Vegan Gluten Free Naan Bread Simple and Delicious
Vegan Gluten Free Naan Bread is soft, fluffy, delicious, and surprisingly simple to make. The taste and texture are both excellent and this bread is pliable and delicious.
Vegan Gluten-Free Naan is Simple and Delicious … and Soft
Good vegan and gluten-free bread, especially a soft Indian flatbread like this na’an, is elusive. It’s been almost impossible to find for me. The GF wraps that are available commercially are stiff, gummy, and weird. I’ve had the displeasure of sitting in my favorite Mediterranean restaurant watching everyone else enjoy real, soft, fluffy flatbread and toum. The GF bread I snuck in just wasn’t the same.
But this … this flatbread is delectable. It’s soft, fluffy, pliable, and not weird or gummy. And look at the bubbles! Those steamy pockets are so yummy.
There are a few ingredients that are needed to overcome the limitations of regular gluten-free flour. There’s a stretchiness that gluten gives bread that makes the texture just right. Gluten-free bread can lack this.
I’ve found that psyllium husk powder works really well to help add this stretchy structure that makes this so close to the gluten version. Psyllium husk powder is healthy and good for you, too. It’s fiber and is good for digestion and even lowers cholesterol.
But here we’re using it to make the texture of this gluten-free flatbread how we want it to be. That’s a link to the product I use on Amazon. It’s not expensive and goes a long way.
Lactic acid is a vegan product in the form of a powder that’s made from fermented sugars. It has a kind of tangy taste that is perfect in breads and vegan cheeses. Psyllium husk tends to turn bread slightly purple. It’s a purplish seed after all. Adjusting the pH to make it slightly more acidic by adding lactic acid solves this while adding some great flavor at the same time. I’ve linked to the actual product that I use and it also isn’t terribly expensive and lasts a long time.
Vegan Unsweetened Unflavored Yogurt
This is great for adding a smooth and fluffy texture. I used Silk Almond Yogurt, which was a little difficult to find in these parts. If you can’t find this locally it’s possible to substitute an equal amount of silken tofu and unsweetened plant-based milk that’s blended together.
Again, this was for both taste and texture. I used Veganaise because it was on sale locally but any unflavored vegan mayo will work here. I wouldn’t recommend a sweetened one or salad dressing flavored one, though. This adds fat and flavor and moisture that helps the naan puff up in bubbles. And it really is about the bubbles. See that big pocket?
This dough mixes up really easily once the ingredients are situated. Just proof the yeast as usual and add the dry ingredients and mix well using either a stand or hand mixer. I’ve been using a little hand mixer with dough hooks on it and that’s been working really well as I have most of my other things packed away.
Let the dough rise for about an hour in a warm place and then divide into about 12 golfball-sized sections. The golfball size will seem like not enough dough but these need to be rolled out thin and they get way bigger than you think.
This is what happened when I didn’t heed my own advice … I ended up with a blanket-sized piece of naan that wouldn’t fit in the pan.
Good Na’an is All About the Pockets
The pockets and bubbles that happen in this bread while it’s cooking add so much. Traditionally, na’an is cooked in a tandoori, which is a circular oven. The na’an is kind of slapped onto the sides of the oven where it sticks until it’s done.
Use a HOT Cast Iron Pan!
A heavy-duty nonstick pan could probably be substituted here but cast iron is going to give the best results. And it needs to be hot and covered while it cooks, which only takes a minute or so on each side.
Vegan Gluten Free Naan Bread Simple and Delicious
Vegan Gluten-Free Na'an Bread is soft, fluffy, delicious, and surprisingly simple to make. Easy to find ingredients. Great taste, texture!
In a large mixing bowl, put the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit undisturbed for several minutes until it's started to get cloudy and little poofy clouds of yeast start to grow. You'll know it when you see it!
Once you know your yeasts haven't kicked the bucket and are officially viable, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate everything well,
Sift in all the dry ingredients and mix with either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the dough hook attachments. Mix on low to medium speed for a few minutes until all the ingredients are mixed well and the dough gets smooth.
If needed, add just a bit more plant-based milk or GF flour to get the right consistency. The dough should be sticky and pliable but able to be handled.
Let the dough rise in a warm area for about an hour.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over a gas flame until it's very hot. Add just a teaspoon of oil or less, just enough to slick the bottom and prevent sticking.
Alternatively, use a heavy-duty nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Use just a scant teaspoon or less of oil if needed to prevent sticking.
Cut the dough into 10 to 12 golfball-sized sections. On a lightly floured board or another surface, pat a piece of the dough into a round and then roll with a wooden rolling pin until the dough is about a 10-inch circle and thin.
Place the thin round piece of dough in the hot skillet and cover the pan for about one minute. Check and flip and repeat for the other side.
There should be bubbles and pockets forming in the dough. It should also be browning slightly but not burning.
Move to a warm plate and cover the finished pieces of naan with a towel until ready to serve.
Serve with melted vegan butter or herbs or cheese or jam all of the above or anything else you might like on a soft and delicious circle of perfectly delicious bread.
These can be stored wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to a day or two.