A few weeks ago, I paid a special visit to Sanaa simply for their Indian-style Bread Service. I was craving some soft naan at home to dip into homemade hummus, so I went to the trusty internet and found a recipe utilizing Greek yogurt, and it came out quite nicely. Shortly after making it, the Disney Parks Blog posted an article about Harambe Nights at Animal Kingdom, and in it was a recipe for Naan Bread.
The recipe from Disney uses several less ingredients than the other version I tried, even omitting yeast. Having all of the ingredients in my pantry and fridge already, I decided to give their version a try.
Of course, while I followed the recipe’s ingredients, my process was different. Since I have a bread machine, I utilized its dough cycle instead of busting out the stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do the the old fashion way, kneading with your hands.
While I do have a pizza stone, I can’t imagine fidgeting with it in a 500 degree oven 6 inches from the broiler. We’re doing this the more efficient and safe way: on the stove top. I’ve been making pita bread this way for years, and the previous naan I made was done this way as well. I used my cast iron skillet and, before I bought it, have used a regular non-stick skillet. Cast iron will retain heat better, while the skillet may need a moment or two to get back up to a good working temperature between each bread. And who wants to crank up the oven with summer here?
Using my bread machine, I put my wet ingredients in the bottom, stirred in the sugar, salt, and baking soda, and put the flour on top.
After about 5 minutes,the dough had already started to form a ball.
After 30 minutes, the elasticity forming in the dough was noticeable.
After allowing the dough to rest in the machine for an hour, I turned this beauty out of it. Nice and smooth. Since there is no yeast in this recipe, it didn’t rise during this time. Baking soda is instead used as the leavening agent. From here, I portioned it out into the five servings the recipe states and reformed them each into a ball. For reference, each one weighed around 6 ounces.
While the recipe notes to roll on a lightly floured surface, I found the dough to be perfect for rolling without it. It had a nice elasticity and wasn’t wet, warranting extra flour. Depending on your climate/humidity, you may need the extra flour.
Every range is going to be different, so I can’t say where you need to set your dial. I find 4 1/2 on mine to be a bit to warm, but 4 isn’t quite enough. Plus, the pan you use might transfer heat differently. This will be a bit of trial an error. These cook similar to pancakes, so if you cook those at home, that temp might be a good starting point.
Within a few seconds of hitting the pan, small bubbles will start to form. They’re difficult to see in this first photo, but the photo below, taken with my iPhone, you can see them better.
You can peek at the bottom of the naan to get an idea of the color, and once you see some browning, you can flip. This side with have more browning over the surface since more of the dough came in contact with the pan.
The second side will be less uniform, with the areas that bubbled becoming brown first. If either side looks a little light, you can always reflip and cook it a bit longer.
Here are the five pieces of naan cooling, and with the sides that hit the pan first showing.
Here’s the second side of one of the completed naan.
The naan, while not pliable right off the heat (it would like crack if you tried to fold it right now), was soft and chewy. Since I wasn’t going to be eating these quite yet, I didn’t brush them with butter as the recipe mentions. I’ll save that for when I heat them back up to snack on.
But I still needed to taste the end result with something, so I dipped it in some hummus I made while the dough was mixing. Verdict? Delicious!
I think this recipe is a great one if you want to make a relatively quick batch of naan. Even if I didn’t have milk in the house, I do keep nonfat dry milk in the pantry to use in a pinch (I find many bread recipes I’ve made call for it). I think I’d swap out the canola oil and use olive oil instead, just as a personal preference. While I do like pan-cooked breads that use yeast, this dough was definitely a lot less finicky without it. Start to finish, this took me around 2 hours, with most of the time being hands-off, thanks to the bread machine. Using a stand mixer or hand-mixing may take about the same time, but will be a bit more hands-on. This recipe will definitely be used often in my home when I’m craving fresh Naan Bread!
Have you tried making Naan at home? How does Disney’s recipe compare with other you’ve tried?