Warburtons Naan Bread Review

30 May 2012

Okay, so how on EARTH do you review naan bread?!  I mean, apart from the obvious 'EAT IT!' - but then what?  Naan bread is naan bread, right?  You heat it, you eat it and sometimes you share it...if you really have to.

Well, they were the questions that sprang to mind when my Warburtons Naan Bread Review assignment landed on my desk.

Whilst I waited for the indian breads to arrive, I decided to do a little digging - I must confess to knowing nothing about Warburtons at all, I'm not a massive bread eater but I have seen Warburtons loaves stacked high in the bread aisle of my local Tesco.

It turns out they're a family run business and have been for the last 136 years - not bad.  I also learned they are the second biggest grocery brand in the UK, the largest being Coca Cola - rather impressive I'm sure you'll agree, they must be doing something right!

Naan bread's origins lie in India and its first recorded use was around 1300BC, when it was cooked at the Imperial Court in Delhi.  It made its first appearance on a menu in Britain during 1926 at Veeraswamy in London and is the UK's oldest Indian restaurant.

If you want a bit more naan trivia then I can tell you that the world's biggest naan bread measured a whopping 10ft by 4ft - it took five hours to make and up to eight people to carry it; the Guiness World Record for the most number of naans made in an hour stands at 640, they were all handed out to Salvation Army hostels in Manchester.

If I ask you to picture naan bread, I can safely lay money on you imagining that familiar flat, bubbly bread in a teardrop shape - me too, so I was rather surprised when two SQUARE naans arrived.

Square naan; interesting.

Along with some rather tasty sounding recipes, the Warburtons naan breads have been developed with the help of Michelin Starred Chef Atul Kochhar - if you've ever watched any of the decent cooking programmes, or Great British Menu, then you'll know who Atul is.

The Warburton naans are currently available in two flavours: plain and garlic - the garlic naan is actually a plain one that comes with a sachet of garlic flavoured oil that you spread over it.

Both the Warburtons naans can be bought at Tesco for £1.15 each, which sits right in the middle of the price range - two normal plain Tesco naans cost around 70 pence, the Tesco Finest versions (I've had these) cost £1.29, with two Finest Peshwari selling for £1.75.

So what were they like, other than being square?

Well, they are billed as being 'restaurant quality' along with being 'light and bubbly'.

I guess it depends on the calibre of the Indian restaurant you frequent as to whether or not you agree with the restaurant quality statement - but for me, they just weren't in the same league as the naans I've had at places like the award winning Shimla Pinks in Birmingham.

That said, there's nothing wrong with them at all - they are light and taste the way a naan should, not overly bubbly though - but they didn't rock my world.

My daughter and I tried both the naans cold and warmed through in the oven; Elise thought they lost some of their taste when they were warmed, I must confess I didn't really notice any difference.

The garlic oil seemed a bit pointless to me in as far as: if I want a garlic naan then I'll just buy a garlic naan, rather than a plain one and then have to mess around cutting the top off a plastic sachet and spreading oil over a plain naan - we didn't actually spread it over ours, we just dipped strips of naan into it.

It was nice too; nice is the best I can do - it wasn't jaw droppingly awesome enough to make me think WOW! But was more than good enough to make me nod my head and think 'nice'.

These square naans will come into their own though, I think, when want to have something bread based that's a little different  from your bog standard sarnie.

Remember the recipes I was telling you about, developed by Atul Kochhar?  Well, have a look at them HERE - tell me that you'd ever thought about using naan bread as a pizza base; that the naan roulades don't look YUM and that the idea of a toasted naan sandwich doesn't sound rather appealing for lunch!

And finally...

If you frequent fine and award winning Indian restaurants then you may argue about the 'restaurant quality' claim of the Warburtons naans; they're not BAD quality, you'll have just had much better.

However, for a naan available in the supermarket they're pretty good although a little on the pricey side I think for just one.

Their square shape, whilst handy for making into sandwiches and roulades, just makes them not feel quite the same, in my opinon - I LIKE the traditional teardrop shape!

I'm finding it very difficult to come down on either side of the fence - they're neither hit or miss for me, worth trying though, and I give them an overall 6 out of 10.


What do you think?

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