This recipe is adapted from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. They make their naan on baking tiles using a pizza peel to move them on and off. This is great if you have them, but you can also just use baking sheets. If you can let it rise 8 hours, definitely do. But if you’re pressed for time, place the dough in a warm spot, and it’ll be ready after 4 to 6.
2 cups lukewarm water, about 100°F
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup milk
6 cups all-purpose flour, more or less as needed
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 – 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Oil for the bowl
Cornmeal for dusting
Nigella seeds, sesame seeds, or minced garlic for topping (optional)
Make the dough: In a liquid measure, stir together ½ cup of the warm water and the yeast. Heat the milk in the microwave or in small saucepan to lukewarm, about 100°F. Pour the milk and remaining 1 ½ cups warm water into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir in about 2 cups of flour until smooth, stirring always in the same direction. Stir in the salt and continue stirring in flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir but is still soft. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Wash, dry, and lightly oil the bowl. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, 2 – 3 minutes, incorporating only enough flour (by keeping the work surface dusted) to prevent the dough from sticking; the dough should be quite soft and not tight.
Put the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic, and let it rise in a cool place for 8 hours or overnight.
Shape and bake: If using tiles or a baking stone, set your oven rack in the upper-middle position, place baking stone or tiles on the rack (making sure there is a gap around the border for heat to circulate), and heat the oven to 500°F about an hour before you are ready to bake to allow the stones to get hot. If using baking sheets, place your oven racks in upper- and lower-middle positions, and heat the oven to 500°F.
Pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half, putting half of it back in the bowl (covered) while you work with the first half. Cut the dough half into five equal pieces. Dust your peel or baking sheets lightly with cornmeal.
Working one at a time, place a piece of dough on your work surface and gently push it out with your fingertips to rough 9×7-inch oval; try stretching it by draping it over the back of your hands and pulling gently. Place on peel or sheet; repeat with a second piece of dough. Brush each one with a little melted butter and sprinkle with seeds or minced garlic, if using.
If baking on stones, transfer the flatbreads to the oven and bake until their rippled tops have light golden spots and the bottoms are golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove them with the peel, transfer to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. If using baking sheets, prepare a second sheet and bake one sheet on the upper and lower racks, switching half way through.
Wrap them in a cotton cloth to keep them soft and warm. Repeat the shaping and baking process with the remaining pieces of dough.