243: Whole Wheat Sourdough Naan

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To accompany a recipe, I wanted to make some flatbread or naan. I also had some fed sourdough starter, and I knew there would be some good naan recipes around that called for 100% hydration starter. The one that seemed to fit my schedule the best was Whole Wheat Sourdough Naan.

I weighed all of my ingredients for this recipe, because everything was nice and simple in ounces (the only scale I had at the time). I put together all of the ingredients in the stand mixer, substituting a little canola oil for butter because I didn’t feel like melting any. My yogurt was non-fat (a potential sin) so I substituted a tiny bit of 2% milk for a bit of it. I added a few drops of water because I confused this recipe with a different one I had been looking at, so I also added a little more flour.

I let it mix and knead for a while because I felt like it wasn’t well-kneaded. I was doing other things in the kitchen at the time and so I didn’t pay attention to the time (and I know it went a while), although I did check on the dough periodically. When I would check on it, I would try window-paning it to stretch out the dough to see if it would become translucent (it wouldn’t). At some point, the dough stopped clinging to the dough hook and started looking like a sticky pool in the bottom (and sides) of the bowl.  Such a drastic change was concerning – the dough was much stickier than it had originally been. Since that seemed extremely moist, I added extra flour (AP flour, since that’s what I had out) to make it a regular ball of dough. I kneaded this in by hand and that seemed to help; it seemed like regular dough, finally.

I was about to put it in a fresh bowl to rest when I realized I had forgotten to add the salt! Salt keeps yeast from growing too crazily, so I was afraid of what would happen without it. I poured the salt over the dough and attempted to knead it in. Once the outside of the dough ball didn’t seem gritty with salt, I put it in a bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.

Actually, it sat a bit longer than that. I decided not to make dinner that day since we were getting home pretty late, so I didn’t divide it in the morning. After 24 hours, I took it out of the fridge, divided it into 8 balls of dough, covered them on a pan and put them back in the fridge.

After work on the second day, I pulled the dough from the fridge. I briefly heated the oven and put the dough in there to rise a little bit. After about an hour or so, I pulled them out so I could preheat the oven. I decided to roll out four, set two in the fridge to bake the following day, and decided to see how well the remaining two balls of dough froze.

I preheated the baking sheet while the oven preheated (I don’t have a baking stone, which the recipe suggests). I rolled out the dough pretty flat, as the recipe instructed, but I didn’t measure it so I don’t know how flat I actually got it. I put one on the preheated sheet and baked it at 450F for about 6 minutes, since I didn’t want to get my oven that hot – after all, it’s still late summer. It became a little crisp around the edges, and didn’t puff up that much, perhaps because it tore a little as I put it on the sheet. I baked the second one similarly. The third one I sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled on garlic powder and salt; it baked at 500F for about 4 or 5 minutes. It puffed up a little more. The fourth I also baked for 4 or 5 minutes; it puffed up more, perhaps because I didn’t tear it before it baked.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Naan
Whole Wheat Sourdough Naan

These were fine. The puffy parts had better texture and taste than the parts that didn’t puff up. It definitely tasted like whole wheat, but it was decent on its own with the garlic and salt on it. We weren’t dipping it in anything, so it was really just bread on its own – not really something I enjoy too much. That said, this was still fine.

Two days later, I cooked the two balls of dough that I had saved in the refrigerator. I took another look at the recipe and decided I may have rolled the earlier naan too thin. I rolled these out and measured their thickness (1/8 inch, as recommended). They were definitely not as long as the earlier naan. I baked these 6-7 minutes at 450F, and I think they turned out better. Honestly, the naan reminded me of the whole wheat pitas I will buy to go with hummus, rather than naan that you get with Indian food; this is probably because I wasn’t brushing them with butter or ghee when I made them.

naan I made a few days later, which also turned out better

As of right now, I haven’t made the naan dough that I froze. When I do, I’ll definitely make them smaller like I did on my second attempt, because those didn’t burn and had a better, bread-ier texture. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of naan – I like it okay, but I usually prefer to eat rice with my Indian food than naan. I think I’d rather make naan that has a mixture of whole wheat and regular flour, to make it less dense and less healthy tasting. This may have tasted better with half-fat or full-fat yogurt. This recipe worked, though, and if you want whole wheat naan, I suggest you give it a try.

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