Petrie’s Sourdough Naan

I had a big Indian cook-up recently and as part of this decided to try my hand at making sourdough naan for the first time. Naan is delicious and I insist on having it whenever I go out for Indian. Who needs rice when you can have naan? Not me! Unfortunately it usually contains baker’s yeast and therefore gives me a nasty tummy ache.

I had no idea how to make naan and so turned to the blogosphere to find the answers I needed. I wanted something simple and something I could adapt. I settled on Ambika’s Kitchen blog,

Ambika’s recipe requires one to start preparing a minimum of 21 hours in advance, including 18 hours to develop a yoghurt sourdough culture and three hours to rest the dough.

I’m not that organised. I knew I was intending to make a sourdough naan so I fed my sourdough culture, Petrie, the night before, but I didn’t look for a recipe until the day I was intending to cook. I adapted the recipe.

To make the dough I softened butter (2 tablespoons) and mixed it by hand with flour (1 2/3 cup), salt (1 teaspoon), baking powder (1 teaspoon) and sugar (1 teaspoon). You will end up with a crumble somewhat more floury than the crumble you put on an apple pie.

1 crumbleNext I lightly beat an egg and added that, quarter of a cup of natural yoghurt and one cup of Petrie (sourdough starter) to the flour crumble. Mix with break hooks (or by hand) until elastic and it comes away from the edges of the bowl easily. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and rest for four hours.

2 doughOnce the dough has rested, knead gently and separate into eight pieces. On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a disc. I let my naan discs rest for about two hours before cooking.

The traditional way to cook naan is to use a tandoori oven. For the majority amongst us that don’t have a tandoori oven, you can either cook in the oven under the grill (or broil in America) or on the stovetop.

I decided to give both options a try. I also like garlic naan so a spread finely chopped garlic on half my dough discs.

For the fry pan method – put the naan in the fry pan (garlic side up). Flip the naan when you see big bubbles forming – this is a bit of trial and error, if you flip the naan and it hasn’t browned, flip it back over and wait a little longer.

For the grill method – flip when the top has lightly browned.

4 frypan method

5 oven 1

Once your naan is cooked, generously spread butter on it 🙂

6 naan

In my opinion, the fry pan is quicker, easier to control and the outcome better. But it depends on your personal preference, I like soft and chewy naan, if you like crispy naan you may prefer the oven method.

Serve with delicious curry. I made dal makhani curry, a creamy black lentil and red kidney bean dahl.

7 serve

Ingredients: 1 cup – sourdough starter , 1t – sugar, 1t – salt, 1t – baking powder (not baking or bi-carb soda), 2T – butter, 1 2/3 cup – plain flour, ¼ cup – natural yoghurt, 1 egg

Equipment: 2 big bowls, rolling pin, fry pan or over tray


  1. Crumble flour, softened butter, salt, sugar and baking powder together
  2. Add egg, yoghurt and starter culture to mixture. Mix with electric bread hooks until elastic
  3. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover and rest for 4 hours
  4. Gently knead dough and divide into eight portions
  5. On a well floured bench roll each portion into a disc and rest for a further two hours.
  6. Cook the dough
    • Fry pan – fry at medium-high until big bubble form. Flip and cook until golden on both sides
    • Oven – cook until the grill (broil) until lightly bowned. Flip and repeat.
  7. Once the naan is cooked generously butter and serve with delicious curry.

Want curry ideas to go with your naan? See Prawn Sambal, Malai Curry, Pumpkin Dahl

Want more sourdough ideas? Crumpets, bread, pizza bases


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