Bread. It makes everyone happier. And flatbreads like naan and pita do all their rising in an hour–easier than getting to the bakery on some days!
I first made naan when I found an online recipe for Butter Chicken (thanks Tieghan!) Her step-by-step photos of homemade naan encouraged me, and the delicious factor keeps me making them on a regular basis. (Try with: palak paneer, dal, the Indian chicken, lentil curry)
Naan originates from Persia and India, pita from Greece and Spain, but you can serve either with whatever you choose — and both make great toast in the morning! Naan’s richer texture comes from adding yogurt and milk to the dough, whereas pita keeps things dairy-free (and it has a pocket!)
- 1/4 cup warm water (close to 105° F; not hotter or it will kill the yeast)
- 3/4 teaspoon active, dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
- 3/4 cup warm milk (whole or 2%)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- for brushing before baking: a few tablespoons melted butter or ghee
- optional for serving: chopped cilantro or other fresh herbs
- Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water and set aside for 10 minutes to proof.
- Combine the yogurt, warm milk, and yeast mixture in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a sticky ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and dump out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into an 1/4"-thick oval, about 6-8" in diameter. One at a time, brush each with melted butter or ghee and flip into hot pan, buttered side down, and cover pan with lid. Let cook for a minute or so, open lid and check for bubbles and toasting on the down side. Brush top with butter/ghee and flip to cook the other side for a minute or two. Remove to bread basket lined with a clean towel to keep warm. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or other herbs if you like.