Super soft and fluffy, flavourful Sourdough Discard Naan breads, that are both easy to make and good for you due to the benefits of sourdough. The ingredients will probably already be in your store cupboard or fridge. These are incredibly versatile to use as flatbread recipe for all kinds of meals, including the Falafel Wraps I created them for, a quick pizza or to brush with garlic butter and enjoy them with a curry.
Why You Want to Make These
Have you ever bought Naan bread in the supermarket, but after trying fresh Naan in an Indian restaurant, you feel they always fall short on the flavour and texture front? Yeah, me too.
I absolutely loved the super soft and fluffy flatbreads at an Indian place and nearly enjoyed them more than the Chicken Korma they came with. To me, Bread is a main part of a meal and I’d like it to be utterly delicious.
That’s why I make pretty much all of my bread at home. Being German and used to really good bread straight from the bakery around the corner, I always felt standard yeast bread doesn’t entirely live up to what I enjoy. After moving to Ireland, I realised that the lack of flavour was due to the fact that most breads in Germany include sourdough, which gives them a distinct gentle to strong tang, and layers of flavour, depending on how long you allow it to ferment before baking. After that realisation I started trying different recipes using it, including sweet baked goods with great success.
This Sourdough Discard Naan is no exception. Starting with a yeast based recipe from one of my all-time favourite blogs “Half Baked Harvest”, I modified it to include sourdough as it’s main raising ingredient and for flavour and am absolutely delighted with the results. Soft, fluffy, easy to wrap around anything you might decide to roll into them, with a very gentle tang from said sourdough, these are absolutely everything I want from bread.
A word on sourdough, which might sound familiar if you read my recipe for German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread, so you could skip ahead if you did.
Sourdough and long rising time make the bread very easy digestible, which is especially helpful for those of you that have a gluten sensitivity. Sourdough bread is known to have a much slower release of sugar, not spiking insulin as fast compared to white bread made with yeast or from the supermarket, meaning even diabetics can eat it (within reason).
It’s great if you are on a diet and don’t want to give up bread, as it’s very nutritious and makes you feel full longer.
It’s also very flexible and versatile when it comes generally to baked goods, so I use it in everything from bread to even brownies, as it adds so much in terms of flavour.
The fact that the sourdough gets better with a slower rise and is happy to wait for you in the fridge for up to 48 hours makes these Sourdough Discard Naan breads incredibly flexible for meal prep or a family feast you are planning. You can do everything in advance except the frying of the bread.
Though I found that they keep really well in a bread tin, to be re-heated for a few seconds in the microwave when you want to enjoy them. So even that would be an option, to relax on workdays or when your guests are around.
Sourdough Naan is a fantastic side not just for Indian curries, but pretty much everything that goes with soft and fluffy flatbread. That can be a stew, to mop up the juices, Falafel Wraps (Recipe coming soon) or even as a base for a super quick weekday pizza. Or of course very classic brushed with garlic butter, which makes them pretty irresistible.
You can use either these Sourdough Discard Naan or my Sourdough Flatbread with Feta in the upcoming Mezze Feast, depending on your preference and if you’d like to create wraps with Falafels or not.
Besides the above mentioned Sourdough starter, you’ll need flour. I used a mix of plain white flour and whole wheat, to add some nutrition and nutty flavour.
You can use all plain white or bread flour here, for even softer, chewier Naans.
Even though I read that traditional Naan back in time was made with only whole wheat flour, I wouldn’t advise it, if you want to wrap anything into the flatbreads, as it tends to give a little firmer consistency.
I’m using Oat milk here, as I’m lactose intolerant, but you can use any kind of full fat milk. The fat content adds to the softness, which is why I’m not using unsweetened Almond milk or similar, to not change the consistency.
Butter gives these Naan breads their incredible softness and adds a lovely moisture to the dough. Plus of course flavour. I’m not using much, 4 tbsp are enough to give the desired effect.
You could use olive or neutral oil instead if you are vegan or rather avoid butter.
Greek Yoghurt, similar to the butter, adds to the softness and moisture of the bread and is essential to get the super pliable bread I’m aiming for. Full fat in this case, as that will help with all 3 of the above characteristics.
In theory you wouldn’t need yeast here if you want to let the sourdough do it’s thing overnight. But I added it as I was in a bit of a hurry and wanted to eat the bread on the same day. The rise was rather fast and lively with yeast, so you can probably even leave it out if you prepare the dough early morning for dinner.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Similar to the yeast, but with even quicker rising abilities, you can give your Naan Bread a boost by adding these, if you have, say, only a few hours until you want to eat.
I ended up leaving them out, as they lose their functionality when left for a longer fermentation, which is what I usually aim for with sourdough. Just know it’s an option for getting fluffy Naan if you are in a hurry.
I’m using a little honey here to feed the yeast, which loves a little sweetness to wake up. Also to balance the tang from the sourdough.
You could use sugar instead, if you prefer.
One of the main differentiating ingredients between bland bread and really good bread is salt. Not much, but enough to give it some flavour. Just don’t mix it with the yeast at the start, as yeast will die immediately when touching salt. Instead mix it into the flour, so it’s less concentrated before coming in contact.
I’m using Kosher salt here, as pretty much always, because it gives me more control over the seasoning. If you use sea salt, use half of the given amount.
Warm the milk in the microwave or in a pot for a moment, just to get it lukewarm and add the warm water. It should just feel very slightly warm to the touch and comfortable on the skin. Mix in the yeast and honey and let it stand for about 10 minutes, to activate the yeast. If you see some bubbles appearing after that time, your yeast is alive and will do its job. If not, it’s too old and won’t add any rise to your bread. If you have used your yeast recently and know it’s still fresh, you can skip this step and add milk, water and yeast together with the other wet ingredients.
Melt the Butter and let it cool to lukewarm or room temperature, so it doesn’t kill the yeast or sourdough on contact.
Add first the flour, salt, baking powder and soda (if using) to a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Give the dry ingredients a good mix, to disperse the salt.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix briefly with a spoon. If your stand mixer manages to catch the flour from the sides easily, you can skip the spoon step. I noticed mine does a better job when I briefly pre-mix.
Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8-10 minutes or until very smooth and elastic. To check if it’s ready and has developed enough gluten, perform the windowpane test.
The dough should at this point be smooth and reasonably easy to work with, but slightly sticky, which will change after it had time to rise. If you feel it’s too sticky, add a little flour at a time.
Shape into a smooth ball with your hands and put into a lightly oiled bowl. I often simply use the cleaned bowl of my stand mixer, as it has a lid attached, so I can let the dough rise at room temperature. If keeping it in the fridge overnight, I love a Tupperware bowl designed specifically for yeasted doughs, as the lid “plops” open once the dough has risen enough.
Once your dough has risen to about double its size or, if you had it in the fridge, the next day, divide it into 8 equal pieces.Take each piece form it into a round bun.
At this point you can either roll them out right away or store in the fridge or freezer for another day.
I often store a few unbaked ones in my freezer, as they take only a few hours to thaw, so I can have homemade fresh Naan anytime.
Once you want to fry your Naan bread (which will take about 2-4 minutes per portion), lightly flour your work surface. Use either lightly floured rolling pin or, if you have one, a tortilla press lined with a cut open freezer bag, to get your Naan bread into shape.
You can aim either for an oval or round. They should be relatively thin without ripping. About ¼ inch thick is a good guideline. A tortilla press will achieve a pretty decent even round shape, while rolling pins tend to produce something more oval. But then, these are Naan breads and homemade, they are not supposed to look perfect.
Get a frying pan you have a lid for really hot on medium-high heat. Add a small bit of olive oil and rub it around the pan carefully with a bunched up paper towel, so you don’t burn yourself.
Add a rolled out Naan bread to the pan and cover with the lid immediately. This is where the magic happens.You’ll see the characteristic big bubbles appearing after about 1 minute.
Flip the bread and cook uncovered for another minute or two, until the bubbles on the now underside show golden browning.
To keep these really soft and pliable, I used a trick I learned from a friend: Take one large plate, cover with a clean kitchen towel, add the fried Sourdough Naan and wrap it with the towel, then cover with another large plate that is turned upside down. This will keep the steam and moisture inside, meaning your bread will be perfectly soft and warm until you are done frying.
If you’d like to brush them with garlic butter (I didn’t, since I made them for Falafel wraps), do so ideally right after frying and sprinkle with a few chopped herbs, such as Cilantro, if you like.
Enjoy your super soft and fluffy Sourdough Discard Naan in any way you like.
The fact that the sourdough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days allows for easy planning around mealtimes and days. The flavour only gets better during that time.
As mentioned above, you can freeze the divided dough in portions. Either in freezer bags or a freezer proof container.
Alternatively roll them out and store between layers of baking parchment and freeze like that, which allows for even quicker use.
Or, as last variant to freeze, fry all and freeze some of the readily fried ones in freezer bags once cooled, to always have a super quick homemade bread or pizza option.
Without freezing, these Naan Breads keep in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. Re-heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I did this in a special tortilla warmer than can go into the microwave, which gave me absolutely brilliant results. I got the warmer together with my tortilla press as an added benefit.
The Mezze Feast
Here are the recipes posted for the Mezze Feast so far. Mix and match whatever you like, use just one as super quick snack or dinner or all of them for one stunning feast.
Use either these Sourdough Discard Naans or the Sourdough Flatbread with Feta as your bread for it.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
Sourdough Discard Naan
- ½ cup oat milk or any full fat milk of your choice
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup full fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 cup sourdough starter active or discard
- 2.5 cups plain white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour ideally fine
- ½ tsp kosher salt half if using sea salt
- 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled to room temperature
If you want to fry your Sourdough Naan within 1-2h:
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Warm the milk in the microwave or in a pot until it's lukewarm. Add the warm water. It should feel slightly warm to the touch and comfortable on the skin. Mix in the yeast and honey and let it stand for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast. If you see bubbles forming, your yeast is alive and active.
- Melt the butter and let it cool to lukewarm or room temperature to avoid killing the yeast or sourdough.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add the white flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and optional baking powder and soda (if using). Mix the dry ingredients to disperse the salt evenly.
- Add the remaining ingredients, including the yeast mixture and melted butter. Mix briefly with a spoon or in your stand mixer. If your stand mixer easily catches the flour from the sides, you can skip the initial spoon mixing.
- Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8-10 minutes or until it becomes very smooth and elastic. To check if it's ready and has developed enough gluten, perform the windowpane test.
- The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky at this point, but it will become easier to work with as it rises. If it feels too sticky, add a little flour at a time.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball with your hands and place it in a lightly oiled bowl for rising. You can use the bowl of your stand mixer or a suitable container with a lid. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in size. If you plan to refrigerate it overnight, use a large container, as the dough may expand significantly.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, or the next day if refrigerated, divide it into 8 equal pieces. Take each piece and tuck the edges underneath to form a round bun with a smooth surface.
- You can choose to roll them out immediately or store them in the fridge or freezer for later use. Frozen naan can be thawed in just a few hours for fresh naan anytime.
- When you're ready to fry your naan bread, lightly flour your work surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin or a tortilla press lined with a cut-open freezer bag to shape the naan. Aim for a relatively thin, oval or round shape, about ¼ inch thick.
- Heat a frying pan with a lid on medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil and rub it around the pan with a bunched-up paper towel.
- Place a rolled-out naan in the pan and cover it with the lid immediately. Bubbles should start appearing after about 1 minute.
- Flip the naan and cook uncovered for another 1-2 minutes until the underside shows golden browning and is cooked through.
- To keep the naan soft and pliable, stack them between two large plates covered with a clean kitchen towel. This will help retain the steam and moisture, keeping the naan warm and soft until you're done frying.
- If desired, brush the naan with garlic butter and sprinkle with chopped herbs, such as cilantro, right after frying.
- Your homemade sourdough discard naan is now ready to be enjoyed!
Protein per Portion: Approximately 9 grams
Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 53 grams
Fat per Portion: Approximately 6 grams
Sodium per Portion: Approximately 193 milligrams