No Yeast Naan is an easy flatbread recipe that anyone can make. Which is good.. Because bread can be intimidating. There are so many things that can cause a loaf to go sideways (both, uh, literally and figuratively). But with no yeast, there are fewer variables that can cause the bread to fail. This naan recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. And comes together quickly.
What you are going to learn with this recipe:
- Why you need to let dough rest.
- How to knead dough.
- An easy way to make homemade bread.
What is Naan?
Naan is a leavened bread that is traditionally cooked in a tandoor (a large clay or metal oven that looks like a large cylindrical pot). The tandoor is heated from a wood or charcoal fire that is created inside the oven and can reach temperatures of 900°F (480°C)! The naan is then cooked on the interior sides of the oven, exposing it directly to the heat of the fire.
Traditional naan is leavened using yeast or starter from previous batches. My version doesn’t use any yeast but instead relies on the interaction of baking soda and yogurt to make the dough rise in the oven. Naan can come in all kinds of varieties: paneer naan, onion naan, garlic naan–the list goes on (and my mouth is now watering–thanks).
You create gluten by adding water to flour. When you knead dough you start to build up the gluten which then gives the bread structure. Knead too much and you will end up with a tough dough that will not have a good texture. Under kneading dough will cause your bread to lose its shape as it cooks because there isn’t enough gluten to hold the dough together. (Seriously, this is why bread is intimidating! Don’t worry though, we’ll get through this together.)
There are loads of techniques for how to knead dough but my preferred method is to alternate hands pushing the dough away from me with the heel of my hand and then cupping my fingers to drag it back.
Why do you need to let No Yeast Naan rest?
There are two reasons:.
- After kneading, all of that gluten is going to be wound tight. If you tried to roll the dough out into nice rounds it would keep trying to bounce back into a mound of dough. And trust me, I have tried to fight with it to get it to the shape I want and the dough always wins. Always. So, if you are trying to roll out dough and it just won’t stay, try letting it rest a few minutes to see if it just needed to relax a bit longer.
- Letting the dough rest also aids in hydration. When you introduce liquid to flour it can take a while for the starches in the flour to fully expand and absorb all of the liquid you have added.
How to Serve
I made this No Yeast Naan to go with my Chana Saag but you can serve it with just about anything that you would eat with bread. It’s great with hummus. Delicious with cheese and meat. Use it to make flatbread pizzas. The uses are only limited by your imagination.
You Can Do This
I know bread is intimidating but with a flatbread there are few risks. Especially with a no yeast flatbread. I have made some mistakes while testing this; adding too much liquid, adding too little liquid, kneading too long, kneading not long enough. And when I put it in the oven thinking it would be a disaster it still tasted great. So even if you completely fork it up, you’ll be left with something that’s edible. I mean, it’s better if you don’t fork it up. But either way, it’s going to be tasty. I got your back.
Seriously, you can make bread and this is a great place to start.
No Yeast Naan
- 400 grams all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 240 grams yogurt
- 120 grams whole milk
- 3 teaspoons olive oil divided
- 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a medium bowl; set aside.
- In a second medium bowl whisk together the yogurt and milk until fully incorporated. Pour yogurt mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir to combine until you have a shaggy dough and there is no more loose flour in the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour mixture out onto a clean surface. Bring it together into a single piece of dough by pressing the shaggy pieces of dough together. Knead for 5 minutes. The dough may be slightly sticky but resist the urge to add more flour. After 5 minutes, your dough should be smooth and supple. Place into the bowl with the 1 teaspoon of olive oil and roll the dough in the oil to coat.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Place an upside down cookie sheet onto the lower middle third rack of your oven. Turn on your broiler to preheat the tray.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and, using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 6 pieces by cutting the dough in half and then into thirds. Working two at a time, roll the dough into balls and roll out into rounds that are about ¼-inch (5mm) thick. Lightly coat each side of dough with ¼ teaspoon olive oil. Leave the other pieces covered in the plastic wrap used to cover the bowl,
- Cook two naans at a time for 3-4 minutes or until they have bubbled and started to blacken on top of some of the bubbles. Remove cooked naan and immediately add the next batch of dough to the tray to start cooking. While still hot, brush each piece of naan with butter. Serve immediately once all naans have been cooked.
- You can use any milk you have but I prefer the flavor of whole milk.
- If you want a crisper dough, substitute the whole milk with water.