Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moroccan Bread Recipe





















It took me years to figure out how to make the perfect Moroccan bread. I wasn't used to cooking with a gas oven, and my Mom in law cooks without recipes or specific measurements. Bread is an essential part of Moroccan cuisine, and it is eaten with anything you can dip it in. Moroccans grow their own wheat if they have land, harvest it, carefully wash and clean it then take it to the flour mill. Urban Moroccans buy wheat from vendors and will do the same if they have a sunny place around the home to lay out the wheat after washing.

Bread baked in the traditional wooden oven have supreme texture and taste. Most Moroccans send their bread to the local wood oven and pay a little to get it cooked just right.

AUTHENTIC MOROCCAN BREAD

Makes about 4 round breads

4 soup bowls full of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 soup bowls tepid water

Put your flour into a large bowl, make a well in the center and add your sugar and yeast. Add the salt into the side of the flour, not in the center with the yeast. Add the oil. Now fill up a pot with water and heat it until it's tepid warm. Transfer water to a soup bowl and pour the water slowly over the flour with one hand, and mix it in with the other. Pour in the second bowl of water, keep pouring very slowly and mixing until your dough is about the consistency of playdough. Now put the pot on the side and start kneading the dough, adding a dash of water whenever you need, to get it moist and soft. Keep kneading, for about 10 minutes until the dough is so soft, that if you place the tip of your finger in it, it easily goes right through, without any dough sticking to your finger.

Now sprinkle some fine semolina onto a flat surface, like your bench, and shape your dough with it. Divide the dough into four pieces then shape into 4 balls, not round but a little flat. Now sprinkle a little extra semolina over them and cover with a cloth for about 30-45 minutes, until it is risen. You will know it has risen when you press one finger lightly onto one of the breads and the impression bounces back a little. Now turn your oven onto medium heat and prick your bread in a few places with a fork or knife. Bake in the oven until golden brown. If you cook with gas or you can turn off the top element in your oven, cook the bread from the bottom first, then when the bottom is browned turn the bottom down very low and cook it from the top.

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