Healthy whole wheat naan bread that is as good as it can get! After many trials I perfected my homemade recipe for a wholesome naan.
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WHOLE WHEAT NAAN
Whole wheat naan is hearty and healthy. But unlike the regular naan bread, these Indian flatbreads made with whole wheat flour are more challenging to make them tasty and acceptable.
Especially because most of us are accustomed to the taste of naan made with refined flour at restaurants. But I experimented and finally came up with a recipe that is as good as some popular readymade whole wheat naans.
It is actually a simple and easy recipe. Try and test it a few times at your own home to perfect it.
Milk, Yeast, Sugar, Whole Wheat Flour, Vital Gluten, Yogurt, Egg, Salt, Olive oil
- Milk, Yogurt and Egg: These ingredients make the dough soft and rich.
- Whole Wheat Flour: I used regular whole wheat flour. You may also try white whole wheat flour, as it is milder in flavor and lighter in color.
- Vital Gluten: This is useful for enhancing the gluten development for your flatbreads. If you don't have vital gluten, combine whole wheat flour with bread flour (or all purpose flour).
- Optional: Garlic, cilantro, butter or ghee are optional toppings.
WHOLE GRAIN NAAN DOUGH
The dough should be sticky and stretchy, so gluten development is essential. The key to a perfect whole grain naan dough is using the right proportion of liquid to flour and adequate kneading.
Whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than bread flour or all purpose flour, so give it time to absorb and add only little by little. It also takes much longer to develop gluten. Knead it longer and let it rest and rise also longer.
If the dough turns out dense and you are not able to hand stretch it, then use a rolling pin. The result will not be perfect but it will taste fine and you can improve it next time.
- Buy fresh flour from good stores and use in 2 to 3 months. Store it in fridge or freezer to prevent flour turning rancid.
- You can increase fiber in your recipes gradually. Start with ⅓ substitution and increase it as accepted.
- Baking stone or cast iron pans/skillets provide a hot surface for making wheat naan breads. Alternatively, you can try using an inverted baking sheet in the oven.
Following are few suggestions. I have not tried them myself.
- Vegan: Do not use yogurt, milk, egg and butter or ghee. Instead try nut milk, flax eggs, coconut yogurt and coconut oil or olive oil.
- Dairy Free: Try nut milk, coconut yogurt and plant based oils. Do not use yogurt, milk, butter or ghee.
- Egg Free: Do not use egg but increase the amount of yogurt and/or milk.
- 50 % Whole Wheat: If you are new to making whole wheat flatbreads or have picky eaters at home, then start with half bread flour and half whole wheat flour.
Wrap fresh naans in paper towels or kitchen towels and store in ziplock bags. They will last for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. In refrigerator they will be fine for 2 to 3 days. Always keep them wrapped and prevent exposure to air as they will dry out.
These healthy naans are best when freshly baked. If you don't plan on using them, freeze quickly and store for couple months. Wrap in foil and reheat in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
Homemade oven pita breads baked at highest possible temperature and in shortest possible time will be the best.
WHOLE WHEAT NUTRITION
I have discussed about whole wheat flour benefits for gut health and more in the post on Honey Wheat Rolls.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH NAAN
MORE FLATBREAD RECIPES
- Indian Naan Bread (Restaurant Style)
- Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- Easy Flatbread Recipe (No Yeast)
- Paratha (Flaky Layered Flatbread)
- Sheermal (rich, subtly sweet flatbread)
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Whole Wheat Naan
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee, optional
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- chopped cilantro optional
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, combine water and milk. Then sprinkle dry yeast, sugar and allow it to rest five minutes for the yeast to foam up.
- Add 2 cups of flour, vital gluten and stir together into a sticky mass. Let it rest 15 minutes to absorb all the liquids.
- Mix in yogurt, egg, salt and olive oil, with the mixer running at low speed. Add remaining flour, gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft but slightly sticky.
- Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes at medium to medium-high setting. Gradually the dough should pull away from the sides but hold on to the hook. Be sure to use flour as minimally as possible.
- Once kneaded, the dough should be soft, smooth, shiny and elastic. And stretch without tearing. Check the window pane test. Tip: The dough should be sticky and not dense, as the flour will gradually absorb more liquid. There should be considerable difference in extensibility before and after kneading.
- Roll the dough ball in an oiled bowl to coat with oil. Cover with a lid or cling wrap and place in a warm place (inside an oven that is not preheated works well). Let it rise and double in bulk for about 1 hour (2 hours for active dry).
Dough Balls, Rolling Naan and Baking
- Preheat oven to the highest temperature in your oven (550 degrees Fahrenheit in my oven). Place a baking stone, cast iron pan or inverted baking sheet in middle of oven.
- Deflate dough on a lightly oiled surface and divide it into 5 equal pieces. Roll the dough into smooth round balls while pulling the seams and tucking underneath. Cover dough balls with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Lightly press down each dough ball. Holding a corner of the dough ball with one hand, press with fingertips using the other hand and shape it out into a triangle or oval naan, that is about ⅛ inch thick. Tip: Do not roll it out evenly or it will puff up.
- Holding the wider side of naan, slap it on the hot baking stone. The side that was facing up on the working surface (exposed to air) should be facing up. Depending on the size of the stone/pan, you may work with two naans at a time. Tip: If naan puffs up, try pressing indentations in the rolled out naan before baking.
- Bake naan for 4 to 5 minutes, until you notice some puffed up brown spots.
- Remove from oven and brush butter or ghee on top. Wrap freshly baked flatbreads in kitchen towel and pack in zip lock bags, to keep prevent drying out.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, melt butter or ghee over medium heat. Add grated garlic and stir 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Strain butter and set it aside. Then discard garlic.
Stove Top (Optional Method)
- At medium high setting, pre-heat cast iron skillet for 5 minutes. It is ready for cooking if you feel the heat, when you place your palm 3 inches above the skillet.
- Transfer naan dough to hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you notice puffed up spots and the bottom turns light brown. Flip naan and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes until brown spots appear. If needed, flip naan and finish cooking. Cool and store bread as mentioned above.
- Dry Yeast: Use thermometer and follow temperature recommendations. It is 110 degrees F for active dry yeast and 125 degrees F for rapid rise yeast.
- Best Naan: Flatbread tastes best when it is baked at highest possible temperature and in shortest possible time.
- Dough by Hand: Stir all ingredients using a strong wooden spoon and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Storage: These naan will last for 1 to 2 days at room temperature. You may refrigerate the naan for 2 to 3 days. Avoid leaving naan exposed to air for hours.
- Freeze: Frozen naan can be stored for couple months. Wrap in foil and reheat in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes.
- Leftover Dry Naan: Lightly spray dried naan with water and reheat at 350 degrees F for couple minutes until warm.