Sweet Naan

Servings : Makes 2 naans or 12 scones

Sweet Naan is a soft yellow-coloured sweetened bread flavoured with fennel seeds and is a Ramadhan classic for those of us from certain parts of East Africa (mainly Kenya and Tanzania). The subtle sweetness and aromatic flavour of this delicious bread pairs beautifully with the spicy richness of either meat or chicken curry. It is also a wonderful accompaniment to our world-famous Kenyan Chai!

This same recipe can either yield two classic sized sweet naans OR can be shaped into smaller scones. The fennel seeds can be omitted if one wants to make plain sweet Kenyan Style scones (which resemble Hawaiian bread rolls). Perfect for making mini party sandwiches or sliders! Or you can add raisins in the dough for a batch of fruity rolls that you could toast up, slather with butter and enjoy with a cup of hot tea.


  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 ml)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (100 ml)
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches of yellow food colouring
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/3 cup or 70 ml melted margarine or oil (or a combination of these two)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional, for added softness)
  • 2 tbsp milk powder (optional, for added softness)
  • milk or egg wash (for brushing the tops of the bread before baking)
  • some butter (for brushing the bread after baking)
  • 3-4 tbsp raisins (optional for those who like raisins in this bread)


In a large bowl, add the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar. Pour the warm water over it. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof and get frothy.

In the meantime, add the food colouring to the warm milk and stir to combine. Check to see if the colour is to your liking, it should be a light orange-yellow shade, not too dark. The shade of food colouring that I prefer to use is called ‘Egg Yellow’.

Now add this coloured milk to the yeast mixture, followed by the sugar and melted margarine/oil. Stir gently, then add in the beaten egg (if using), fennel seeds, baking powder, milk powder, salt and gradually add in the flour. Start with 2 cups of the flour while stirring with a spoon, then gradually add in the remainder until the dough comes together.

Dust some flour on your work surface then tip out the dough. If you plan on adding raisins, now’s the time to sprinkle them onto the stretched out dough. Knead for about 10 minutes. The dough needs to be very soft, almost sticky. So be careful with adding the flour, just add enough to be able to work with the dough during kneading and if it gets too tacky to handle, dust the surface again with some flour or very lightly oil your hands and keep kneading.

When done kneading, apply a light coat of oil to the ball of dough and put it back into the bowl. Cover and place it in a warm area to rise. It should take between an hour or hour and a half for the dough to double in size.

Once risen, punch the dough down and give it a quick knead to get rid of any big pockets of air, then divide the dough into 2 balls. Flatten the naans on a greased or lined tray to a width of about 7 to 8 inches each. Alternatively you can shape into 12 smaller balls and place them close to each other to form scones. Cover with a light cloth or cling film and let the naans/scones rise a second time for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven at 180 C. Brush the naans/scones gently with milk (or egg wash) and then bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. If they have not taken colour during the baking time, place the baking tray closer to the top element/grill of your oven and keep an eye on them as they bake.

Remove the baked bread onto a rack to prevent the bottom from getting soggy and brush them with some melted butter for an added shine. Cover with a cloth until you are ready to serve.


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