Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to make Sourdough Naan

Quick and easy fluffy sourdough naan. These are airy, have a slight tang and is a great way to use up sourdough discard! 



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This easy to make naan uses a handful of pantry essentials and some sourdough discard. No commercial yeast needed and it can be made on the stove top with little effort.

Naan, a popular Indian bread is best enjoyed with Indian curries and dals. One of the most ordered items at Indian restaurants, naan has SO many variations.

The type of naan depends on the leavening agent and the toppings.

Garlic, rosemary, mint, green chili, onion and butter are commonly used toppings. 

The most popular leavening agents include a combination of baking powder and yogurt or yeast. Instead of commercial yeast, adding sourdough starter/ discard is a great way to leaven the dough.

What is sourdough discard?

For those unfamiliar with sourdough baking, sourdough discard is nothing but an active sourdough starter. 

A sourdough starter is made from flour and water and the starter is fed with flour and water at regular intervals. Along with feeding, some amount of starter is discarded from the process too.

The discard is essentially flour and water but with some natural yeast activity. 

For those who bake a lot, there is a LOT of discard and throwing it away is not the best thing to do. 

Instead the discard can be used to make various recipes, this naan being one of them. It is a natural leavening agent and results in soft naans with a slight tang based on how active the starter is.


Tips to make this sourdough naan

This recipe is made using sourdough starter. The starter can be made from any flour mix. It works well with a well established starter; i.e. the starter rises and falls predictably. 

The portions below are perfect to make 6 medium size naan. The recipe can easily be doubled or halved. 

I have used all purpose flour in my recipe but whole wheat flour works too. The naan might be slightly dense though.

Do not let the rolling part of the recipe scare you. Naan does not have to be perfectly round. It can be oval or even an abstract shape.

Cooking the naan is done on a cast iron skillet. The skillet has to be really hot before placing the naan. Do not forget to preheat the skillet.

The final step includes cooking the naan on an open flame. This is the preferred way of doing it. However if using a glass top or coil gas, cook the naan evenly on both sides. The brown char spots might be missing but the taste will still be great.



How to use the instant pot in the recipe

Given that the recipe uses a leavening agent, it is required to give the dough some time to develop. 

This step can be done in various ways like placing the dough in a warm spot on the kitchen counter, in the oven with the light on or in the instant pot.

Using the instant pot is my favorite way to proof any dough. Using the yogurt mode on low or normal gives consistent results in half the time. 

Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and place it in the pot. Close the lid or use a glass lid to cover.  

For naan and other flatbreads I generally keep it for 45- 60 minutes. The dough does not necessarily double, but becomes perfect to use.

Serving suggestions

Just like most Indian flatbreads, naan is best enjoyed with Indian curries. 

I like to serve my naan with CholePaneer JalfreziPunjabi Dum AlooSarson da Saag or Paneer Makhani.




Storing naan and heating

Naan is best enjoyed hot. Serve it while it is still hot or store it to warm before serving. 

To store, completely cool the naan and then wrap them in a kitchen towel or in paper towels. 


Let them rest and make sure to heat them on an open flame or on a griddle before serving. 

Steps by step recipe

In a bowl mix together milk, yogurt and sourdough starter. Spread the starter evenly in the mixture.



Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well till a shaggy dough forms. 




Cover with a damp towel or plastic film and place in a warm place for 2 hours. If using the Instant Pot, let it rest covered on yogurt mode for 45 minutes. 



After the dough has rested, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 parts. 

Preheat a cast iron or thick griddle/ tava to medium high flame. 


Using one part of the dough roll it out to a round or oval of 1/4 inch thickness.

Spread black sesame seeds and other toppings like green chili, garlic or cilantro. Press it down so that they stick.



Turn the naan over and apply some water. Transfer the naan to the tava, wet side down.

Cook on medium-high flame till a few spots appear on the naan. 

Turn the tava over and cook on direct flame till the naan bubbles and all the portions are cooked. 


Remove from tava and spread some salted butter on it. Serve warm with your favorite Indian curry. 




Ingredients

Unfed 100% hydration Sourdough starter 1 cup
Plain Yogurt 1/4 cup
Warm Milk 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Salted butter as needed 

Method

In a bowl mix together milk, yogurt and sourdough starter. Spread the starter evenly in the mixture.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well till a shaggy dough forms. 

Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place for 2 hours. If using the Instant Pot, let it rest covered on yogurt mode for 45 minutes. 

After the dough has rested, transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 parts. 

Preheat a cast iron or thick griddle/ tava to medium high flame. 

Using one part of the dough roll it out to a round or oval of 1/4 inch thickness.

Spread black sesame seeds and other toppings like green chili, garlic or cilantro. Press it down so that they stick.

Turn the naan over and apply some water. Transfer the naan to the tava, wet side down.

Cook on medium-high flame till a few spots appear on the naan. 

Turn the tava over and cook on direct flame till the naan bubbles and all the portions are cooked. 

Remove from tava and spread some salted butter on it. Serve warm with your favorite Indian curry. 




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