Today, we want to show you how to use your sourdough discard to make Indian naan bread. We designed this recipe to be as quick as possible, so you'll have fluffy and flavourful flatbread ready in no time — perfect for accompanying your favourite chutneys and curries.
Because we use our sourdough starter almost every day, we're constantly feeding it to have it ready for our next recipes, and we have a lot of discard we don't want to throw away between feedings.
That's why we like to come up with new recipe ideas that help us clear the excess sourdough starter fast. And make some delicious food too!
Naan is a leavened Indian flatbread made with flour, salt, melted butter, dry yeast and yogurt. This rich dough is kneaded, proved, and shaped into flatbread before being cooked in a hot tandoor oven.
Using your sourdough starter to make naan bread means you won't need dry yeast and yogurt. Because sourdough is already acidic, it replaces the distinctive sour flavour of yogurt perfectly.
We tested the recipe both with and without yogurt, and we noticed very little difference between the two in terms of taste and texture. So we skipped the yogurt altogether.
We also replaced the traditional melted butter with vegetable oil to make this naan bread recipe dairy-free and vegan.
But feel free to use butter if you prefer or don't have any special dietary needs.
The great thing about this recipe is that you won't have to prove the naan dough for hours. Instead, just let the dough rest long enough for it to "relax" and then roll out the naans.
Because sourdough discard is usually a day or two old, it's not as powerful as a well-fed sourdough starter. So, even if you let the sourdough naan dough proof for hours, it won't grow and puff as much.
So how do you make sourdough discard naan super bubbly? With a little baking soda.
Baking soda reacts with the acidic component of the sourdough, releasing lots of air bubbles and puffing up the naan. Super!
- Chopped Fresh Garlic
- Cumin Seeds
- Chopped Fresh Coriander
- Ground Cumin
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Coriander Seeds
- Plain Flour
- Baking Soda
- Sourdough Starter Discard
- Vegetable Oil (plus extra for brushing)
To make this naan bread, you can use the sourdough starter you would normally throw away before the next "feeding" (called sourdough discard).
It's fine if the sourdough is unfed and not so bubbly or active, as we'll use a little baking soda to help the flatbread fluff up.
In a bowl, mix plain flour with salt, baking soda, and seasoning.
Then, tip in the sourdough starter and vegetable oil.
You can use a mix of white and wholemeal flour for extra fibres, omit the seasoning or opt for other spices — check the tips at the bottom of the page for substitutions.
Work the ingredients inside the bowl until they come together into a rough dough.
The dough should be very soft but not so wet that it doesn't detach from the sides of the bowl (1).
Let it rest for 5-10 minutes covered with a tea towel in the bowl, and then transfer it onto a flat surface, lightly dusted with flour.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it's smooth and pliable (2).
Try not to use too much flour when kneading, as you want the dough to stay soft and slightly sticky.
Now, divide the naan dough into as many pieces as the number of servings — 6 pieces for the default ingredients, each weighing about 80g (2.8oz).
For each piece, tuck the sides of the dough under and roll the dough under your palm over a flat surface to shape it into a tight, smooth ball.
Place the dough balls onto a lightly floured sheet of baking paper and brush them with little vegetable oil.
Then, cover them with cling film or tea towel and let them rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes; they'll be easier to stretch into flatbread in the next step.
Now, let's shape the naan bread.
Take one dough ball, dust a flat surface with a little flour, and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a teardrop shape.
Make sure the flatbread is 3-4mm thick so it will be soft and fluffy.
Repeat for the other dough balls and keep the shaped naans covered so they won't dry out.
You can use either a non-stick frying pan or a cast-iron skillet for cooking the naan.
Because the cast-iron skillet becomes hotter than the frying pan, the flatbread will cook faster, get puffier and more charred.
So, use it if you have it to get better results. Still, the naans will come just as tasty with the non-stick frying pan.
Lightly grease the pan and heat it over medium-high heat.
When the skillet is hot, lay in the naan bread and cook it for about 2-3 minutes.
When the surface of the sourdough flatbread is nicely bubbly and the bottom is charred in patches, flip the naan and cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes or until cooked through.
Brush the naans with a little oil while still warm and garnish them with cumin seeds, chopped fresh garlic and coriander.
For extra flavour, you can mix the oil with these herbs and seasonings in a small cup and warm it in the oven or microwave to let the flavours infuse; then brush the seasoned oil over the warm naan and serve.
Instead of cumin, coriander, and garlic powder, you can season the naan with turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, or use seeds like nigella seeds, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds.