1teaspoon nigella seeds (kalongi)see notes for substitute
Microwave ¼ cup water in a cup for 15-20 seconds. The water should feel warm to the touch, not hot. Using a spoon, stir in yeast along with sugar and mix well. Leave aside while you assemble the other ingredients. The yeast will double in size and turn frothy.
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, salt, proofed yeast, Greek yogurt, ¾ cup warm milk and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using the dough hook attachment set at low speed, mix till the ingredients to form a soft dough.
Knead for 5 minutes. Add more milk if needed, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms into a ball.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and knead the dough for another 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky at this point.
Dust your hands lightly with flour, release the dough from bowl and knead into a ball.
Proof Dough - Instant Pot or Bowl
Instant Pot: Grease the steel insert of the Instant Pot or an electric pressure cooker. Add the dough ball in the center. Cover with a glass lid and select yogurt mode, normal temperature for 1 hour.Bowl: Grease a large mixing bowl and place the dough ball in the center. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn off the yogurt mode (if using). Punch the dough 3-4 times to release some air.
Dust your hands with flour and transfer the dough onto a rolling surface. To make even size dough balls, use a bench scraper or a chef's knife, and divide the dough into half, then quarters.
Divide each quarter into 2 or 3 portions depending on the size of naan you prefer. (I divide into 3, which gives me a total of 12 naans). Roll each dough ball to make a smooth ball.
Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a large oval shape, about 8-inches long and ¼-inch thick, using as little flour as possible. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Add Garlic Topping
In a microwave safe bowl, add butter and minced garlic. Microwave for 30-40 seconds until the butter melts. Using a pastry brush, spread the garlic butter on to the rolled naan. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro and kalongi (nigella seeds). Gently press down the toppings with your hands, or roll once with the pin.
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high (see notes for cast-iron pan). When hot, using a pastry brush, spread some water in the pan. Place the naan, topping side up, and let cook till large bubbles start to form (about 1- 1½ minutes).
Flip the naan and cook on the other side for another 1- 1½ minutes. Remove naan to a plate and brush with some more melted garlic butter. Enjoy warm with your favorite Indian curry!
Alternative Method: Baked Naan
Prepare the naan as directed, but do not top with garlic butter, cilantro or nigella seeds.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Arrange the prepared naan on two parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. (Note: Feel free to then place each baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to create a deep, charred color).
Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the garlic butter, then sprinkle with cilantro and nigella seeds.
Make sure the yeast is fresh and active. The naan bread will not bubble and rise with expired or inactive yeast. To do so, simply follow the recipe as instructed and bloom the yeast in ¼ cup warm water, along with the sugar (or honey). Then, wait 10 minutes. If the mixture bubbles and develops a yeasty aroma, it's active. If not, it's important to start over with a fresh batch of yeast.
Add a touch of whole wheat (atta) flour. I like to use a combo of 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour to amp up the fiber and nutrition. It adds a subtle nutty flavor, too.
The Instant Pot proofing method is more consistent and reliable. Proofing naturally (i.e. in a bowl set on your kitchen counter) works great in warmer months since yeast thrives off of heat and humidity. But it is uneven and unpredictable in the cooler winter months. The electric pressure cooker is my preferred method, but by all means, stick with the method that suits your needs.
Use nigella seeds, toasted cumin, black sesame seeds or none at all. Look for nigella seeds (sometimes labeled black cumin or kalongi) in Indian grocery stores or online. Toasted cumin seeds or black sesame seeds are great substitutes. If all else fails, feel free to omit them altogether.
To cook the garlic naan in a cast iron pan, preheat the pan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Then, brush the surface of the pan with water and cook the naan for 1 minute on each side.
Prepare, rise, roll and freeze for later use. Simply layer two stacks of six rolled-out naan breads with a piece of parchment paper between each. Transfer to two freezer-safe plastic storage bags, seal tight, label, date and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and finish as instructed in the recipe.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.