Grilled Naan

Native to India, this flatbread made with yogurt is traditionally baked on the side of a tandoor, a vertical oven that will often reach 900°F. The dough is stretched, slapped onto the wall of the oven, and 45 seconds later a chewy brown loaf with a crusty interior is peeled off the wall.

While home tandoors are not common, an Americanized version of naan can also be made on your barbecue grill, to very similar effect. Make sure the fire is good and hot; it can be helpful to close the lid on the grill for a few minutes of the cooking time, to duplicate the radiant heat of the tandoor.

The flatbread can also be made successfully in a cast iron pan on top of the stove, with the help of a pot lid. It'll take a little longer than 45 seconds, but the results, brushed with a bit of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, will be equally as delicious.
Prep
30 mins
Total
5 hrs 30 mins
Yield
8 flatbreads, about 6 1/2" x 4" each
Grilled Naan

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge: Mix the sponge ingredients together in a bowl, and set it aside for 4 hours (or up to about 16 hours), until the mixture is bubbly and has a nice aroma.
  2. To make the dough: Transfer the sponge to the bowl of a mixer or bucket of a bread machine. Add the dough ingredients, and mix and knead the mixture until it becomes smooth; the dough will be soft, but not sticky. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 balls (3 3/4 ounces, 106g each, about 2 1/4", the size of a tennis ball). Let them rest, covered, for a half hour in the refrigerator while the grill or cast iron pan is heating.
  4. To cook the naan: Stretch each ball into an oval shape a scant 1/4" thick.
  5. Brush one side with oil or spray with pan spray, then lay the oiled side of the dough down on a clean, hot grill or cast iron pan.
  6. After 1 minute, pick up the bread with a spatula, turn it 45°, and put it back down to cook for another minute; it'll start to puff up a bit.
  7. Oil the top side, then turn it over, cover the grill or pan, and cook for 2 minutes to finish. Remove the naan from the heat.
  8. To serve, brush the naan with melted butter, and season it with salt and pepper while it's still hot. Stack the breads to keep them soft.
  9. Naan can be served in a basket on its own, or wrapped around grilled meats. Store, well-wrapped, on the counter for 2 days.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For the yogurt, low-fat is OK, but don't use nonfat or Greek.
  • You can use a bread machine, but if you do, cancel it after the machine finishes kneading, before the dough rises.
  • If you don't want to grill the naan, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or directly on a baking stone), and bake them on the bottom rack of a preheated 450°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until they're puffed and golden.