appletreewine

    I have made naan in my oven right on a pizza stone…now I have a wood fired brick oven and make it all the time on the brick…I love naan and also have cooked it like someone else said right on the gas
    grill…its a great bread especially in the winter with soup and stew…just love this bread…good luck to
    everyone..its an easy bread to make and you gain confidence when making it…

    Tom

    Reply

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