Making sourdough naan at home has never been easier! Fluffy, soft, and golden, it's the perfect side to any curry or stew. Naan is one of the easiest breads to make at home, and definitely one of the easiest sourdough breads! Making it doesn't require a Dutch oven, banneton, or even an oven — all you need is a mixing bowl and a frying pan.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: this recipe uses plain white flour, but you can use bread flour if preferred. Substitute up to 50% with whole wheat flour.
- Frying oil: if you're wary of frying with olive oil at a high temperature, and/or looking for a dairy-free option, you can use avocado or coconut oil. Olive oil tends to give the best browning. Ghee is more traditional for naan, and a bit safer as it can withstand higher temperatures than butter, but you can use butter if you're careful of splatters.
- Add-ins: f you want to add garlic, herbs, or spices, knead them in after the dough has risen and before you divide it.
Step 1: mix the water, starter, and oil in a large bowl.
Step 2: Add the dry ingredients and mix into a shaggy dough.
Step 3: do three rounds of stretches and folds, one every 20 minutes, over the next hour.
Step 4: shape the dough into a ball and set it aside to rise.
Step 5: keep the dough covered, at room temperature, until it doubles in size. This will take several hours and can be left overnight.
Step 6: divide the dough into 10 evenly-sized pieces and roll each into a tight spiral.
Step 7: roll up the dough into balls.
Step 8: use a rolling pin to roll the naan out thinly and fry in a hot pan. Serve warm.
- Serve fresh: as with most flatbreads, this is best eaten the same day it's cooked. It can be stored for a couple of days but won't be as soft.
- Roll in advance: if you find it difficult to roll the dough and fry at the same time, and you have the space, roll all of the dough out ahead of time.
- Keep it warm: you can keep the finished naan in a slightly warm oven before serving, but they're just as good stacked on a plate while you cook the remaining dough. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel to keep them very soft.
If your starter is very strong and active, you could potentially feed your starter early in the morning, mix the dough once the starter is ready, and fry the naan in the evening.
Your pan must be very hot before you begin to cook the naan. You may have to play around with the temperature a bit — the goal is dark and golden, but not burned, flatbread. The pan must be hot enough to cook the bread quickly or else you'll miss out on the puffy bubbles.
How to Store
Storage: sourdough naan is best the day it's made, but can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days. It will start to go stale after the first day.
Freezing: transfer cooled naan to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat in a frying pan to refresh it.
What is difference between naan and flatbread?
Naan is simply a type of flatbread, or types of flatbread – it means bread. Naan is most often associated with India but the term is used across South Asia.
Should naan dough be fermented?
Naan is always fermented in some sense, because a yeast version will also be fermented, just for a shorter period. Sourdough naan requires a longer fermentation period.
What's the difference between naan and pita?
Pita usually has a pocket in it after baking, but a key difference is that naan is an enriched dough. That means that it contains something like oil, egg, yogurt, or milk, making it a softer bread.
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- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Frying pan or skillet
- 200 grams water room temperature
- 100 grams active sourdough starter
- 2 tablespoons melted ghee or olive oil, plus extra for frying
- 300 grams all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 8 grams sugar
- 6 grams sea salt plus extra for sprinkling on cooked naan
Mix The Dough
- Add the water and sourdough starter to a large mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk or fork until well combined.
- Add the ghee or oil, flour, sugar, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Do three rounds of stretches and folds to help create structure in the dough, once every 20 minutes over the course of an hour. After a few stretches the dough should feel more taut, and harder to form into a loose ball.
- Cover the bowl with a plate or lid and set aside to rise for four hours and up to overnight, until doubled in size.
Shaping The Dough
- Once the dough has doubled in size, it's ready to be shaped and cooked.
- Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 even-sized pieces.
- Take one piece of dough, lightly flour both sides of it, then flatten it gently with your hand.
- Roll the dough towards you into a log like a jelly roll, pressing it with your hand as you go to make sure the dough is sticking to itself. Pinch the seam together to seal.
- Turn the log so that the short end faces you. Flatten it again slightly with your hand. Roll it again into a log, pressing it as you roll so the dough sticks to itself. Again, pinch together the seam to seal it.
- Flip the rolled dough over, seam side down, and use the outer edges of your hands to rotate the piece of dough into a smooth ball. Set the shaped ball aside and repeat the process with the rest of the dough pieces.
Cooking The Sourdough Naan
- Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, use a rolling pin to roll a couple pieces of sourdough naan on a lightly floured surface. It's key to roll the dough as thin as possible before frying.
- Once the pan is hot, add enough ghee or olive oil to coat the bottom, probably a tablespoon or two.
- Carefully place one rolled out piece of sourdough naan into the pan. Cook it for 45 to 60 seconds, or until the bottom is golden and the top is covered in bubbles.
- Flip the naan over and cook the second side for another 45 to 60 seconds (add more oil to the pan if you need). Sprinkle the cooked naan with a touch of salt, then place into a just warm oven, or stacked on a plate. Repeat with each piece of remaining dough.
- Serve sourdough naan warm if you can. It's best eaten the first day, however, can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.