Naan in a Cast-Iron Skillet

I had been looking at some of the many recipes online for Naan, which use baking in a high temperature oven to mimic the traditional super-hot tandoori ovens they are really done in (hopefully have the facts correct).  I’ve done this before a few years ago and wasn’t to thrilled with the experience.  Shifting things around in super hot ovens is not my forte.

Then I found this post How To Make Naan on A Griddlewhich is essentially a cast iron skillet in flatter form, and thought I’d try it!  So the recipe and the credit goes to the author of that site, and the failure (in progress as I write so we will see) or success is mine.

The dough is very moist, and no kneading is necessary, and it totally reminded me of my big craze about a year ago for making Chef Michael Smith’s No Knead Breadwhich I highly recommend you try!

It was actually so moist though, that I did add some extra flour – flour is tricky with doughs, it all depends on air humidity etc.  so you have to kind of go by feel if you can.

Naan in a Cast-Iron Skillet
3/4 tsp. yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder (or minced garlic) which is optional
2 cups warm water
3 cups flour

Dump the yeast, salt and garlic (if using) in a large mixing bowl.  Pour in warm water.  Mix, but there is no need to wait to “proof” the yeast.

Yeast, garlic powder, salt and water.
Yeast, garlic powder, salt and water.

Add the flour, and mix just until it forms shaggy dough.

Very sticky loose dough, after adding flour to wet ingredients.
Very sticky loose dough, after adding flour to wet ingredients.

Cover with a lid or plate but not in a sealed fashion – as in if it is a tupperware lid, set it on top, but don’t seal it – I used a dinner plate on a steel bowl.  Let the dough rise on the counter for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Dough after 2 hour rise.
Dough after 2 hour rise.

Roll pieces of dough out to 1/4″ thickness in shape which will fit your skillet well.  Note:  if you use this dough recipe, you will need A LOT of flour or you will have a sticky mess!

Dough patted out into shape.
Dough patted out into shape.

Preheat the skillet for about 4 minutes at a medium high heat.  Add about a tsp. of oil (or ghee), then slap your Naan on it.  For me the next step was the tricky part – cover the skillet – I had only one lid even close to large enough, so I made do with it.  The lid allows it to fry on one side while the heat bakes the top.

Lidded "oven" skillet technique.
Lidded “oven” skillet technique.
Dough shape as it ends when you get it into skillet!  but note the lovely puffy cooking!
Dough shape as it ends when you get it into skillet! but note the lovely puffy cooking!

When the bottom is browned, flip over, and wait for the other side to brown.  Remove Naan and repeat with remaining dough!

Warning – this will create some smoke so be ready to turn off your fire alarm, open your windows, or deal with that how you will!

Pile of finished Naan.
Pile of finished Naan.

Result:  I was please with the final results, though since I’ve only ever had Naan from a grocer’s and not an Indian cook or restaurant, I’ve no idea if they are “right” or “good” – Next time though, I would definitely go with a more standard dough, one of the recipes that recommend oven cooking.

I thank the original author of the recipe/technique for the idea of a lid, which I think will make a huge difference to puffiness and texture.  But this dough is just too loose and sticky to deal with for me – she is obviously of greater talents!  I could press it out into nice 1/4″ Naans, but in transferring to the skillet the dough was so soft that it stretched and warped and did all kinds of curse worthy things!

So, on the whole, tastes good, keep the lid technique, lose the loosey-goosey dough!

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