Watching the first episode of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast set in Morocco, I was (of course) inspired by the industriousness in the Moroccan bread bakery. It brought back memories of my first authentic Moroccan meal, sitting on a balcony overlooking the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh.
If you love Middle Eastern & Mediterranean food as much as I do, Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are an unbelievably wonderful resource:
Now For The Khobz Recipe…
This authentic Moroccan bread, called khobz, is a round, flattish bread with plenty of crust making it an ideal bread for dipping and scooping up tagines and salads.
I found a wonderful recipe for Moroccan bread on the Culinary Anthropologist blog and have adjusted it slightly by using wholegrain spelt instead of wholemeal wheat flour. The bread is usually flavoured with anise seeds; however, I used fennel seeds instead which worked well.
Ingredients for 2 khobz loaves (enough for 6 people)
325g strong white bread flour
50g wholegrain spelt flour (use wholemeal wheat flour as an alternative)
125g maize flour or fine polenta
5g dried yeast
350g tepid water (add slightly more if needed)
2 tsps sesame seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
Sesame seeds for the topping
Olive oil to grease the bowl and brush the bread
How to make khobz bread
Combine the flours, salt, yeast and water in a large bowl.
Knead for 10 minutes.
Knead in the sesame and fennel seeds.
Lightly grease the bowl with olive oil.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl (moving it around to cover the dough with olive oil), then cover the bowl.
Prove the dough for approx. 2 hours (depending on the temperature in the room; it should rise significantly).
Divide the dough into 2 halves with a dough scraper and shape each part into a ball.
Prepare a baking tray and line with baking paper.
Place the dough balls onto the baking tray and flatten them with your hands to about 4 cm in height.
Sprinkle the loaves with the sesame seeds and use your flat hand to carefully press them into the dough.
Cover the loaves with a tea towel and leave for their second prove. This should take about an hour.
1/2 hour before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C.
Just before baking, brush the loaves with olive oil and make a few incisions.
Bake for approx. 30 mins.
Cool on a wire rack.
Khobz is best eaten on the day of baking. We had it with this super-tasty lamb tagine, a recipe by Antony Worrall Thompson.
I usually use jumbo oats when making granola but they also make a loaf of bread nice and wholesome.
Rolled oats are oat groats (hulled whole grains) that have been rolled into flakes, steamed and lightly toasted.
Note that the oats, although quite sizeable, will ‘disappear’ and completely blend into the finished loaf.
The day before baking
For the sourdough
160g wholewheat flour
200g spring water
3 tbsp wheat sourdough starter from the fridge
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.
For the soaked rolled oats
80g rolled (jumbo) oats
220g boiling water
Toast the jumbo oats in a frying pan (no oil) for the nutty flavour to come out. Pour the boiling water over the oats and cover with cling film for 16 – 24 hours.
The day of baking
Sourdough (as above)
Soaked rolled oats (as above)
350g strong wheat flour
100g rye flour
180g water, lukewarm
4g dried yeast
How to make it
Add all ingredients in a large bowl to form the dough, then knead for 10 minutes on a clean surface.
Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes; cover the dough ball with the bowl you used to mix the ingredients.
After 30 minutes, fold the dough like an envelope. First squeeze out the air of the slightly risen dough and shape into a rectangular shape. Fold all four corners into the middle, squeeze together, then around to repeat the process another two times.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Rest for 30 minutes.
Rest for 1 hour.
Fold the dough into a round baton shape.
Place into a very well floured proving basket and cover with a kitchen towel. If you don’t have a proving basket, you can just flour your kitchen towel and wrap the dough up tightly.
Rest for 1 hour.
After 1/2 hour preheat the oven to 250°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Once the full hour is up (and the dough has doubled in size), carefully turn out the dough onto the baking tray.
Make a few incisions at the top for a good-looking crust and place the tray in the lower half of your oven.
Initially bake for 15 minutes at 250°C until the dough has browned well.
Then reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 35 minutes.
Make sure the bread is fully baked – it should sound hollow when you tap the base of the bread or in more scientific terms, the core temperature of the bread should have reached at least 93°C.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
And here’s my husband’s review I asked him to write 🙂
“The bouncy texture and nutty aroma just scream out EAT ME! Love it with butter, a generous dollop of strawberry jam and a cup of tea to kick-start my mornings.”