“Khubz” is the Moroccan Arabic word for bread. Other words for bread in Morocco are “Tashelhit” “Aghrom”, “Tamazight”, ” Kesra”, and the French word “pain”.
“Khubz” is the centre of Moroccan cuisine served on a daily basis and used to scoop up meat, vegetables, salads, sauce, and more. It is characterised by a round, somewhat flat shape and a slightly coarse texture. There are different types of flour that can be used to make “khubz” like white flour, semolina, wheat, rye, bran and barley. Other ingredients can be added to the bread to create different flavours, for example, anise and cumin seeds are just two additions.
There are differences between the bread made in the cities versus bread made in the countryside. In rural areas, many families use small dome-shaped wood burning ovens to bake their bread. In urban areas, families go to the local oven in the neighbourhood. A neighbourhood bakery was one of the original necessities required by the king for every neighbourhood. There was a mosque, a bathhouse or hammam, and the communal oven. Very good Moroccan bread can be baked in home ovens, too. It’s worth trying to bake a Moroccan bread.
Take a look at the following recipe if you want to try baking “Khubz”. Preparation time: 1 hour and 45 minutes, 20 minutes preparation, 20 minutes baking, 1 hour to let the dough rise.
- 4 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup warm water
- additional flour for kneading
- cornmeal, semolina or oil for the pan.
- Prepare two baking sheets by oiling the centres, or by dusting the pans with a little cornmeal or semolina.
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Make a large well in the centre of the flour mixture, and add yeast.
- Add the oil and the water. Mix well to dissolve the yeast first, and then stir the entire contents to incorporate the water into the flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Continue kneading for 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
- Divide the dough in half, and shape each portion into a smooth circular mound. Place onto the prepared pans, and cover with a towel. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into circles about 1/4″ thick. Cover with a towel, and leave to rise about one hour, or until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
- Preheat an oven to 435°F (225°C).
- Score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife, or poke the dough with a fork in several places. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are nicely coloured and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.
Other delicious Moroccan breads available are:
*Harcha (or harsha): Moroccan pan-fried bread made from semolina flour. Although it looks a bit like an English muffin, it’s more like cornbread in texture and taste. Recipes for Harsha vary from family to family.
*Batbout “Moroccan Pita”: The stove top method of cooking batbout (also called mkhamer or toghrift or matlou’) yields a soft and chewy bread with a pita-like pocket. It’s perfect for making sandwiches of all kinds and is especially good with grilled meat.You can also serve batbout dipped in hot syrup made from butter and honey.
*Krachel-Moroccan sweet rolls with anise and sesame: It’s made from Anise seeds, sesame seeds and orange flower water which give these sweet rolls their fragrant, characteristic flavour. If you don’t care much for anise, either use fewer anise seeds or omit them entirely. Either way, the rolls will still be delicious! Serve krachel plain or with butter, jam, cream cheese, or even peanut butter and jelly.
Try it and you won’t regret it!!!