Sourdough Naan

Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate sourdough starter into my recipes… Take my sourdough cinnamon rolls, for example.

I ordered some sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour in the fall, and I’ve been doing my best to keep it going ever since. Fortunately, much like my houseplants (that I’ve been trying to kill unsuccessfully for years), it has been pretty resilient and has survived my neglect. I’m not suggesting that you intentionally neglect your sourdough starter, of course… Just pointing out that, if I can keep mine alive, surely you can too!

When I do remember to feed the starter, I have trouble parting with the cup of starter that is supposed to be discarded… I don’t do well with throwing food away… Even if it is somewhat neglected, gloppy and fermented sourdough starter! So, I usually try to incorporate it into a recipe instead of throwing it away.  I’ve found a few favorites on the King Arthur site, like these waffles for example. I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with it in my own recipes, though.

You may remember that I first tried making homemade naan for the first time a few weeks ago, and I loved it. I had planned to make salads one night for dinner last week, and I thought that some flatbread would be a great addition to  the meal.  Instead of making the same recipe again (even though I did think it was a fabulous recipe), I thought that some sourdough starter would be a great way to mix it up (plus, it made me feel better since I wasn’t throwing it away!)…  It turned out that the sourdough starter worked perfectly in the recipe.  It helped to leaven the flatbreads just a bit, making the dough extra silky and smooth after it rests.  I found it easier to work with and roll out.  Plus, it added a nice tang to the flatbreads!

If you ask me, the best thing about this recipe, though, is how simple it is.  This is one that I can handle, even on the busiest days… So, now I have no excuse not to use every ounce of my sourdough starter!

Sourdough Whole Wheat Naan
(Makes 8 flatbreads, adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 cup unfed sourdough starter (straight from the fridge)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • Pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Garlic herb seasoning (or your favorite herbs/spices)

Combine the sourdough starter, milk, and yogurt in a mixing bowl.  Whisk together until smooth.

Add the baking powder and the whole wheat flour.  Stir to combine, just until the dough comes together. It will be somewhat sticky.  Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest in a warm place for 2 – 3 hours.

Once the dough has rested (and risen just a bit, but don’t expect it to double like a typical bread recipe), transfer it to a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth, for a minute or two, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Brush the dough with water and place it water-side down in the skillet.  Cover and cook for about a minute until the dough bubbles and releases easily from the skillet.  Flip, cover, and cook for an additional 30 seconds to one minute.  Transfer the flatbread to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

When ready to serve, brush the flatbread with melted butter and sprinkle with seasonings.  Toast under the broiler (on low) for a minute or two until the bread is toasty.

47 Responses to Sourdough Naan

  1. I have been awful about feeding my sourdough starter. I have the same issue – I hate throwing some away and I feel like I’m wasting all that flour. I need to dedicate myself to 1 sourdough recipe every 2 weeks! This naan has to be next!!

  2. I’ve got the king arthur sour dough starter too, and it’s living the high life up in my fridge right now. This is a great idea to use the half that is supposed to be discarded. I had issues with that too, and ended up mailing that half to a friend!

  3. ooohhhhh……. this sounds so good. My family loves naan. Thanks Amber (Bluebonnets & Brownies) for tweeting about this one and introducing me to yet another food blog worth following. :-)

  4. Oh Jen. I am making two meals this week that need a gorgeous naan like this one! I don’t have a sourdough starter sadly. Those look absolutely gorgeous.

  5. What a neat idea Jen! I’ve never had to deal with a sourdough starter – maybe I should check out the one from King Arthur to get me going.

  6. I made this tonight for supper to have with dal. It was amazing! I have a new fave naan recipe (not to mention a way to use up some of my sourdough starter!). Thanks for this!

  7. Hi,
    My Better Homes and Garden cookbook says you don’t need to throw away a cup of starter. I just add a teaspoon of sugar or honey every 10th day. Honey is tough to stir in cold starter. I stir down the houch with the sugar and put right back in the fridge. I have been doing this all winter and my starter is very active.

  8. Throwing out a cup of starter is just silly.
    I have a starter I have used for about 40 years. Have renewed it often (of course), used it often, and NEVER thrown out a cup when renewing.
    Keep it stirred down; keep it fed. Warm it before you use it. Simple.

    • Hi SA could you explain further? Won’t you accumulate to much if you just keep feeding it? How much do you feed yours? How often? I just started my first sourdough starter.

      • Hi, Roxann – You discard a cup (or use it in a recipe) each time you feed it. In this case, I used the discarded sourdough starter in my naan recipe and then fed the remaining starter and put it back in the fridge. Hope that helps!

  9. i made this recipe vegan by using 3/4 cup almond milk in place of yogurt and milk and cooking it with a little coconut oil. completely delicious. i never throw away starter either and have made many different kinds of flatbreads, this is the best, most simple and easiest to store recipe.

  10. Just pulled the last naan out of pan, and I must say it is a superior recipe. I make naan once a week, and decided to try another recipe. By far this is the best recipe yet, and will be using it for my weekly naan:) thank you

  11. I love using sourdough so i gotta try this :D.

    Anyways, i wanted to say that a sourdough starter is very easy to create yourself(elimiating the need to buy it). What i did for my starter (nearly a year old so far) is put 2 tbl spoons of flour and 2 of water into a tupperware and SET the lid on top without sealing it. repeat this process for about a week and you will have your own bespoke starter with a slightly different taste to other starters :)

  12. Made this tonight and everyone in my family loved it. It was very good and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate my sourdough! Thanks for the recipe.

  13. To anyone who wants to know… sour dough starter can live under any condition except extreme heat. Even if not fed the sour dough goes “dormant”. I have had my sour dough starter for more than a year now and I have on more than one occasion not fed it and left it in the refrigerator and it is still alive and making awesome sour dough breads. So don’t think you have killed your yeast friends when you don’t feed them, they are still very much alive!

  14. I have the sourdough starter from Goldrush(supposed to be SanFrancisco sourdough) and wondered about the King Arthur one. I Have an old sourdough cookbook from back in the 70’s by sunset, I think. I make brownies, carrot cake, waffles, chicken and dumplings, etc. I hate to throw away starter, too, so often I just bake a loaf in the bread machine and give it to a neighbor or friend. I want to try some flatbreads this weekend. Let me know if you want any recipes. I don’t mind scanning and sending. the brownies and carrot cake are wonderful. I have a friend who left her starter in the fridge over a week and it was still fine.

  15. This also makes great pizza crust. I love love love this recipe! Unfed starter. How amazing is that? Can’t get an easier than that. Thanks for sharing! Tastes great! Never have starter wasted again.

    • Hi, Anne – I’ve never tried freezing naan… I’m guessing it could work, but you’d probably want to reheat them quickly in a skillet. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with freezing sourdough breads. Once the bread has baked, it has sourdough flavor, but it is really no different than another bread, as far as I know.

  16. i just made this recipe and it come as very sticky i end up adding 1 cup of flour more … i will let it proof and hopefully there will be fresh naan for breakfast tomorrow

  17. I made these yesterday for a middle eastern-themed dinner party. they were THE STAR of the show. Good recipe and it turned out perfect the first time!

  18. Hi, I would love to make these breads. I don’t have yoghurt in the house (most of the time). Do you think I can sub with sour cream? Or heavy cream? Milk? Leave it out? Any tip welcome!



    • Hi, Anne – Yogurt would definitely be the best for making the naan, but you could substitute sour cream or buttermilk. Milk may also work (though, I haven’t tried it), but I think the flavor would be different. Hope that helps!

  19. Hi! Thanks for this recipe! Im about to get started on it now!
    I havent read all the comments, so Im not sure if anyone has mentioned this. The way i keep from having to discard any sourdough starter is by only leaving a small amount in the jar when i put it back in the fridge (maybe 1/4 c?). Then when its time to use it again i only have to add to it until i have what i need for the recipe which works out to helping it get nice and lively again anyway!

  20. Just made my first batch. Thank you SO much! Love the na’an, and love new sourdough recipes. Will be converting to 0 chemical leaveners, but this made some of the best na’an I’ve ever had! Can’t wait to do a Masala with it!

  21. I’m in search of interesting recipes for unfed sourdough starter. What a find! Thanks! I used white flour instead of whole wheat. I added a bit more white flour. 2 and a quarter cups to be exact and it turned out very well. I like the fact no fat/oil is used to cook the bread. I’d imagine this freezes well and wont take up alot of space in my freezer.

  22. I am trying this recipe for the first time. Your ingredient list includes a pinch of salt, but no mention of when to add it in the directions. Until I hear from you I am going to knead it in after the ‘rise’. Thanks.

  23. Casein (milk protein) and me don’t mix, so I subbed in 3/4 c almond milk for the milk and yogurt. I also used 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 regular whole wheat flours. WOW was this dough sticky. Like, it needed a ton of flour when shaping/rolling out. I cooked them in a cast iron pan and it worked out. I’m too thrifty to throw away unread sourdough starter, so I’m always looking for new recipes. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Just made this naan bread and it worked wonderfully. I left out the baking powder as my starter is rather lively. So much fun to watch them puffing up in the pan. I used unbleached all purpose flour and only added the salt when I was rolling them. Also, I didn’t knead them, just shaped them into balls and let them sit for 10 minutes.

    Thanks so much!

  25. I’ve been looking for recipes for sourdough now that I have a lovely mild starter (from my own local wild yeasts),. This one is a keeper! The short rising period and the the quick cooking are ideal. I used whole wheat bread flour (not white), from a local grain grower, stretched rather than rolled out the dough, and the elasticity was fabulous. The only change I’d make for the next batch is to stretch it out as thin as possible–probably staged on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper.

  26. Hi, thanks so much for this recipe! I just finished my first batch. Hubby is happily eating it. I wanted to ask, after you put the water brushed side down on the skillet, are you supposed to brush the top of water also, so that when you flip it, that side also gets the nice brown cooked color? We didn’t add any spices in the dough, just a bit of salt and it is pretty plain. We are dipping it in garlic pumpkin seed oil with other spices. I also made my vegan, no dairy, using coconut oil for the butter and rice milk for the milk and 1/4 cup of makeshift Greek yogurt(juice of 1/4 of lemon squeezed into the 1/4 cup and the rest of the 1/4 cup filled with coconut cream). I think Next time I want more tartness and will add more lemon juice! Thanks again!

  27. Instead of throwing it away another idea is to freeze it! Then if your sourdough starter dies you have a backup to start a new batch, also I’ve been finding that when I tell people I’m making a sourdough they start asking if they could have some!

  28. I made this, but since I am vegan i just subbed the milk and yogurt for some homemade cashew milk and it worked out perfectly! Thanks!