1tspactive dry yeastcan substitute with instant yeast (check post if you don't have yeast)
¾cupwarm watercloser to lukewarm - not boiling!
2cupall purpose flourplus extra for dusting
¼cupplain yogurtunsweetened and unflavored
1tspsaltadjust to taste
2tbsp olive oilsubstitute with vegetable oil if easier
Add sugar, warm water and yeast together and mix well - then let it sit in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy
Add salt and baking powder to the flour and give it a good whisk.
Add yogurt and oil to the yeast mixture, mix with a fork first and then pour into the flour. Use your hands or a food processor to mix them together until they form a soft and pliable dough - this will feel a bit sticky but should form into a nice round ball (don't over work it!)
Oil a mixing bowl at least 2x as large as the dough ball, place the dough inside and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm(ish) location (for instance, next to a stove or oven) and rise for at least an hour (it should roughly double in size).Note: You can leave this out for up to 4 hours for even fluffier naan - the longer you leave it out, the softer and fluffier your naan is. I try to leave it out longer if I have the time but an hour should be good enough!
Once it's risen, divide the dough into 6 equal portions (roughly the size of a lemon)
Heat cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and get it really warm while you roll the first piece of naan (almost near smoking) - that's a good sign it's hot enough.
Dust the ball with some flour, and roll the dough into a flatbread shape (roughly ¼" thick). It's tempting to roll all of them at once, but a key part of this recipe is to roll them one at a time (see post for details on why). You don't want to over-roll the naan either - essentially one or two good rolls on either direction should be sufficient. Note: The dough will be somewhat sticky but should still roll out into a nice long shape. If you have trouble with your rolling pin sticking to the dough, dust the pin and the dough ball with some more flour.
Pat out any excess flour from the rolled out dough. If adding seasoning like garlic or sesame, press them into one side (using your hand). Brush the non-seasoning side with a thin film of water.
Place the watered side of the naan on the cast iron skillet. Let it cook for about 5 seconds. You'll start seeing small bubbles appearing on the surface. Cover the cast iron skillet with a lid and cook for 45 seconds. Then, flip the naan and cook for another 45 seconds (covered) - once you remove the naan, it should have small bursts of black spots where the air bubbles used to be. This is a mark of a great naan!
Brush with a thin layer of butter or even butter mixed with some garlic and cilantro (optional) and serve hot!
Instant yeast vs. active yeast: If you want to use instant yeast, instead of mixing it with the water and the sugar, you can just add it straight to the dough instead - rest of the steps are the same!
For yeast-free naan: you can use self-raising flour and yogurt. Alternatively, add 1 tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp of baking soda into the flour instead of using any yeast mixture - follow the rest of the steps as is! I'm working on a yeast free naan recipe for more detailed instructions, stay tuned.
For vegan naan: I prefer using vegan yogurt, and I've found it works well!
For gluten-free naan: use gluten-free flour. For a gluten-free and yeast-free version, use gluten-free self raising flour and Greek yogurt.
If you're in a colder location, I recommend turning the oven to "keep warm" or set to 200F and let it warm about 2 minutes. Then turn it off, turn on the oven light, and throw the dough in there.
It's important to not roll the dough out all at once - this breaks down the air pockets and can result in not "fluffy" naan. Rolling the dough one at a time in between cooking also allows for the cast iron pan to heat up between them.
If your naan starts blackening too quickly, reduce the heat to a medium and let it come down for a minute or two before adding the next one. Trial and error is a large part of making naan (and each person's cast iron is slightly different!) - they'll all taste good, but it might take a few attempts to get it to how you like it! Case in point, this recipe took 9 attempts to get it just perfect.
Adding the water on one side helps create steam within the naan and as a result, more air pockets as the steam expands due to the heat.