naan cooking in cast iron skillet

Naan is the perfect bread for a small boat

Naan saved lunchtime aboard my boat. A standard loaf of sandwich bread is soft. So when your cupboards are smaller than the size of the loaf, you’re gonna end up with some strange shaped toast. It’s not the end of the world, but eventually you get tired of peeling the gnarled slices away from each other and go looking for alternatives. For a while I bought crusty artisan loaves, until that habit ate up my cruising budget.

Next I turned to tortillas, and they remain our bread of choice. All our sandwiches took the form of wraps, and of course they’re made for quesadillas and burritos. They also last a long time. I love tortillas,

But then I discovered the wonder of making my own naan and the world opened up. The scent of yeast and the flavor of fresh bread returned to our lives.

Making naan in the small galley

We love fresh bread, but a small galley cook can’t bake it on a regular basis. The rising, kneading and baking just take too much space, time and energy. A bread machine, wonderful for those with the room, is out of the question in some small galleys. Not only does it takes up too much space, but it also requires electricity so won’t work when we’re at anchor.

I can mix up a batch of naan dough in just a few minutes, stick it in the refrigerator where it rises very slowly and keeps for a week. At meal time I cook just the amount we need. Not in the oven, but in my cast iron skillet. Naan takes the place of tortillas for sandwiches and wraps. It’s great with soups and stews, and delivers that sought after, fresh-baked bread fragrance and flavor.

Ingredients for easy naan

  • 1 tbs yeast
  • 1 c warm water
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 1/2 c flour
  • a little coconut oil or olive oil


  • 1 tsp minced garlic or onion
  • 1/4 cup cheese

The easy naan method

Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Add milk, egg and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead right in the bowl, adding flour as needed to make a smooth ball of dough. Oil the dough and the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and put in a warmish place while you go knock something else off your to-do list. (For which I recommend Workflowy.)

When the dough has doubled in size, peel it out of the bowl and put it in a Snapware watertight container. Keep in the icebox/refrigerator.

naan dough snap ware naan dough Snapware containerball of naan dough

When you want bread, just heat the pan, drizzle in a little olive oil or coconut oil, break off a golf ball size piece of dough, flatten it into a circle or oblong about 6 inches across and fry on one side 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over and fry another minute or two. The naan with puff a little and smell divine.

naan cooking in cast iron skillet

Great ways to eat naan

naan spread wth peanut butter

Naan is tasty all by itself, excellent for any wrap sandwich and absolutely perfect for soaking up curry sauces – go figure. Spread with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon for a breakfast treat. Spread with peanut butter or tahini for a snack. Cut in triangles for dipping in hummus. Got Nutella and a sliced banana? Hey, dessert!

Naan rocks.


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