February 23, 2010

Naan Bread – Hairy Bikers



In their ‘Hairy Bakers’ series Simon and Dave made naan bread when they visited the Peak District. I’ve made flatbread before, which was good, but their naan bread looked really lovely and more authentic. So I looked up the recipe online and found it on the bbc.co.uk website.



I had to halve the recipe because I only had a 150g pot of natural yoghurt (which worked out as 100ml) but it worked out fine. It was a really sticky dough and I only used about 100ml of the 150ml of milk. With most bread recipes you have to use the recipe quantities as a loose guide and adjust them as different types of flour need a different amount of liquid.


The website recipe said to knead for 20-25 minutes, which I thought was really excessive, so I only kneaded for about 10 minutes and it was fine. I decided to double check the recipe by watching the episode again on YouTube. I found that the method was completely different, in that they added the ingredients in a different order. Plus on the show Si says to knead for 15-20 minutes, which I think is still quite a long time for bread.


It was an easy dough to work with because it was so soft and kneading it was easy, apart from the stickiness. I had to add quite a lot of flour, but if you watch the video of the episode then you will see Dave spill flour all over the board because the top falls off the flour duster and Si says “That’ll do, that’s perfect that dude!” so I wouldn’t worry if you need a lot of flour.


I would advise to add the milk to the dough very gradually, so I would follow the “wrong” BBC recipe as it tells you to add the milk at the end.



Despite the BBC website providing the “wrong” method, my naan bread was actually really nice. But it wasn’t like proper naan bread from an Indian restaurant, it was more like focaccia, which is still delicious! So I would make this recipe again, but I would treat it like a focaccia bread or pizza and load it with toppings.


So here’s the BBC recipe that I’ve adapted to show the half recipe:


  • Makes: 4 or 8
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 9/475°F/240°C



Full recipe – makes 8 Half recipe - makes 4

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp poppy seeds*
2 tsp fennel seeds*
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 free-range egg, beaten
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for glazing
200ml (300g) plain yoghurt
300ml whole milk, warmed

250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp poppy seeds* 
1 tsp fennel seeds*
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
½ free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for glazing
100ml (150g) plain yoghurt
150ml whole milk, warmed

* I substituted the poppy and fennel seeds for cumin seeds.



  1. Mix the flour, yeast, poppy and fennel seeds, salt and baking powder in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the egg, olive oil and yoghurt and stir with a plastic spatula until well combined.
  3. Add two thirds of the warm milk to the dough mixture and stir until well combined. Gradually add the remaining milk as necessary until the dough is smooth and soft (you may not need all the milk).
  4. Using floured hands, knead the dough on a clean, floured work surface for 10 minutes, or until soft and elastic. Put the dough into a clean lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. When the dough has risen, divide it into 4 or 8 parts. Using your hands, stretch and flatten each of the naans until they are thin and even, then transfer to a baking sheet. Brush each naan with olive oil.
  6. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 9/475°F/240°C.
  7. Bake the naan breads for 7-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown but still soft inside.



  • You can freeze them after they have been baked. Defrost and then reheat in the oven at Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C for about 5-7 minutes.


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