Happy September! I’ve been playing around with ways to use my sourdough starter that don’t involve turning on the oven and this relatively easy sourdough skillet naan ticks all the boxes for me. Delicious carbs. √ Easy prep. √ Quick-cooking. √ Tons of uses. √ Freezes well. √
I shared some of the processes of making this sourdough skillet naan in my Instagram stories last week and got a ton of requests for the recipe. I was making a large batch to go with a luncheon I was making for the teachers and staff at Iley’s school. Thank you for the interest in this recipe. Happy to be sharing it with you today!
What is Naan?
If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you’ve probably tried naan, which is a delicious buttery Indian flatbread traditionally cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven. The dough is usually made with yogurt and ghee and is leavened with yeast. It can be stuffed, buttered, or served plain, and accompanies saucy dishes to sop up the best part of any dish: the gravy.
When researching traditional naan recipes I watched Manjula’s Kitchen’s recipe video for Tawa Naan to study the ingredients and process as a jumping-off point. Their videos are wonderful, do give them a watch. A tawa is a flat or concave griddle-like pan.
Cast Iron Cooking
Since we don’t have a tandoor or a tawa the next best baking vessel for naan, in my opinion, is a cast-iron skillet and a lid. I love cast-iron for baking bread in my oven and for cooking tortillas, so it seemed like the logical choice for cooking these flatbreads. Bonus: you don’t have to turn on the oven.
I found that using a lid for the first half of cooking helps hold in the steam and create large air bubbles, which make a light and airy flatbread that’s soft and pliable. Any pot or pan lid that is roughly the same size as your skillet should work fine. The lid doesn’t have to be cast iron. I used a stainless steel lid to one of our large stockpots.
Make it Sourdough
For this sourdough version, I used a fed and active 100% hydration starter, mixed and kneaded the dough in my stand mixer, and let it bulk ferment at room temperature until it doubled in volume. In my coastal New England climate, this time of year bulk fermentation took about 6-8 hours. Bulk times will vary depending on the climate, weather, season, humidity, etc.
The recipe below is vegan friendly, but you can use plain yogurt and ghee in place of the milk and olive oil in equal measures. This sourdough skillet naan is fairly easy to make and is great to keep in the freezer to use as you need it. Try it instead of toast with your morning eggs, for a twist on sandwich bread, or a swap for pita bread with hummus. I’ll be making regular batches of this sourdough naan to keep in the freezer and use for school lunches.
tips and tricks
- Lightly oiling the skillet between batches, just a few drops, helps keep the naan from drying out. I used extra virgin olive oil, but any oil or ghee would work.
- Keep an eye on the temperature of the skillet and adjust the stovetop burner as needed.
- You can stuff the naan with roasted garlic for garlic naan. After you roll out the dough to about the size of your hand, place a spoonful of roasted garlic on the dough and fold it in half then continue rolling it out so that the garlic is sandwiched into the center of the dough.
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