Naan bread is a flatbread that is popular in the Middle East and India.
It’s started to gain popularity in Canada and the United States, too.
If you’ve been curious about trying naan bread for yourself, then you may discover that it comes at an expensive price.
It may make you wonder why naan bread is so expensive.
Here are 10 reasons naan bread is so expensive.
Why Is Naan Bread So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Baked In A Tandoor Oven
Naan bread uses yogurt in its recipe.
While yogurt can offer incredible flavor in baked goods, baking it isn’t easy.
That’s because the oven needs to reach 850 degrees Fahrenheit to cook yogurt.
Not all ovens can safely support that amount of heat.
A tandoor oven can.
The problem with tandoor ovens is that you need to build them from scratch.
Certain hardware stores sell kits for around $500.
That can be a hefty price for someone who wants to bake naan bread only occasionally.
If you plan on baking a lot, then the investment may be worth it.
Professionals will need to invest in either several tandoor ovens or one large one.
That only adds to the expense.
Tandoor ovens can support hot temperatures without breaking.
That’s because it’s primarily made out of clay.
A grill is set inside it, and the bread goes on the grill to bake.
Building your own DIY tandoor oven isn’t easy.
You need to understand what a traditional tandoor oven looks like and how it works.
Doing it incorrectly could have serious consequences.
Because tandoor ovens are expensive, naan bread will be expensive.
You can’t have one without the other.
2. High-Quality Flour
Another reason naan bread is expensive is that it relies on high-quality flour.
You may not think flour is expensive, but that’s likely because you’re not buying premium flour.
Naan bread requires premium flour because, otherwise, the entire baked good doesn’t taste or settle right.
There are actually many different types of flour, and the type that you choose can impact the quality of your naan bread.
Since naan falls under the bread category, you’ll want to use bread flour.
This type of flour has a higher protein percentage than other flour types.
It’s different from cake flour, for instance, which has less protein in it.
In terms of baking, bread flour allows the bread to become a bit stiffer and form well.
Cake flour, which has less protein in it, offers a softer texture.
It’s less chewy.
Since naan bread uses bread flour, you’ll want to look for flour brands that use hard wheat to make their flour.
That gives it the increased protein percentage that you’re looking for.
Since it uses more protein, you can expect the price to be higher than flour with less protein.
That’s because manufacturers need to mix more wheat in their batch to reach the protein percentages they need.
The quality of the wheat is also important.
If it’s too grainy, then it can make the flour unpleasant.
You also have your choice between bleached and unbleached flour.
Bleached flour is going to be a bit more expensive than unbleached flour.
That’s because bleaching adds another couple of steps to the manufacturing process.
Manufacturers add some form of bleaching agent to speed up the process of whitening the flour.
Flour tends to whiten on its own over time, but manufacturers know that some people find the slightly yellow color of natural flour to be unappetizing.
Choosing bleached high-quality bread flour makes naan bread expensive because it’s more expensive than other types of flour.
3. Rose Flavoring
More expensive types of naan bread use rose flavoring in their recipes.
Rose has a long history in Middle Eastern cooking.
When the Crusaders from England came to the Middle East, they enjoyed rose-flavored dishes from the Middle East and brought them back home with them.
Eventually, when the English settled in America, they also brought rose-flavored recipes with them.
Rose-flavored dishes were common and affordable.
At least, that was true until vanilla started trending, anyway.
Originally, vanilla was rare and limited in the world.
It took a long time for vanilla plants to pollinate and grow.
When they discovered a new method for pollinating vanilla, it became more affordable.
A luxury flavor suddenly became accessible to almost everyone.
It replaced rose flavoring.
Vanilla still tends to be more popular than rose flavoring today.
Because of that, rose flavoring is often considered a luxury scent and flavor.
It comes with a luxury price tag.
Not every naan bread will use rose flavoring, but those that do tend to come at a higher price.
They’re making naan bread that adheres to Middle Eastern tradition as well as to a luxurious baked good.
4. Khus Khus
Some naan bread recipes call for khus khus.
Also known as poppy seeds, khus khus stems from the poppy, which also makes opium.
Manufacturers take the sap from the poppy seed to make khus khus.
The problem with poppy seeds is that they’re expensive.
There isn’t a large supply of poppy seeds in the world.
Part of that is over the concern of opium usage and abuse.
Poppy seeds are also costly to produce.
It takes a lot of time and effort to grow and harvest them.
One of the processing steps involves cracking open the poppy and letting the sap ooze out for a day.
Only once it’s done oozing, which is usually the next day, can the workers continue to harvest the khus khus.
Since there’s no way to speed up the process, it makes processing expensive.
That reflects in the price of poppy seeds or ingredients that come from the poppy seed.
When a baker uses khus khus in their naan bread, then they’re investing a good deal of money in it.
To make a profit on the naan bread, they have to sell it at a higher price.
Since khus khus can add incredible flavor and texture to the naan bread, many customers are willing to pay the extra cost.
That only reinforces the expensive price point.
Until more people produce poppy seeds or find a new way of harvesting them, you can expect naan bread with poppy seeds to have an expensive price.
5. Sesame Seeds
You may enjoy sesame seeds on your sandwiches or burgers, but they’re actually driving up the price of naan bread.
Sesame seeds were once even more valuable than gold.
That’s because many cultures believe that sesame seeds bring fortune, wealth, and are healthy for the body.
They also believe these seeds can cure certain diseases.
Whether that’s true or not is beside the point.
They believed it was the case and thus valued sesame seeds more than gold.
Today, sesame seeds are still expensive.
That’s because the cost of labor to produce and manufacture them is extremely high.
It takes a lot of labor to harvest and process sesame seeds.
Because of that, the price to buy the seeds is high.
When a baker uses sesame seeds in their naan bread, you can expect it to be expensive.
They need to cover the cost of investing in sesame seeds into their recipe.
Another ingredient that drives up the price of naan bread is nigella.
Also called black cumin seeds, nigella is often mistaken for black sesame seeds.
It has the same shape, but the flavors are slightly different.
Nigella tends to have a mix of black pepper, onion, and oregano in its flavoring.
Like the other ingredients, nigella is also difficult to process.
Because labor costs are high with it, the cost of buying nigella is also high.
When used in naan bread, it can give it a spicy, savory, flavor.
However, it also makes it more expensive.
7. Experienced Baker
Besides certain recipes, the process of making and baking naan takes the skill of an experienced baker.
Not only does the baker need to know how to use a tandoor oven, but they also need to mix the ingredients perfectly.
Baked goods leave little room for experimentation or mistakes.
It’s why many consider baking to be a science.
Forgetting one ingredient or adding the wrong amount of it can completely ruin naan bread.
This is why bakeries will often hire someone with experience in baking naan bread if it’s a product that they want to sell.
The baker needs to know how to use all the ingredients and how much of them.
They also need to make the yogurt from scratch if they want the most flavorful and healthy naan bread.
That’s an entire process in itself.
Baking naan is also time-consuming.
Although it only needs to bake in the tandoor oven for a minute or two, the rest of the process takes time.
Time is expensive.
Experienced bakers are expensive.
To make up for the cost of production, bakeries and restaurants price their naan bread high.
It covers the cost of production and the baker’s wages.
Hiring a master at baking naan bread comes at an even higher price.
8. Increased Popularity
While naan bread is a staple of Middle Eastern and Indian food, it has started to see an increase in popularity in the United States, too.
Celebrities are starting to make it a trend which means their many followers are trying the bread out for the first time, too.
Restaurants eager to cash in on the food craze offer it at high prices.
Since naan bread isn’t something made in just any bakery or served at just any restaurant, it’s still limited.
It’s not always easy to get your hands on a high-quality example of naan bread.
Those who can offer high-quality naan bread can sell it at an expensive price.
Like all food trends, the naan bread will eventually decrease in price a little when the craze surrounding it dies down.
Until then, while it’s still a trending food, you can expect the price of it to remain high.
9. Added Protein
Many people believe that naan bread is healthier than other types of bread.
It’s often advertised or marketed as such.
That’s because naan bread has a high protein count.
Its yogurt base also often has minerals and other nutrients that people need in their daily diet.
Because of these factors, some nutritionists might suggest eating a small portion of naan bread every day.
Most advise you to eat naan bread in moderation because it also has a high number of carbs, calories, and sugar.
In particular, it contains a lot of garlic butter which isn’t the healthiest choice.
Despite that, many people believe that naan bread is healthier.
Because of that, they’re more willing to pay higher prices for naan bread because they believe they’re eating healthier.
Your regular bread may be healthier depending on its calorie count, sugar count, and how much butter you use on it.
It’s also going to be cheaper than naan bread.
10. Imported Naan Bread
A final reason naan bread is expensive is that some people import it from other countries.
If people want to enjoy traditional naan bread, then they’re going to need to order it from either the Middle East or India.
That’s going to make the bread pricey.
The baker in that country will need to bake it, which can be expensive depending on the ingredients that they use.
Then they’ll need to add a few more ingredients to preserve the bread long enough to reach its destination.
Since it’s food, it has to pass several regulations before it’s able to go through customs.
There are also importation fees attached to it.
The bread then needs to travel to its final destination which means shipping fees are added.
If the shipping container uses refrigeration to preserve the bread, then that’s an added cost, too.
At long last, the bread finally arrives at the buyer’s door.
By then, it’s had a considerable amount of cost added to its production and shipping process.
To cover the cost, the bread is going to be expensive.
However, it’s the price you have to pay if you want to enjoy traditional naan bread.
How To Save Money On Naan Bread
If you want to enjoy the savory flavor of naan bread, then there are a few things you can do to make it more affordable.
Here are a few tips to save money on naan bread.
1. Bake Your Own
One of the best ways to make naan bread more affordable is to learn how to bake it.
The biggest expense associated with baking your own naan bread is building a tandoor oven.
You can also try to bake it in a toaster oven or a pizza oven, but it won’t match the same quality as with a tandoor oven.
Once you have made the oven, however, you’ll get a lot of use out of it.
It won’t be long before you make back your investment by saving money on not buying store-bought naan bread.
2. Find A Local Baker
If you can find an international baker, then you’ll likely find cheaper prices on naan bread.
That’s because they tend to make it in bulk.
Since their target audience is other international individuals like themselves, they need to make naan bread to satisfy their needs.
That means they make a lot of it.
You can buy several helpings of naan bread right from the oven.
It’s fresh, hot, and it’s cheap.
3. Use Unbleached Flour
One way that you can make naan bread cheaper is by using unbleached flour.
The only difference between bleached and unbleached flour is the color of the bread.
Bleached flour will make your naan bread look white when it’s done baking.
Unbleached flour will give your naan bread a toasted-yellow look.
Neither impacts the flavor, yet bleached flour is going to be more expensive than unbleached flour.
You can save money by choosing unbleached flour and appreciating the brown appearance of the bread after it’s done baking.
4. Leave Out The Extras
You don’t need expensive ingredients like poppy seeds or sesame seeds to make great naan bread.
When baked correctly, naan bread tastes incredible on its own without any toppings.
Traditionally, that’s how it’s supposed to be, anyway.
By leaving out the expensive ingredients, baking naan bread or even buying it from the store is a lot cheaper.
Naan bread is expensive because of its high-quality ingredients.
The process of baking naan bread also adds to its costs.
Despite these factors, it’s possible to make buying naan bread cheaper by following the tips above.