Making sourdough naan at home has never been easier – fluffy, soft, and golden, it’s the perfect side to any curry or stew.
Homemade Sourdough Naan
Naan is certainly one of the easiest breads to make at home, and certainly one of the easiest sourdough breads. You don’t need to worry about having a Dutch oven, or a banneton, or even a bread tin–just a mixing bowl and a frying pan.
Even if you’ve never made naan before, or any other flatbread, be confident that you can make this. There are loads of tips and notes below on shaping and cooking. The key is to use flour if you need it.
This isn’t quite traditional naan or what you might get in a good Indian restaurant because (probably) like you, none of us have a tandoor at home. But it’s really good and as close as any of us have gotten to restaurant-style bread. This is based on Indian naan, though there are a number of types of bread called naan because the word naan just means bread.
What’s In This Naan
- Sourdough starter
- Olive oil or ghee
- All-purpose flour
Making Sourdough Naan
You can easily make this in one day and skip an overnight rise. If your starter is really strong, you might even be able to feed your starter early morning, mix the dough once it’s ready, and fry the naan in the evening. If you want to go that route then you need a nice warm spot for the dough to rise.
Otherwise, feed your starter as usual so that you can mix the dough for the naan in the evening before bed. Leave enough time for a couple of stretches and folds before setting it aside for the bulk ferment.
If you want to wait to make the naan until evening to have with dinner, that’s fine – just keep the dough in a cool place or refrigerate it so it doesn’t overproof.
After the bulk ferment, the dough should be doubled in size. Pop it out of the bowl onto a floured surface, cut into about 8-10 equal pieces (this depends on the size of your pan) and shape. Roll, fry, and eat!
This is Alex’s go-to method for shaping everything from loaves to flatbread and everything in between: A log roll is common for sourdough shaping to get tension before forming into a boule, but going over it twice makes the dough really easy to work with and is well worth the time even for a flatbread.
Once your dough is cut into roughly equal pieces, flour a clean surface and plop a piece of dough down. Lightly flour both sides (lightly!) then flatten slightly with your hands. Roll the dough toward yourself like a jelly roll, pressing the dough with each roll to seal.
Turn the roll so that the short edge is facing you, then flatten again. Add a touch more flour if needed. Roll toward yourself again, pressing with each turn over to make sure the dough sticks to itself.
Then flip it over seam-side down and do a few turns, clockwise or counter-clockwise, with the pinkie-sides of both hands to shape into a small ball. Set aside on a floured surface and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
That’s it. If you shape your naan this way, you’ll have a nice tension when rolling it out and it won’t be so sticky. Some flour is still needed when rolling but if you don’t pre-shape, it’ll be far too difficult to roll.
It’s key that you roll the dough as thinly as possible before frying. You should be able to see through it!
How to Cook the Naan
After everything is shaped and ready to go, it moves quickly. Heat your pan and roll a couple of pieces of dough out while it’s heating up – make sure they’re floured to prevent sticking to the countertop.
You want a screaming hot pan. (I have an induction cooktop and use a cast iron pan, and setting 6 is the right temperature for me.)
With gas or electric, or using a non-stick pan, you might have to play around with the temperature a bit. You want it to be dark and golden but not burned; and it has to cook quickly or you’ll miss out on the bubbles.
When the pan is hot, add either ghee or olive oil–see below for substitutions –and carefully add a rolled out piece of dough. Fry for just about a minute each side, flipping when the bubbles are large and the bottom of the naan is golden.
If you want to go really crazy, add more fat before flipping to the second side. And if you want the best sourdough naan ever, add a tiny pinch of salt to the naan before flipping, too.
You can keep the finished naan in a slightly warm oven before serving, but they’re just as good on a plate while you cook the remaining dough. If you’re using ghee, brush them with more ghee or butter as soon as they come out of the frying pan. This isn’t so important if you’re frying in olive oil but you can brush with a little coconut oil if you’d like.
Olive oil is a good dairy-free/vegan option for the dough, as well as for frying. If you’re wary of frying with olive oil at such a high temperature, you can use avocado or coconut, or whatever you prefer. Olive tends to give the best browning.
Ghee is more traditional and a bit safer, but butter can be used for frying too if you’re careful of splatters. We’ve used ghee for the recipe card below.
If you want to add garlic or herbs or spices, knead them in after the bulk fermentation and before shaping. Some things (like garlic) prevent ideal rise so it’s best to add them later on.
We haven’t tested this with alternative flours. Spelt should be fine – we have a spelt flatbread and Alex has a spelt naan, and it does well for breads like this. Whole grain is a bit trickier but up to 40% whole wheat flour might work.
If you make this recipe, let us know by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram! We love to feel like we’re in the kitchen with you.
- ¾ cup (200 g) water
- ½ cup (100 g) active sourdough starter
- 2 tbsp melted ghee or olive oil
- 2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (10 g) sugar
- 1 tsp (6 g) sea salt
- Ghee or olive oil for frying
Mix The Dough
- Add the water and starter to a large 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 a couple of stretches and folds to help create structure in the dough, once every ten minutes, 2-3 times. After a few stretches the dough should feel harder to stretch and form a loose ball.
- Cover the dough with a plate or lid and set aside to rise (see note).
Shape the Dough
- Once the dough has doubled in size, it's ready to be shaped and cooked.
- Lightly flour a clean surface and turn the dough out onto it. Cut into 8-10 pieces (depending on the size of your pan).
- Lightly flour both sides of a piece of dough and flatten slightly with your hand. Roll the dough toward yourself, creating a spiral, pressing with each roll to make sure the dough is sticking to itself.
- Turn the spiral so that the short end faces you. Flatten slightly again (to about 3cm / 1in.) and roll it up into a second spiral, pressing again while you roll so that the dough sticks. You can add a light dusting of flour if needed.
- Once you've done two roll-ups, flip the dough seam side down and use the outer edges (pinkie-side) of your hands to rotate the piece of dough into a ball and create tension on the top. This is best done on a clean surface with no flour.
- Place the now finished ball onto a floured surface and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Cooking the Naan
- Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
- While the pan is heating up, roll out a couple pieces of naan on a floured surface. Roll as thinly as possible. This is to get ahead a bit as you'll be cooking and rolling at the same time.
- Once the pan is hot, add enough ghee or olive oil to coat the bottom. Carefully place a rolled out piece of naan into the pan. Cook for 45-60 seconds, or until the bottom is golden and the top is covered in bubbles.
- Flip the naan to cook the second side for another 45-60 seconds. If you'd like, you can add more oil to the pan just before flipping and sprinkle the naan with a touch of salt.
- Place the finished naan into a just warm oven or onto a plate, and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Once a piece of dough goes into the pan to cook, immediately roll out another piece. If you find that it's too difficult to work quickly enough to roll and cook at once, then roll all of the dough out ahead of time if you have enough surface space to do so.
- Serve the naan warm if you can. It's best on the first day, but like all sourdough, lasts longer than yeasted bread. Store it in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
• The bulk fermentation time for this recipe varies. I have often mixed it and then made the naan just four hours later, leaving the dough in a glass bowl and lid on a sunny windowsill. In a cool place or refrigerator it should be 12-16 hours - but you'll just have to see when it doubles at whatever temperature you have it rising at.
• If your naan isn't bubbling as soon as it's placed into the pan, your pan isn't nearly hot enough. It should cook very quickly. You'll want an oven fan on or window open for this recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g
This is an approximation of the nutrition offered in this recipe, and is created using a nutrition calculator.