Afghan Flat Bread (Nan) (Tested)

Serves     Makes 3 large ovals


Have you ever made pizza dough? Or purchased pizza dough and rolled it out to make your own pizza? Well, making “nan” is just like that.  Nothing complicated here, just goes by a different name! 


I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe. Originally calling for two cups of water, I found that I had to add another cup of flour because the dough was too wet. So I’ve recommended adding only 1½ cups to start and see if that is enough. If not, then slowly add a bit more one tablespoon at a time. You want the dough to be soft, but not sticky. If it’s sticky add a bit more flour until it’s right. I’ve also made a few slight changes to the way the bread is baked, streamlining the process. 


Nigella seeds are sprinkled on top of the bread, but those can be hard to find. I recommend trying black sesame seeds, or even white ones. But for fun I love using “everything bagel seasoning blend” which you can find at Trader Joe’s.  



5 cups bread flour 

2 tsp. Kosher salt 

1 packet yeast 

2 tbsp. vegetable oil 

1 ½ cups warm water 

Nigella seeds, black sesame seeds, or “everything bagel seasoning” 

1 spray bottle filled with water 


Put the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade, or a stand mixer (I used a stand mixer). Process it for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. Continue to process as you dribble the oil into the flour. Next, slowly add the water to the flour while continuing to mix. Keep adding water until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl, and forms a ball. Knead for a minute longer. 

Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl and twirl the dough around so that it is coated with oil. Cover with wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from one to two hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. 

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees about ½ an hour before you are ready to bake. 

Punch down the dough and divide into three equal balls. On a lightly floured surface, stretch and elongate the dough into an oval shape, about ½-inch thick, the length of your largest cookie sheet. Place the dough onto the cookie sheet. Make three shallow cuts into the dough. Sprinkle with the seeds and lightly press into the dough.  

Place the dough in the oven, spray five times with your spray bottle and bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, spray the oven again five times, and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. The nan should be golden brown and crusty on the outside. 

To keep the bread moist, wrap the warm bread in a large dishcloth until it cools down. 

For dramatic presentation place in middle of table and let everybody tear off their own piece of bread. 


Notes and Instructions

Recipe submitted by Linda McElroy, adapted from

Photo credit: Linda McElroy