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Sourdough Naan Recipe: Yeast Free Sourdough Naan Bread

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A good sourdough naan recipe is an essential in any kitchen – especially if you love to eat curries.

Sourdough naan bread is not only really easy to make, it also tastes amazing!

This sourdough griddle flat bread is very versatile and you’ll find yourself making it again and again.

You can use fed sourdough starter or unfed sourdough discard for this recipe, it doesn’t really matter (I’ll explain more on this further on).

Sourdough Naan Recipe

What is Sourdough Naan Bread?

Naan bread is a type of bread flat bread that originates from India and Asia.

It generally has yoghurt as an ingredient and is leavened with yeast or baking soda.

You’ll find it on the menu in many Indian restaurants. Often it’s flavored with garlic and cheese or topped with coriander or Nigella seeds.

In traditional Indian cooking, naan breads are slapped onto the inside of Tandoor ovens where they bubble up and get golden.

As home cooks, having a Tandoor oven in our kitchen isn’t overly practical. However, a cast iron skillet, bbq plate or fry pan can give you a similar result.

How to Make Sourdough Naan

Sourdough naan is very simple to make. It involves a little kneading, a little resting and then shaping and cooking. But the hands on time is definitely worth it for this delicious bread!

Here’s how to make this sourdough naan recipe:

  • Mix all of your ingredients into a shaggy dough.
  • Knead the dough until it’s soft and elastic (it will be slightly sticky but you should be able to handle it with ease).
  • Place the dough into a bowl, cover and place somewhere warm.
  • Once the dough is ready, divide it into equal pieces.
  • Shape the dough into ovals and flatten with fingers or a rolling pin.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet.
  • Spray each naan with water before placing on hot skillet.
  • Bake both sides until bubbly and charred.
  • Take off the skillet and brush with melted butter.

You can knead the dough by hand or you can knead it with a stand mixer. I much prefer the stand mixer as it saves me time.

Sourdough Naan Recipe Tips

There are many sourdough Naan bread recipes out there – and in fact many non sourdough Naan bread recipes – all with different ingredients and techniques.

Here are some Sourdough Naan tips to make sure you get the best possible bread!

  • The soft and tender texture of Naan bread comes from using yoghurt. For the best result, use thick, full fat, Greek yoghurt (pot set yoghurt). Don’t use skim or fat free yoghurt as it doesn’t have enough fat to give you the desired texture.
  • You need to use full fat milk in this recipe. You could however substitute this with whey if you want to.
  • You can easily knead this recipe by hand. If you prefer you can also knead the dough in a stand mixer or Thermomix. It takes around 3 to 6 minutes for the dough to become smooth and elastic.
  • Fry the sourdough Naan bread in a dry cast iron pan or skillet for the best result. It needs to be super hot.
  • Brush one side of the dough with water before placing into the dry cast iron skillet. You can also use a water spray if it’s easier. This will help the naan to bubble up in the pan.
  • Brush with butter (or olive oil if you prefer) only after the Naan is cooked on both sides and is out of the skillet. Do not use any butter or oil in the pan or skillet.
Dough shaping process of sourdough naan bread recipe.

Sourdough Naan Recipe Without Yeast

Some sourdough Naan recipes do contain yeast. As this recipe is made with sourdough starter, it does not contain commercial yeast.

This recipe uses sourdough starter in conjunction with baking powder as a leavening agent.

The baking powder gives this sourdough naan recipe fluffiness and air.

For this reason, you can use either active, fed starter or unfed discard. There are a few things you should note however.

Using an active, bubbly starter is recommended. It will ensure that your dough develops nicely and in a timely manner. It will also ensure that you get the best flavor for your sourdough naan.

If you use sourdough discard, the naan dough will take a lot longer during bulk fermentation. This will mean that you’ll get a more sour flavor – remembering that the dough will also get some sourness from the yoghurt.

Shaping Sourdough Naan Bread

This sourdough naan recipe is really easy to shape. The dough, while slightly sticky, is really elastic and easy to handle.

You shouldn’t need additional flour to handle or shape the dough – and it’s better if you don’t. Added flour will dry the dough out and give you tough naan bread.

Work out how many breads you want and divide the dough weight by that number (so I would generally make 10 naan bread based on 890g dough (89g each). It’s ok if they are all within 5g of your target weight.

Divide the dough into equal pieces and shape each piece as a ball.

Then use your finger tips to flatten the ball into a rough oval. Keep stretching the dough with your fingers or use a rolling pin to finish off.

Flavors to Add to Sourdough Naan Bread

Sourdough Naan Bread is amazing on it’s own – or as a simple side dish. But you can also add some delicious flavors to Naan Bread to take it to the next level.

Here are some suggestions for flavors to add to this sourdough naan recipe:

  • Add garlic powder and cheddar cheese (add these to the dough before shaping. Just lightly knead them in before dividing the dough).
  • Sultanas or raisins and top with melted butter and coriander (trust me it works) – you can add the raisins to the dough before shaping.
  • Sprinkle with Nigella seeds after brushing with melted butter.

Unused Dough

If you find that you don’t use all the Naan dough, you can store it in the fridge for up to 7 days. I have done this and just taken a piece out to cook as I’ve needed it. It does get quite a strong taste towards the end, but is still very enjoyable.

Further Reading

If you’re loving this sourdough naan recipe, you’ll love these recipes too!

Sourdough Naan Recipe

Sourdough Naan Bread Recipe

This delicious sourdough Naan Bread recipe uses sourdough starter and yoghurt to give this griddle flat bread a soft and tender texture.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Fermentation Time 10 hrs
Total Time 11 hrs
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 12 Naan Breads
Calories 179 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 150 g Sourdough Starter
  • 400 g All Purpose Flour
  • 125 g Greek Yoghurt
  • 30 g Sugar
  • 120 g Milk
  • 30 g Olive Oil
  • 10 g Salt
  • 12 g Baking Powder

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and bring together into a shaggy dough. Allow the dough to rest for around 10 minutes.
  • Once the dough has rested, scrape it out of the bowl onto your kitchen counter and knead vigorously until the dough becomes soft and elastic. You shouldn't need additional flour (you really want to avoid adding any as it will toughen the dough).
    The dough will be slightly sticky, but you should be able to handle it without having dough stuck to your fingers.
  • Once the dough has been kneaded, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest and ferment until it's doubled. Placing it somewhere warm is ideal (see notes).
  • Once the dough has fermented, it's time to shape the naan breads. To do this you need to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (you can make bigger or smaller naan – just adjust your pieces to suit). I find using a scale means they are all the same and cook uniformly.
  • How you shape them is really up to you but traditionally they are oval shaped. As they are a free form flat bread, each one will be slightly unique.
    You can use a rolling pin if you like or you could just use your finger tips to shape.
    I find the easiest way is to shape each piece into a ball and then use your finger tips to flatten the ball out into a rough oval shape. You can then use a rolling pin to stretch the dough further or just stretch it with your hands.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or fry pan on the stove top. You want it to be searing hot.
  • Spray each naan with water before placing onto the hot skillet. Cook until you see bubbles form on the top and then flip to cook on the other side.
  • Take the naan out of the skillet and brush with melted butter.
  • Repeat until all the naan are cooked.

Notes

Notes on Kneading –
You can easily knead this dough by hand. If you’d prefer, kneading can also be done in a stand mixer or Thermomix. It will take around 3 to 6 minutes for the dough to become smooth and elastic.
 
Notes on Bulk Fermentation – 
You can use either active starter or discard for this recipe, however active, bubbly starter is recommended. Ideally, place your dough somewhere warm to ferment (you can find some ideas here).
Notes on Cooking – 
Ideally Sourdough Naan should be cooked on a cast iron skillet. I successfully cook them in a stainless steel frying pan with no issues. They also cook really well on a searing hot bbq or grill plate.

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 5gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 438mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 22IUCalcium: 87mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Flavored Sourdough, Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Discard, Sourdough Recipes
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