You can think of naan bread (or simply naan) as the Indian version of pita bread. However, they look a little different from each other because they are out of different ingredients and cooked in different manners.
The steps on how to buy, serve, and store naan are pretty much the same as the steps on how to buy, serve and store pita.
Storing naan bread the right way is important to maximize its shelf life. Naan bread can be stored at room temperature for a week. It can be stored in the refrigerator, too, but it should be avoided as possible. Naan bread may be stored in the freezer where it will keep for three months or longer.
Naan bread is best served fresh from the local store or oven in your kitchen.
But by storing it properly, you can enjoy it without trouble even if it was purchased or made some time ago.
Besides storing it correctly, you can also make the most of naan by serving it with curry or just about any savory Indian stew, dip, or spread.
If you are clueless about how to buy, serve and store naan bread, keep on reading.
Below are some of the most important matters you need to know about this flatbread that’s so easy to fall in love with for a lifetime.
Naan vs. Pita: What’s the Difference?
At first glance, it will seem like naan bread and pita bread are one and the same. However, there are a few things that set these flatbreads apart, such as in terms of:
- The ingredients used. Pita bread is made from dough out of very simple ingredients such as flour, yeast, salt and olive oil. On the other hand, naan bread is made from dough with more ingredients. Aside from the ones used for making pita dough, naan dough also contains eggs and yogurt.
- How they are cooked. Pita is cooked in a very hot oven. It’s for this reason exactly why a pocket of hot air forms in the center, which is one of the main characteristics of this flatbread. Naan bread is traditionally cooked in a tandoor (clay oven), but it can be cooked on a griddle, too. This Indian bread is cooked at a lower temperature than pita bread, so it has many smaller bubbles instead of one large one in the center.
- Where they came from. It’s no secret that pita bread originated from the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Naan bread, in contrast, originated from India. But its name is from the Persian word “nān”, which means “bread”.
Buying Naan From the Store
Naan bread is available at most supermarkets. You can find it in the bread aisle, together with pita bread and other baked products. You can also get your hands on naan from an Asian grocer.
If you’re lucky, you may even come across an assortment of naan bread types. Some examples are paneer, kashmiri, tandoori, and butter garlic.
When shopping for naan bread at the store, there is one very important thing that you should check on the packaging. It’s none other than the expiration date.
Unlike most other baked products, naan doesn’t sell like hotcakes. This is why you should make sure that the pack you are about to place in your shopping cart has not yet passed its best-by date.
Check that the contents are soft, too. If they’re firm, they may have been frozen before, which can affect not only the texture but also the taste.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a much better idea to opt for naan bread from an Indian or Asian maker.
How Do You Store Naan Bread?
Naan bread is best stored tightly in its original packaging. At room temperature, it can last for five to seven days. It’s not ideal to refrigerate naan as it will dry out faster. But just in case, naan bread should be placed in a ziploc bag first. It will keep in the fridge for three to four days.
The only times when you should store naan bread in the refrigerator is when:
- There is no more space available in the pantry — naan is best kept where it’s cool and dry.
- You live where the climate is hot or your kitchen is not properly ventilated.
Otherwise, it’s a much better idea to leave naan bread on a countertop at room temperature.
Just in case the original packaging has been compromised, transfer naan to an airtight container out of plastic or glass. You may also transfer it to a ziploc bag.
Always remember to protect it from light as well as heat.
Can you freeze store-bought naan bread?
If refrigerating naan bread is not suggested to extend its life, freezing it, on the other hand, is recommended. Naan should first be wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in a ziploc bag before freezing. In the freezer, naan bread can keep for three months. It can keep indefinitely at 0°F constantly.
Most types of bread are best stored in the freezer than in the refrigerator.
That’s because they tend to go stale faster at colder temperatures. However, the process is slowed down or even halted in the freezer.
How to heat up store-bought naan bread
The quickest way to heat up store-bought naan bread is by microwaving it for 30 to 90 seconds. The length of time depends on the strength of the microwave. Store-bought naan may also be heated up in the oven for two to three minutes. A skillet may be used for heating up store-bought naan bread, too.
It’s true that the refrigerator or freezer can help maximize the life of naan bread. Unfortunately, it can cause the flatbread to lose some of its flavors, the ones that make naan lovable in the first place.
Fortunately, you can reinstate its lost flavors or breathe new life into it with the help of your favorite spice, herb or just about any other ingredient in your kitchen.
All you have to do is add a little of it while heating up naan bread in the microwave or oven, or using a skillet. Some examples are:
- Black sesame seeds
Serving naan bread without heating it up
Naan bread can be served without heating it up. While it is perfectly fine to eat it at room temperature, one should try to avoid eating it while still fresh from the fridge or freezer. Otherwise, naan will be stiff, dry and crumbly. Warm or room temperature naan bread is more delightful to eat.
The reason why it is generally recommended to heat up naan bread before eating it is to make it soft and tasty.
If you are in a rush and it’s paired with something you really love, feel free to eat naan bread without heating it up first.
How to dress up store bought-naan bread
Store-bought naan bread is usually served with a ramekin containing curry or stew, dip or spread. However, it can also be topped with various ingredients, turning it into some sort of pizza. Since naan’s taste goes well with many things, one is only limited by the imagination when dressing it up.
In many instances, heating up store-bought naan bread in a skillet with a little oil or butter and then sprinkled with a dash of your favorite herb is usually enough to turn the Indian flatbread from boring to amazing.
How to Store Homemade Naan Bread
Storing homemade naan bread the right way is just like storing store-bought naan bread out of the original packaging. It’s best placed in a ziploc bag and placed in a cool and dry place. While it may be refrigerated, homemade naan bread is best frozen to keep it fresh for three months or longer.
When it comes to storing homemade naan bread, there is one very important thing that you should always remember. And it’s none other than allowing it to cool to room temperature first before placing it in a ziploc bag.
Refrigerating or freezing naan bread made from scratch while still hot or warm can ruin its quality.
How to store leftover cooked naan bread
To store leftover cooked naan bread, allow it to cool to room temperature. Place it in a ziploc bag and then refrigerate for up to three days. To extend its life for several weeks, store it in the freezer instead. Just see to it that as much of the air is squeezed out of the ziploc bag beforehand.
Leftover cooked naan bread with toppings can be trickier to store. That’s because the toppings may be highly perishable. Or they can be soaked up by naan bread, causing the flatbread to be soggy.
How can you tell if naan bread is bad
Naan bread is bad if it’s dried out and rigid. It’s also bad if it looks and smells moldy. If only one naan bread or two is moldy in the packaging, there’s no need to dispose of the rest. But the fact that some are moldy is a sign that the whole batch has been sitting around for a long time already.
Naan is available at most supermarkets at an affordable price. Making it from scratch is fairly easy, too. If you suspect that it’s already bad, don’t risk it — ditch that naan and get your hands on a fresh pack.
If you know how to store bread properly, then storing naan bread the right way should be easy.
All you have to do is store it tightly in its original packaging or transfer it to a ziploc bag, and then place in a cool, dry place.
Extending the life of naan bread for up to three months or indefinitely is as simple as transferring it to a ziploc bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, sealing it, and stashing it in the freezer.
While naan bread may also be stored in the refrigerator, the freezer is a much better place for it.