Sourdough Naan – A Naturally Leavened Flat Bread

Sourdough Naan
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Being  a  big  fan of   wild yeast I  had  to make a sourdough version of naan.  What is  so special  about  sourdough naan,   you ask ?     The  answer  lies  in the  depth of flavor ,  and  of course  there is  the  added  nutritional value.   Naan  by any method  is  a   fantastic  flat bread.  The  sourdough  version  takes  it  a  step further..

Sourdough Naan

Converting any regular bread recipe to its  wild  yeast  version  is like a  journey back in time , to an  age  where  commercial packaged  yeast   was  not  common or  even  available .   Bakers  and  home  cooks  used  to   ferment   a  variety of  things ,  fruit  peels ,  grains  etc. to make homemade  yeast  cultures.  Once the  starter culture is  created , regular  feeding  and  maintenance  regimens  ensured  that  the  yeast  population is   active  and  healthy.  Often times   a piece  of   dough ,  made   with  these  starters  is  saved  and  allowed  to  ferment  for longer  periods  typically overnight  or  8 to 10  hours to be  used as  the  starter  for  the  next  batch.


This   recipe    uses  a  simple sourdough  starter  at  100% hydration. If  you do not  have  a  starter  here is  the  recipe  to make  your  own.  Typically  naan is  made   with  all purpose  flour.  But  to my delight  I have   found  that  one  about  1/3   of  the  flour  can be  substituted   with   whole  wheat  flour (Atta)  without   compromising  the  puffy  soft  texture.   Tasty and  healthy , isn’t  that a   win  for all?

This  recipe is  very similar to the  regular  naan  recipe .

Sourdough Naan Dough

Take the  fed  and  active  starter in a  large mixing  bowl. Add  flours, salt,  oil  and  yogurt to it.Stir  well.  Slowly pour   the  water  and  knead a  few  times to  moisten all the  flour. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.  Uncover and start kneading. The  dough  should  be a  little  sticky.  As you knead  the  dough becomes  less  sticky more pliable. If  after a  few  minutes of  kneading  the  dough is  still very tacky  add a  few  tablespoons  of  flour.  Knead  for  10  . Form into a ball.   Transfer to an  oiled  bowl, turn  the  dough ball to  coat  all  sides  with   oil . Cover  and  let  rise   for  at  least 4  hours till  doubled in volume.   Under  normal temperatures  it  takes  at  least  4  hours  but if  the  ambient  temperature is  high  and  the  dough seems  to be  rising  very fast  place  it in the  refrigerator to  slow it  down.  Alternately  the  dough can be  refrigerated  for  longer  rise  for  up to  48 hours.

Shaping Home Made Naan

Punch down the  risen  dough  and  divide  into  8 portions.  Form  each portion into a ball. cover  and  let  rest  for  10 minutes.  Lightly oil  the  work surface . Place  one  dough ball on it  and  using  the  heel of  your palm  stretch the  dough out  to an oval / teardrop  shape .  The   dough  should   not  be  sticky at  this  point but if it  is  spread  a  little  bit  of  oil  in the  palms to  prevent  sticking.Cooking Home Made Naan

My favorite  way to cook this  is  a  combination of  stove top  and  broiler.  This  is  the  quickest  and  most  energy efficient  way to  do it  at  home .   Heat a  thick  bottomed  pan – like a  cast  iron griddle  till it is  smoking  hot .  Turn the  broiler on  and  place a  cookie  sheet  about  4 inches  away from it .  Place  the shaped naan on the  hot  griddle  and  cook  for 30 seconds.    By this  time  bubbles  start  forming  on top . Use a  wide  turner  or a  pizza peel to transfer   the naan to the  cookie  sheet ,  without  flipping .  Let it  cook  for  a  minute or   till  the  bubbles are  fully formed  and  the  tops  begin to brown .  Remove  from the  oven and  brush  with oil (optional) ,  and  keep  covered .

If  you have a  pizza  stone, set  the pizza  stone in the  lowest   rack of the  oven .  Heat  the  oven  set to the  highest   setting .  Once  the oven is  preheated ,  keep it  on  for  20 minutes  or  so  for  the   stone  to  absorb  as  much heat as  possible. Place  the shaped naan  directly on top of the  stone  and   cook  for  2  to  three  minutes  until  it  has  puffed  up  and  light  brown spots  appear  on top .

These can  be  made  the  same  way in  the  grill.

Sourdough Naan


Sourdough Naan
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Rest Time
7 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs

A naturally leavened  version of   the  popular  Indian flat bread Naan.

Course: Bread
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Syama
  • 125 g Whole Wheat Flour 1 C
  • 300 g All Purpose Flour 2 3/4 C (unbleached)
  • 200 g Starter 1 C (Notes)
  • 120 g Yogurt 1/2 C
  • 150 g Water 1/2C + 2 Tbsp
  • 8 g Fine Sea Salt 11/4 Tsp
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  1. Place 200 gm of fully fed and active starter in a large mixing bowl . Add the flours, salt , yogurt and oil to it . Mix everything and begin to knead while slowly adding the water. If measuring by volume add enough water to just get all the flour wet.Once the mix comes together cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

  2. After 20 minutes uncover and knead for 10 minutes to get a very soft and pliable dough. If the dough feels very tight add a few drops of water, on the other hand if it feels too sticky add a few teaspoons of flour. Try to keep the additions to minimum.The dough becomes more elastic as you knead. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Turn to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Cover and set aside to rise for at least 4 hours, till doubled. If the kitchen is warm and the dough seems to rise very fast, transfer to the fridge to slow down its progression.

  3. Uncover and punch down the dough. Divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Lightly oil a work surface. Take one dough ball and place it on the work surface. Use the heel of the palms to press the dough and stretch it out into a teardrop shape. Follow any of the following methods to cook the Naan.

Oven with Pizza Stone
  1. If you have a pizza stone in the oven , pre heat the oven to the highest setting. Keep heating once it has reached the desired temperature for at least 20 minutes for the stone to get heated as well .Use a pizza peel or a cookie sheet to slide the shaped naan to the hot stone . Bake for a couple minutes , until it blisters and begins to brown. Remove from the oven and brush with ghee.
Stove top and Broiler
  1. Heat a thick bottomed tawa, or cast iron pan on high heat. Turn on the broiler. Place a cookie sheet on a rack about 4 inches away from the broiler. Test the pan by sprinkling a couple drops of water on the pan. If the water sizzles and jumps out the pan is hot enough. Place the naan on the hot pan and cook for 30 seconds until bubbles appear on top . Transfer to the cookie sheet under the broiler and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the bubbles develop fully and the top begins to brown.
Oven without broiler and pizza stone
  1. Preheat the oven to the highest setting . Place the cookie sheet in the oven. Once the oven is hot enough , place the naan on the cookie sheet . Cook on one side for 1 to 2 minutes until it begins to puff up , flip and cook the other side.
  1. Follow the directions for the oven.
  2. Brush the naan with oil and keep covered using aluminum foil or wax paper till ready to serve . Serve warm.
Recipe Notes
  • The  starter used  here is 100% hydration  starter. In other  words  200g starter  has  100g  flour  and  100g  water. 
  • Fully fed  active  starter  means  that  the  starter  has  been  recently replenished  and  has  about  doubled  in  volume.
  • Volume measurements are approximate. Measurements are for standard 250ml cup .

Naan tastes  best  when  freshly made.     Brush   a   Naan  with a  little  bit of   oil  and  cover  with a  piece of  foil / wax paper / kitchen  towel.  Serve  warm.

The  dough on the other hand   stores  well in the  fridge  or  freezer.  If  freezing  make  sure  that   the  dough is covered  completely.



Sourdough Naan


If you try this recipe, I would  love  to hear  about it ! Leave a COMMENT, RATING , share a photo and TAG me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK  OR  GOOGLE+  

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    8 thoughts on “Sourdough Naan – A Naturally Leavened Flat Bread

    1. Hi, If I can substitute “whey” from making homemade yogurt, should I substitute for just the water or can I substitute for both yogurt and water?

      1. Hi Bob, You can definitely substitute whey for water. I would leave the yogurt in though, for a more rounded diary flavor. But if you substitute, I would love to hear about the
        results .

    2. Hi,

      We tried your “Sourdough Naan” and it is fantastic!!!

      We used “Sprouted Wheat Flour” and split the yogurt half and half with whey and then used the whey in place of the water to finish off the dough. It is great!

      The “Ghee” adds a wonderful finish.

      Thanks for the recipe!!


      1. Hi Bob,
        Thank you for the update. I am so glad you liked it.
        Sprouted Wheat flour and whey sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it myself.

    3. THANK YOU! This was my first successful sourdough bread and it was PERFECT! I think I’m going to try this for cheese pies and pizza too! I will be checking out a lot more of your recipes now!

      1. I am so glad it worked for you ! For pizza I would suggest you increase the hydration, i.e. make a more wet dough. Creates beautiful bubbly crust in hot oven. Happy baking & happy holidays !!!

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