Naan bread - introduction (recipes below)
After the first firing, you can begin to cook food with the skewers or grill, but we do not recommend cooking naan or roti bread on the Tandoor wall until the oven has been fired for about 6 hours.
To prepare the walls of your Tandoor for cooking naan or roti bread, after the first firing perform the following procedure:
Allow the Tandoor to completely cool naturally (never use water to extinguish the fire or cool the Tandoor - see our “Care and maintenance” page for further detail). Mix 1 tablespoon of salt into 1 litre of luke warm water and wet a sponge or cloth with the salt solution. Squeeze the excess salt solution from the sponge/cloth and gently wipe the damp sponge/cloth over the wall of the Tandoor. Rinse the sponge/cloth in the salt solution and repeat until the wall has been fully wiped over. Do not wet the clay liner too much. Allow the Tandoor to dry. After the Tandoor has been fired for a total of 6 hours you will be ready to start cooking naan and roti bread. This salt solution wipe will assist with the naan and roti bread sticking to the Tandoor wall. The process can be repeated every now and then as in addition to assisting with naan/roti sticking, it also assists with removing soot that can develop over time on the Tandoor wall.
There are many different recipes for naan bread. Most recipes include a rising agent such as yeast, baking powder, bi-carb soda, or combinations thereof. If you don’t like the results obtained from one recipe, simply adjust it or try another one - you will soon find one that you like.
We present here two quite different recipe styles, one that uses yeast and the other that does not. We have found that the no-yeast naan recipe most closely resembles naan bread you get in your local Indian restaurant.
Many recipes call for a measure of flour in cups. However, a cup of flour may weigh as little as about 145g or as much as about 170g depending on how tightly it is packed into the cup. Such mass differences can give rise to variation in the resulting dough even though you think your doing the same every time. To avoid this problem, we recommend using a mass of flour rather than a cup measurement. This way your dough should come out the same every time. If you don’t have scales to weigh the flour, you can estimate by assuming 1 cup of flour weighs about 150g - but for consistent results treat yourself to some scales!
We recommend using plain bakers or bread flour to make naan bread. This is not simple plain flour. Bakers or bread flour has a higher gluten content than standard plain flour and can be purchased from most supermarkets.
When making naan dough, don’t worry that the dough is a bit sticky to touch. A common mistake people make when preparing naan dough is that they keep adding extra flour (more than the amount specified in the recipe) in an attempt to combat the stickiness - naan dough will touch, feel and taste different to a pizza dough. Accept that the dough is a bit sticky and only use as little flour as possible when rolling it out. The recipes and video provided below discuss this in more detail.
Naan bread can be eaten plain, but is typically brushed with butter (or ghee - clarified butter) or with garlic butter (or ghee). Naan dough can also be filled with a variety of ingredients to make a stuffed naan (see “Stuffed naan bread recipes” below).
When cooking naan dough it is important that the Tandoor is quite hot. The optimum cooking temperature will vary depending on the recipe used. The secret to cooking a good naan is to cook it as fast as you can without burning it! If the naan dough is cooked slow at a lower temperature it tends to become “crispy” rather than “soft”! Generally, the naan should be cooked at temperatures ranging from about 220-300oC (again depending on the recipe). The temperature of the oven will be hotter as you get down closer to the coals. Try cook the naan about 3/4 of the way up the wall.
If you have the correct temperature, the naan should cook within 40-60 seconds. If you cook it much longer than this you will start to get a crispy naan (as the moisture begins to evaporate from the dough).
If the naan dough is not rolled thin enough (i.e. if it is too thick) you can also get a “doughy” naan. If the dough is too thin, your nann can also be too crispy. Experiment with thickness to get it just right to your liking.
To cook the naan dough, lay the flattened dough on the gaddi (cushion) provided. Make sure the gaddi has been pre-wetted with water to stop the dough sticking to it or sliding off it when you slap the dough on the clay pot wall. Wearing an oven glove, grab the gaddi and slap the dough on the inner wall of the Tandoor about 3/4 of the way up. You may wish to pat the slapped dough a few times with the gaddi to make sure it sticks securely to the Tandoor wall. You can slap multiple doughs on the wall of the Tandoor.
If the gaddi gets a bit dirty looking over time, simply replace the outer cotton cover with a new cotton cover of the same size.
Don’t worry if your first few attempts at making naan bread is not as good as expected, you will soon get the hang of it! By reading through the detailed information provided on our site, you should come up to speed quite quickly. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment, if you don’t like the results of the recipes provided here, treat them as a great place to start.
Click on the recipe and video links below for more detail and set yourself on the path to cooking the perfect naan!
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