Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)

November 19, 2009


If you don’t own Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I would highly recommend you put it on your holiday list.  The book is ten years old but it has recently been re-issued for its’ anniversary.  Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, meat-eating, or gluten-free, you will find untold treasures in this book.  It’s the one book I would bring to a desert island without question.

I’ve used it countless times in the past but seeing as it houses about 1,400 recipes, there are so many amazing recipes still waiting to be discovered.  A few months ago Ele posted about Ms. Madison’s Naan recipe and somewhere in my clouded foggy mommy brain, I filed it away for the next time I made a curry.  It is a testament to her post (and to her lovely blog in general) that I actually only remembered it.  I received some collard greens in our CSA box last week and decided to make a favorite – Peanut Curry.

As is often the case when I am about to make bread, I took a look at the recipe and almost punted.  I don’t know what it is about bread baking that sometimes seems so onerous to me.  I certainly cook and bake things that take a lot more work.  If I hadn’t been bringing dinner to a friend in need, I probably would never had made this naan and that would have been a shame.  Friends, this is sooo good.  And sooo easy.

A few notes.  Ele said she always grills hers.  I neglected to file away that fact in my clouded foggy mommy brain and now can’t wait to make it again so I can try it grilled.  Instead I followed Madison’s instructions and used a pizza stone.  Still awesome.  I bought both the wheat bran and ghee called for in the recipe because I have a grocery store nearby where those things are easily found.  I’m sure you could substitute butter (I would melt it and cool it slightly – or you can make your own ghee) and whole wheat flour for the wheat bran.  Finally, you must brush each bread with a little melted butter and sprinkle it with sea salt when it comes out of the oven.  Sublime.


One Year Ago:  Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies

Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Makes 8 to 10 small breads

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup yogurt, preferably whole milk (DT: I used low fat)
1/4 cup or clarified butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/2 stick butter, melted
Sea salt

Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup hot water, the yogurt, ghee, and salt in a bowl , then stir in the yeast, whole-wheat flour, and bran.  Work in enough white flour to form a heavy smooth dough, then turn it out and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but slightly tacky.  Put the dough in a n oiled bowl, turn it to coat the top, then cover and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F with a pizza stone or a sheet pan on the bottom rack of the oven.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 8 or 10 pieces.  Roll them into balls, cover wtih a towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Here are two options for shaping the dough:

1.  Pat the dough into a circle using your fingertips to dimple it all over.  Then gently pull it in opposite directions to make a dimpled oblong.  The texture will be uneven, providing crisp and bready parts.  Place right on the baking stone or hot sheet pan and bake until browned on top, 12 to 15 minutes.

2.  Pat or roll the dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.  Make five short knife cuts, radiating from the center like a sand dollar, then transfer to the baking stone and bake until browned.

(DT: I shaped my breads using option #2.  I was able to bake two at a time on my stone.  As each pair came out of the oven, I brushed the tops with melted butter and sprinkled them liberally with sea salt.)


  1. Sadly I have never attempted naan before – I have a dodgy oven (and suspect you need a reliable one for successful results). These images are lovely to look at though.

    Comment by Koek! — November 19, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  2. Ooh perfect! I have been wanting to try my hand at making naan so this is wonderful timing! I will definitely try this next time I make curry. Every time I buy the store bought naan it goes bad the next day- ick!

    Comment by fresh365 — November 19, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  3. I already wanted to make this as soon as I started reading, but when I got to “brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt,” the deal was sealed. They look great!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — November 19, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  4. Oh, Dana you’re so sweet ;)

    Your naan look amazing- I can only get mine to look like that (the variations in colour, texture on the top) if I grill them. When I bake, they just puff up in a boring, uniform brown colour. I’m thinking that it might be worth it to find some what bran and ghee, to try these as they should be.

    The two words in your post that most intrigued me, however, were Peanut Curry (!!). I am hereby filing a request that you write about that soon!

    Comment by Ele — November 19, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  5. I love homemade bread! Mmm, I can smell it.

    Comment by Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. — November 19, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  6. wow, this look tasty. Once again, I’m scared of the bread stuff, but this looks worth it… if nothing else but a vehicle to sop up peanut sauce.

    Comment by Sara — November 19, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

  7. You know I’m a committed carnivore, but I agree that Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a terrific resource. Have you tried the saffron noodle cake?

    Comment by Kate @ Savour Fare — November 19, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  8. Beautiful flat bread. I love naan, perfect with so many things!

    Comment by Cristie — November 19, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  9. This looks amazing! I’ve never attempted a naan or a bread like this. I’ll be making this for dinner! Thanks so much.

    Comment by kickpleat — November 19, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  10. This is going on my MUST bake list. Looks incredible!

    Comment by Maria — November 19, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  11. Thank you, Dana! I have been wanting to try Naan and serve it with some Indian Butter Chicken, but didn’t have a recipe. I hope I can squeeze it in before Thanksgiving.

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — November 19, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  12. Ohhh, this look very yummy!

    Comment by Lisa @ The Cooking Bride — November 20, 2009 @ 1:57 am

  13. I’ve always wanted to try making naan at home- it is probably my favorite bread in the entire world. I will be trying this recipe because I’ve always heard how hard naan is to make but you’ve inspired me to try!

    Comment by Emily Rose — November 20, 2009 @ 3:39 am

  14. I am ashamed that I have this cookbook and never once noticed this recipe. What a lovely naan! Thanks Dana!

    Comment by redmenace — November 20, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  15. Man, that looks easy. I’m bookmarking for sure. I made naan a few times when we lived overseas but haven’t attempted it in a good long while. No more excuses.

    Comment by Cheryl — November 20, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  16. i’ve made naan only once before but not with yogurt. i’m intrigued and will be filing this away for myself for our next curry dinner (which happens to be once a week in the winters).

    Comment by giao — November 21, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  17. Love naan…wish I had some for my dinner of tandoori fish and prawns

    Comment by Kitchen Butterfly — November 21, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  18. Hi, I just found your site through another blog, searching for other vegetarian blogs like mine. This recipe looks delicious! I’m glad you mentioned this book, I have always wanted to buy it but never did. However, after reading this post I’m definetely going to buy it. Is there a photo of each dish? Thank you Sabrina

    Comment by Maccaveggieblog — November 22, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  19. Seriously, why don’t I own that cookbook? And why haven’t I ever made Naan?? Very excited to try this out – thanks Dana.

    Comment by Allison Arevalo — November 24, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  20. These look super good! Though that’s a lot of butter haha.

    Comment by Ashley — December 2, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

Leave a comment