I’ve always been a bit terrified of making bread. I’m not really sure why… I guess it boils down to the whole “cooking is an art, but baking is a science” idea. There’s something about baked goods that seems much more screw-up-able than a pasta dish, for example. (Unless it’s homemade pasta.. then it’s a whole different story.) Particularly baked goods that need to be kneaded and allowed to rise. It just always seemed so high-level to me.
Maybe this ties back to the fact that my mom has never been much of a baker. Don’t get me wrong, she makes awesome food! But with baked goods, especially when I was a little kid, she had a pretty consistent track record for burning cookies. I was usually the kid bringing store-bought cookies to the school bake sale. (I know, super traumatizing, right? Just kidding, Mom.)
My house was always filled with delicious food, because both my parents would take turns cooking dinner. But we were never really huge bakers. I think maybe I took this baking bias with me when I moved out, thinking that breads, cakes, cookies, and scones were just out of my league.
Then this past fall, I got brave. On a Pinterest whim, I made these ridiculous mini sage pumpkin bread knots for Thanksgiving dinner and – BAM! – I was converted. Because it turns out, baking is actually not that hard. Even when yeast is involved.
Since then, I’ve been on a total baking kick, and funnily enough, so has my mom. She’s been gluten-free for almost a year now and it’s been super fun for both of us to try yummy GF recipes for all the special occasions. Mine are usually made delicious through an overly-generous use of chocolate and eggs. Hers are usually not as gluttonous as mine.
That brings me to this naan. No, it is not gluten-free. But my mom is on vacation, so she’s not having any anyway. What this naan is, is SUPER EASY. There’s only a few ingredients, it doesn’t need intense kneading, only rises for an hour, AND… you can cook each naan in 2-3 minutes in a skillet. Are you sold yet?
Super-Easy Homemade Naan
Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Servings: 8 naan breads
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup hot tap water
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- melted butter for brushing (may use olive oil)
- chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for topping
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in the hot water. Add the yeast and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. The mixture should be frothy and start to rise.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add the milk and yogurt to the yeast mixture, stirring to combine, and then pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to start to combine the ingredients. Just before it comes together, start kneading it together with your hands, kneading just until the dough is formed. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or vented plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour in a warm place. (You can also put the covered dough into the fridge immediately and let rise overnight.)
- Once the dough is ready to cook, divide the dough into 8 pieces, rolling out each into an oval shape. Each piece should be about 1/4 inch thick.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush both sides of the dough pieces with melted butter. Place the dough in the pan and cover and cook for 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook for another 1-1.5 minutes. The dough should bubble and turn brown. Cook one at a time, following the same steps for every naan bread.
- Sprinkle generously with fresh chopped herbs, such as cilantro or parsley. Enjoy! The naan is best eaten right away, but lasts for a few days wrapped in the fridge.