A fabulous filled naan bread. Made without yeast, it comes together fast and can be grilled in a skillet!
For the naan bread:
- 5 to 5 1/2 cups (700-800g) unbleached all-purpose flour + more if needed
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) natural, plain yogurt, at room t°
- 1 large egg, at room t°
- 1/4 cup (60g) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups water (room t°)
For the pesto:
- 1 cup coarsely chopped green onions (about 2)
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup whole almonds
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 9 or 10 slices mozzarella cheese
For the naan dough:
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer put all dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix lightly with your hand or a spoon.
- Make a well in the center (or use another bowl) and mix the wet ingredients: yogurt, egg, oil, and half the water.
- Add to flour mixture and mix with a spoon until combined. It will be sticky. Add the rest of the water and up to 1/4 cup extra flour until and mix well.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a few minutes, until the dough comes together and is smooth but slightly sticky. Or mix with the dough hook in a stand mixer until it leaves the sides of the bowl but is still somewhat sticky to the touch.
- You can add an extra tablespoon flour if too wet, but try to work with the amounts given in the recipe. Sometimes when a dough is sticky we want to add more flour, but that will make the bread tough and dry.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces, put on a floured surface (I use a wooden board) and let rest, lightly covered with oiled plastic wrap, for 1 hour. The plastic must be covering loosely the dough as if it was a kitchen towel.
- In the meantime, have the cheese cut in thin slices and make the pesto.
For the pesto:
- In the bowl of a food processor, add green onions, parsley, almonds and 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Process until it begins to turn into a paste, adding more oil as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
- When ready to assemble the bread, preheat the steak iron, grill or a cast iron skillet.
- Fill each piece of dough with a tablespoon of pesto and a slice of cheese to cover it. Close in a bundle, flatten with a rolling pin or your hands (like I did), and cook as many at a time as will fit in the skillet or steak iron.
- You don't need to oil the skillet or steak iron.
- Do it over low/medium heat so the dough has time to bake properly before the outside is burned.
- Transfer to a wooden board, cut in half and eat immediately.
My tips and tricks for this recipe:
- Dough: make sure you take into account the resting time. The dough is somewhat sticky, so refrain from adding too much extra flour, It will be less sticky by the time you have to assemble the breads.
- Filling: Don't use more than 1 tablespoon of pesto and 1-2 thin sliced of cheese. If the final breads are too thick they will not cook properly inside.
- Grilling: you can use a cast iron steak skillet as I used or a regular one, like the ones used for baking skillet cookies. And you don't need to butter or oil it. This bread produces no smoke while cooking. Or use an outdoor grill.
- Freezing: Unfortunately, these do not reheat well after freezing, probably because they’re not yeasted.
About the fillings:
Cheese: it's important to use a cheese that melts well. Mozzarella (the one used for pizza is the best) is a really good one, but whatever you use for your favorite grilled cheese sandwich will work.
Pesto: You can go with not-so-traditional pestos like the one here - more ideas here for other Condiments & Sauces - and even use purchased ones.
Grilled veggies are perfect too. Just remember you need the final filled bread to be flat so that it cooks evenly. It might be a good idea to process or cut in small bits the vegetables first.
Keywords: cheese naan, naan bread, filled naan bread