One thing that is more satisfying than eating freshly made Sourdough Naan Bread is seeing the flatbreads puff up in the pan! And when you flip them over, you can almost squeal with joy when you see the signature charred blisters of the Naan bread! An extremely versatile flatbread, Sourdough Naan is made without commercial yeast and only requires minimal hands-on time (no stretch and folds in this recipe!)
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What is Naan?
Naan bread is a flatbread originating in the Indian subcontinent, but enjoyed all over the globe! It may be argued that it is the most popular flatbread worldwide. Rightly so, it is soft and fluffy and perfect to scoop up delicious curry sauce, soup or stew.
Traditionally made in a very hot tandoori oven, Naan bread boasts a soft and airy interior with beautiful charred spots on the surface, created by the tandoor oven walls that the bread is cooked on.
However, Naan bread can easily be made without a tandoor oven. Replace it with a cast iron skillet or even make it in your ordinary frying pan set over medium-high heat! And you don’t even need any commercial yeast for this sourdough version! Your sourdough starter contains colonies of wild yeast that will help create that bubbly airy interior.
Simple ingredients, a little bit of patience and a very hot pan are all you’re going to need to make this delicious homemade naan!
- flour: all-purpose flour (also known as plain flour) will work just fine. But if you wish, you can substitute up to ⅓ with whole wheat flour. Alternatively, you may use strong bread flour but it is not necessary.
- sourdough starter: bubbly and active starter that is 100% hydration will be needed.
- sugar: caster or white granulated sugar.
- baking powder: not to be mixed up with baking soda.
- unsalted butter: melted and cooled. If you only have salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Greek yoghurt: if you’re using low-fat Greek yoghurt or plain natural yoghurt, reduce the amount by 5-10g, as it tends to be a lot more liquidy and will make the dough too wet to handle. We highly recommend using full-fat Greek yoghurt!
For Brushing and Garnish:
- salted butter: melted. If you only have unsalted butter, add a generous pinch of salt to the butter.
- parsley: leaves and stalks finely chopped.
A Note On Sourdough Starter
This Sourdough Flatbread recipe calls for an active and bubbly sourdough starter that is 100% hydration. You will need a strong mighty starter for this Sourdough Naan Bread recipe as the dough is enriched with butter and will need a string colony of yeast in your starter to rise it.
Make sure your starter isn’t too acidic by feeding it often. When you are ready to make your flatbreads, feed the starter one last time and leave it to at least double in size. Ensure that you don’t let your starter go past its peak – that’s when it starts deflating!
Day 1: Make and Proof the Dough
In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix plain flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Add the active sourdough starter, Greek yogurt and melted cooled butter. Run your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on medium speed for approx. 10 minutes. Your dough will be sticky but should gather around the hook loosely.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a dough scraper, shape it into a ball. Place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth (like a tea towel) or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place (22-25°C) to rise for 4 hours.
After 4 hours, place the bowl in the fridge to finish proofing overnight (or for a min of 8 hours).
Day 2: Roll Out & Cook
Take the dough ball out of the fridge and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a tight ball by rolling it against the table surface cupped into your palm. Place the balls onto a lightly floured surface.
Melt the salted butter that you will use for brushing the sourdough flatbreads.
Heat cast iron skillets (or frying pans) on high heat (no oil or butter needed) – they need to be very hot!
Roll each ball of dough out into a thin circle or oblong using a rolling pin. Then lift the flatbread into a hot skillet and fry for about a minute on each side. You should have charred blisters!
Take the Sourdough naan bread out of the pan and immediately brush it with melted butter. Cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the rest of the flatbreads. Garnish cooked naan with finely chopped parsley and serve warm!
Tips & Tricks For Best Sourdough Naan Bread
- Add a tablespoon of nigella seeds to the dough for the lovely specs of black that you typically see in Naan Bread served at Indian restaurants.
- Don’t leave the dough in the fridge for longer than 12 hours. This recipe uses a lot of starter, so if you overproof your dough it will taste a little too sour.
- When rolling the Sourdough Naan bread, don’t be afraid to flour the surface and the rolling pin. We highly recommend using a Stainless Steel Rolling Pin when working with a relatively sticky dough!
- Make Sure your cast-iron skillet (or frying pan) is hot before adding the flatbreads. Also, don’t worry if the first Naan isn’t great! Naan Flatbreads are just like pancakes – the first one hardly ever turns out perfect!
Keep any leftover Sourdough Flatbreads in an airtight box or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may also choose to freeze them in freezer-friendly containers for up to 3 months.
Naan bread can have a round or oval shape or even a teardrop shape. We have seen all three shapes served in restaurants and homes across India on our travels.
What To Serve Sourdough Naan With?
We love Sourdough Flatbreads so much that we can eat them warm straight out of the skillet, brushed with melted salted butter! But they make the most delectable side dish to many other Indian, Pakistani and even European-style meals. Try these homemade naans with:
- Lazy Karahi Chicken
- Mushroom Dahl With Coriander Relish
- Sweetcorn Chowder
- Quick Chicken Manchurian
- Lebanese Hummus
Other Flatbread Recipes
When a loaf of sourdough bread simply doesn’t tickle your fancy, or you simply don’t want to turn the oven on, make flatbreads! We love our Sourdough Naan recipe, but here are some of our other favourites:
- Easy 4-Ingredient Rotis | Simple Indian Flatbreads
- Simple Naan Bread (without Sourdough Starter)
- Sourdough Pitta Bread | Overnight Recipe (oven method)
More Sourdough Recipes To Try
If you love baking with sourdough but are a bit tired of a typical sourdough bread loaf, try some of these exhilarating recipes below:
- Roasted Garlic & Green Olive Sourdough Bread Loaf
- Chilli & Cheese Sourdough Pull-Apart Bread
- Coffee and Date Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Naan Flatbread
- Cast Iron Skillet or Large Non-Stick Frying Pan
- 200 g plain flour
- 200 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 1½ teaspoon caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 g unsalted butter butter
- 110 g Greek yoghurt
For Brushing and Garnish:
- 30 g salted butter melted
- 5 g parsley finely chopped
- In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix plain flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
- Add the sourdough starter, yoghurt and melted cooled butter. Run your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on medium speed for approx. 15 minutes. Your dough will be sticky, but should gather around the hook loosely.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a dough scraper, shape it into a ball. Place the dough into a large greased bowl, cover and leave it in a warm spot (22-25°C) to rise for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, place the bowl in the fridge to finish proofing overnight (or for the min of 8 hours).
- Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into 8 even pieces. Shape each into a tight ball by rolling it against the table surface cupped into your palm. Place the balls onto floured surface.
- Melt the salted butter that you will use for brushing the sourdough flatbreads.
- Heat cast iron skillets (or frying pans) on high heat (no oil or butter needed) – they need to be very hot!
- Roll each ball of dough out into a thin circle or oblong using a rolling pin. Then lift the flatbread into a hot pan and fry for about a minute on each side. You should have charred blisters!
- Take the Sourdough naan bread out of the pan and immediately brush with melted salted butter. Cover with foil to keep warm whilst you cook the rest of the flatbreads. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve warm!
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