Plum Naan
140 minutes

Plum Naan

Originating in ancient Egypt and brought to India by the Persians, naan is one the most popular flatbreads in India. For hundreds of years, it was the part of the decadent cuisine of royal households that did not extend to their subjects. Even today, naan is not commonly found in homes as they are made in large tandoors; barrel shaped wood or charcoal fired clay ovens heated to over 600 degrees F. Restaurants are where most folks go to get naans as home ovens are not common in India.  Here in the west, if you have a pizza stone or a hot surface to put bread on, you can make naans at home. Taking a page out of my own book, I adapted the royal naan recipe from Masala to give this bread a thick fluffier consistency yet kept the spirit of a naan intact. I added plums, onions, and seasonings on top. Serve it with yogurt tossed with cumin and black pepper, bean spreads, flavored oils, or ghee as a starter or to accompany a hearty stew. 

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Cook Time

140 Minutes + proofing time



Step 1
Soak the saffron in hot milk for 20 to 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 2
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using a dough hook on medium speed, combine the warm saffron milk, yeast, sugar, and eggs.
Step 3
In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, semolina, black pepper, salt and add to the milk and egg mixture. Mix until dough starts to come together, adding a few tablespoons more of water if needed. The dough should be soft and pliable.
Step 4
Next add 3 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil. When the dough has formed a ball, turn the mixer off. Cover the dough with a cloth and set it aside for 2 to 3 hours. At this point, you could do a longer fermentation in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 5
When ready to make the naans, preheat the oven to 500°F. Take the dough out and let it come to room temperature. Punch it down and divide into 8 roughly equal balls.
Step 6
Roll or press each dough ball into a 6-to-7-inch circle. Scatter the toppings over the naans evenly. Leave them on a tray or countertop for about an hour to rise.
Step 7
Depending on the size of the oven and pizza stone, place the naans in the oven directly on the stone. Reduce the temperature to 450°F. Cook them for 3 to 4 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on all sides. Serve drizzled with a bit of ghee and mint springs or chopped rosemary.

Naan Dough:

Generous pinch saffron threads

1 1/4 cups of warm milk

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon cane sugar

2 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons semolina

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons sea salt

3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil plus more for drizzling on top


2 serrano peppers minced

3 plums, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Dash of salt and black pepper

Sprigs of mint and rosemary

Notes & Variations

  • Saffron is a wonderful spice whose essence and color permeate through the dough but is not essential to the recipe. If replacing it with turmeric, put no more than ¼ teaspoon as turmeric tends to dry out doughs.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on the oven. In a convection oven, the naans will cook faster. If the oven is well calibrated, the times above should work, if not they may take a few more minutes. If you don’t wish to bother with a pizza stone, proof and bake the naans directly on a baking sheet.
  • The naans will freeze for up to 3 months in an airtight container. To bring them back, sprinkle a few drops of water and place them directly on the rack of a 450°F preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
140 minutes

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