It’s time to pull out the cast iron skillet and learn how to whip up a batch of this sesame naan bread. It’s the perfect accompaniment for those winter soups and curries!
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SESAME NAAN BREAD RECIPE VIDEO
If you want to see how it’s made, check out the video tutorial. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!
CAST IRON SKILLET SESAME NAAN BREAD
If you’ve never had naan before, it’s kind of like a pita bread that’s found in many Eastern cuisines. When I think of naan, Indian is the first cuisine that comes to mind, but it’s one of many. Traditionally, naan is baked in a tandoor oven, but since I don’t have one of those in my kitchen, I always turn to my trusty cast iron skillet whenever I’m making a batch. This is also the case when I make flour tortillas and breakfast biscuits, so naan bread is a natural fit. If you’re new to the world of cast iron cooking, you’ll want to begin HERE, but if you know your way around cast iron, please, continue. Of course, it’s also possible to use whatever pan you wish, but I hope you give cast iron a shot!
SIMPLE BEGINNINGS: THE FIRST STEP
Naan is a leavened bread, meaning it’s a yeasted product. The first step to making sesame naan bread is activating the yeast with warm water and milk until the yeast is frothy. This takes about five minutes, after which half of the measured flour gets mixed in. My favourite tool for this kind of job is a funky kitchen gadget I was gifted with last year: a dough whisk. My dough whisks spent the first six months of their life tucked away in a closet, but then one day my favourite spatula went missing. That’s when I learned that a dough whisk makes mixing dough a dream. Anyhow, this mixture of flour, water and yeast forms the basis of a simple starter. Walk away for fifteen minutes and then…
KNEAD IT ALL UP
When you return you’ll be adding the rest of the flour, yogurt, baking powder, salt, and sesame seeds. Bring it all together until you have the makings of a soft dough and then add melted butter to the mix. With your strong, capable hands, you’re going to knead that dough. Pouring your love and energy into it, working away at it for eight to ten minutes. Alternatively, if you’re fresh out of love and energy (or have a low tolerance for dough hands), you can fix your stand mixer with a dough hook for this step.
Now that you have a ball of dough, oil the mixing bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and take another break, this time for 45 minutes or until the dough is doubled in size. If you used a stand mixer, this is a golden opportunity to wash the dishes.
Once the naan dough is risen, dust your work counter with flour and turn out the dough. Gently punch dough the dough by pressing down on it (not actually punching it) to let out some of the air. Shape it into a rough circle to make it easy to divide up. Using a bench scraper or a serrated knife, divide the dough into eight portions. Alternatively, you can scale the portions by weighing the dough and dividing the number in eight. Eyeballing this process makes it go a lot faster, however.
After the initial proof, the dough for sesame naan bread is ready to go. Using your trusty rolling pin, roll the balls into circle or oval shapes, getting them down to 3cm or 1¼” thickness.
BUTTER AND PREHEAT
Unlike other cookware, cast ironware needs to be preheated before you start cooking. Preheat it over medium heat before putting on the first naan. While the skillet heats up, brush the naan on both sides with melted butter or ghee. When the skillet is hot, toss on the first naan. Over the course of a minute or two, you’ll get to watch it bubble up. When the naan starts getting bubbly, give it a flip.
WHAT DO I SERVE WITH SESAME NAAN BREAD?
Naan is best served warm alongside a cold-busting curry, a nourishing bowl of soup, or a hearty stew. Once cool, leftovers generally get sealed up in a ziplock bag to retain their moisture. Big Papa and I love using naan to make flatbread sandwiches, whether that’s a breakfast sammy with eggs, a grilled cheese, or a deli sandwich. Other uses include dipping it in runny breakfast eggs; using it as a foundation for a pizza; and serving it up with hummus. Let your imagination run wild!
DON’T LIKE SESAME?
If you’re not a fan of sesame seeds (or don’t have any), don’t be afraid to swap out the sesame for cumin seeds. Experiment by adding homemade roasted garlic to the mix or red chili pepper flakes. Maybe you want it plain, in which case, proceed without any fancy additions. The choice is yours! Another thing you can do is swap out the melted butter with ghee, or the yogurt with strained kefir.
SESAME NAAN BREAD INGREDIENTS
175ml warm water
100g plain yogurt
6g sea salt
4g baking powder
500g all purpose flour
10g sesame seeds
45g melted butter + more for brushing
SESAME NAAN BREAD INSTRUCTIONS
In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast, warm water and milk and let it stand for 5 minutes, or until frothy.
Stir in half of the flour into the yeast mixture until combined to make a simple starter. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Add the yogurt, sea salt, baking powder, sesame seeds, and the remaining flour and work together briefly to form a soft dough.
Pour in the melted butter, then knead for 8-10 minutes.
Oil the mixing bowl, return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Dust the work counter with flour, then turn out the ball of dough. Gently press out the air, then roughly shape into a circle. Using a bench scraper or a serrated knife, divide the dough into eight equal portions.
Roll out the dough into round discs or oblong shapes.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. While the pan heats up, brush both sides of the naan with melted butter.
When the skillet is hot, toss on the first naan and wait for it to bubble up. Once bubbly, give it a flip and allow it to cook on the other side for 30-60 seconds. Repeat this step until all the naan is cooked.
Serve warm and enjoy!
PRINTABLE SESAME NAAN BREAD RECIPE CARD
Cast Iron Skillet Sesame Naan Bread
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Bench scraper or serrated knife
- 7 g active dry yeast
- 175 ml warm water
- 30 g milk
- 100 g plain yogurt
- 6 g sea salt
- 4 g baking powder
- 500 g all purpose flour
- 10 g sesame seeds
- 45 g melted butter + more for brushing
- In a large mixing bowl add the yeast, warm water and milk, and let it stand for 5 minutes, or until frothy.
- Stir in half of the flour into the yeast mixture until combined to make a simple starter. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
- Add the yogurt, sea salt, baking powder, sesame seeds and the remaining flour, and work together briefly to form a soft dough.
- Pour in the melted butter, then knead for 8-10 minutes.
- Oil the mixing bowl, return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Dust the work counter with flour, then turn out the ball of dough. Gently press out the air, then roughly shape into a circle. Using a bench scraper or a serrated knife, divide the dough into eight equal portions.
- Roll out the dough into round discs or oblong shapes.
- When the skillet is hot, toss on the first naan and wait for it to bubble up. Once bubbly, give it a flip and allow it to cook on the other side for 30-60 seconds. Repeat this step until all the naan is cooked.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. While the pan heats up, brush both sides of the naan with melted butter.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
- Leftovers may be sealed in a ziplock bag to maintain freshness
- Lightly toast leftovers to warm them and use for sandwiches, to serve with hummus, or to serve alongside breakfast.
- Makes a great foundation for personal pizzas.
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Love and gratitude,