Indian flat breads, such as naan, are ideal for soaking up curries or any saucy main dish. This dough gets its tender texture from full-fat yogurt, so you don’t want to substitute low-fat yogurt. For extra-garlicky naan, add 2 cloves of gently sautéed minced garlic to the dough with the liquids. Or sprinkle finely chopped fresh herbs over the garlic oil brushed on hot naan as it comes out of the skillet.
1. Stir yeast into 1/4 cup warm (105°–115°F) water until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor, stand mixer, or regular bowl. (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)
3. Stir yogurt and 2 Tbs. olive oil into 3/4 cup warm (105°–115°F) water. Stir yeast mixture and yogurt mixture into flour mixture. (If using food processor, add liquids through feeding tube with processor running. If using stand mixer with dough hook, add liquids in steady stream with mixer on low speed.) Follow kneading instructions below.
4. Place dough in oiled bowl, and cover. Let rise in warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until doubled in volume. Deflate dough. Divide dough into quarters; divide each quarter in half to make 8 pieces total. Shape dough pieces into discs, cover with clean kitchen towel, and let rest 10 minutes.
5. Combine remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil with garlic. (Gently heat this mixture in saucepan 1 to 2 minutes if you prefer mellower flavor.)
6. Heat large cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat until drop of water evaporates on contact. Meanwhile, on lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough disc into 8-inch round. Transfer to skillet, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden-brown spots appear on bottom (check by lifting with tongs) and bread puffs slightly. Flip; cook 1 minute more, pressing with spatula to promote even browning. Transfer to serving plate, and brush with garlic oil. Repeat with remaining dough disks.
3 ways to knead
By Hand Best for cooks who want to “feel” when dough is ready and desire more control.
1. Combine all but 1/3 cup of flour (reserve this for kneading) with dry ingredients in bowl. Stir in yeast and liquids until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto work surface dusted with reserved flour. Gather the edges of dough into center to make a tight ball, and press with heel of hand several times to remove air from dough. Let dough rest 4 to 5 minutes so it will be less sticky when you knead.
2. Flatten dough ball by pushing down and away from you with the heel of your hand (dough will be an oval-shaped blob). Pull and fold far edge back over dough. Turn dough a quarter turn. Repeat. Kneading can take 2 to 10 minutes. Fully kneaded dough will be smooth and won’t stick to your hands.
Stand Mixer (with hook attachment) Best for traditionalists who don’t like to get their hands sticky. This method comes closest to hand kneading without the effort.
Place dry ingredients in mixer bowl, and fit mixer with dough hook. Mix on low speed 1 minute to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add yeast and liquids by pouring them down the inside of the bowl. Increase speed to medium-low, and mix 2 minutes. Let dough rest 5 minutes. Mix at medium-low speed 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Increase speed to medium, and mix 2 minutes. Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl. Dough temperature should be close to 90°F.
Food Processor (with regular or dough blade) Best for bakers in a hurry. The blade kneads dough in under 90 seconds.
Pulse dry ingredients in food processor fitted with dough blade to combine. With processor running, add yeast and liquids through feed tube. Stop once liquids have been added. Pulse on and off 8 to 10 times until dough comes together in a ball and no dry ingredients remain. Dough temperature will be about 90°F.