Morocco is a country in North Africa where people consume allot of bread, Bread is always on the table an eaten with almost every meal. Bread is fitting with the traditional cuisine of Morocco that consists of tajines, stews and soups. What’s staggering about “bread” in Morocco is that is primarily made by all women at home and often twice daily. This results in fresh and delicious breads of all kinds from flatbreads to pancakes.
Akin to Spain, bread in Morocco is a key component of any Moroccan diet. There is an ancient proverb, “manage with bread and butter until God sends honey”. This ancient saying affirms that there is availability of bread to all groups in Morocco. For example, the Berbers of the Rif Mountains sustained themselves with bread made from Barely. While present times afford more variety in Moroccan’s diets and bread can be supplemented with potatoes, tomatoes, pepper, fruit or nuts, bread still plays an important role in the lives of Moroccans.
In cities, Moroccans can be spotted daily in the early parts of the morning carrying bags of assorted breads that they picked up at the market. In villages women can be found baking bread from scratch in earthen ovens. Traditionally, Moroccans eat three meals a day, with lunchtime remaining the most important as all family members still come home from school or work to eat together. At each of these meals, one person is designated to distribute the bread.
Historically, bread has played such an important role in the life of Moroccans. Until the 1980’s, almost all Moroccan families made their own bread. The Moroccan child wearing a padded hat would walk to the Fran, carrying a gssa or a red pan filled with yeast on top of their heads. Frans, strategically located community ovens, were found in every neighborhood, and baked dozens of loafs at once. These Frans can still be found and are utilized by the Fassis (local people) in the old Medina of Fes.
As there were so many breads baking together, anything placed in the oven was marked with a rubber stamp. Today, a faster paced lifestyle in Morocco and an increasing number of households having two working parents has resulted in less use of the Fran.
Although bakery bread can be bought in most neighborhoods, many families still prepare their own bread and bake it in street ovens. The recipes below will show you how to make authentic Moroccan bread
at home. Rghaif
– folded and fried doughs such as msemen
– or crepe-like beghrir
frequently appear alongside bread for breakfast, tea time or a snack.
Moroccan bread (called khobz in Arabic) is shaped into round, flattish loaves which have lots of crust and versions of Moroccan flatbreads such as Msemen and Meloui are made without the curst. What goes into each kind of bread that is made is a matter of personal preference and Moroccan tradition. White, semolina, wheat, rye,and barley are some of the flours that are used by Moroccan women who bake bread. Anise and cumin seeds are two additions that are often added to give thick or flatbreads an extra flavor.
Moroccan Msemen Flatbread Baked Fresh, Old Medina Marrakesh
In rural areas, many families use small dome-shaped wood burning ovens to bake their bread. This gives bread a unique flavor and character that simply can’t be matched in a conventional oven. Although breadbakiMoroccan bread can be baked in home ovens, and it’s worth trying to make your own bread to complement a Moroccan meal. Even if you’re not experienced with yeast doughs, you’ll find Moroccan Bread easy to make. No special pans are needed to shape the dough – everyday baking sheets will work just fine – and the dough needs only an hour or so to rise. Perfect for timing bread to be warm from the oven when the main meal is ready to serve. Try either of these basic Moroccan bread recipes the next time you plan to serve a tagine or other Moroccan dish:
Msemen – also known as rghaif – are Moroccan pancakes that have been folded into a square shape before being fried in a pan. This is a recipe for the dough used to make msemen. The dough is kneaded like bread dough until soft and smooth.
How to Fold & Make Msemen: -Flatten portions of the dough and fold them into squares. Frying the dough in a pan yields a layered pancake or flatbread that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. – The recipe below uses a little semolina flour for texture and taste. The use of semolina is a matter of personal preference. Substitute more semolina for the white flour if you like a coarser texture. Or, you can omit the semolina entirely.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: Approx. 20 msemen (4″ square)
3 1/2 cups flour (340 g)
1/2 cup fine semolina (90g)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (approx. 1/3 liter)
For folding and cooking the msemen:
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup fine semolina
1/4 cup very soft unsalted butter
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Proceed with folding and cooking the dough.
Serve the msemen plain, with butter and honey, or jam.
To make a syrup from butter and honey, simply melt equal portions of butter and honey in a pan until hot and bubbly. Carefully and quickly dip the msemen in the syrup and place on a serving platter.
Meloui are round Moroccan pancakes (rghaif) that are shaped by rolling a strip of dough up like a rug, and then flattening the upright coil into a circle.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Ti me: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: Approx. 20 msemen (4″ square)
Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups flour (340 g) 1/2 cup fine semolina (90g) 2 teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon yeast 1 1/2 cups warm water (approx. 1/3 liter) * * * For folding and cooking the msemen: 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 1/2 cup fine semolina 1/4 cup very soft unsalted butter
Preparation: Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water if necessary to make a dough that is soft and easy to knead, but not sticky. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, (or knead the dough in a stand mixer with dough hook for 5 minutes), until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Proceed with folding and cooking the dough.
Serving Suggestions: Serve the msemen plain, with butter and honey, or jam. To make a syrup from butter and honey, simply melt equal portions of butter and honey in a pan until hot and bubbly. Carefully and quickly dip the msemen in the syrup and place on a serving platter.
Ingredients: 2 cups of whole wheat flour 2 cups of all purpose flour (usually I put 3 cups of whole wheat + 1 cup all purpose flour, to have more fiber) 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp active yeast 1 tsp sugar 1 tbsp of powdered milk Salt to taste lukewarm water to combine the dough
Directions: In a bowl sift the flour & make a well. pour in the olive oil, sugar, salt, powdered milk, yeast. Now pour about half a cup of lukewarm water on the well to dissolve the yeast. Then mix all together, adding water at the same time, bit by bit. Once you combined the dough it should be soft, neither hard nor sticky. If it’s hard add little bit of water, if it’s sticky add flour & work the dough with a good knead. Shape the dough into a ball or more depending on how big you want the bread. Allow it to rise for about 10 min. Sprinkle your working surface with flour & flatten the ball. It shouldn’t be too thick nor too thin. Cover it with a clean cloth & let it rise (30 to 45 min) depending on the room temperature. You can test it by pressing the dough with your finger. If the finger print takes a long time to disappear, you should wait little longer. Poke the dough with a fork or slash it using a knife. Grease a baking sheet & bake the dough in an oven, over medium temperature until it’s golden brown. To cut it, use a sharp knife & mark a (+) shape on the bread. To eat it Moroccans would just pinch a 2 x 2 inches square & dip it in the stew.
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