Showing posts with label Bread and Co. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bread and Co. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Moroccan stuffed harchas with cheese and other things

We love Harcha so much that when Huma (check her incredibly amazing work here) kindly proposed that I write about Ramadan in Morocco from a culinary perspective, I wanted to give harcha the exposure it deserves. 

The other reason why I meant to include stuffed harcha recipe in Huma's Ramadan event is because of it's humble ingredients and its simplicity: everyone can make it. 

Take a tour at Huma's world here
Please head to her page and enjoy my guest post over there. Her blog is so addictive and I'm sure you will enjoy her yummy world. 

If you are a follower of this blog you must be familiar with harcha, a flat Moroccan galettes made of semolina (not couscous). 

I have introduced what harcha is all about here, here, there and also there.

I love the layers of textures in this harcha
Make sure you make these. They're good anytime of the day. I love them for breakfast.

Stuffed harchas with olives, cheese and khlii (Moroccan cured and preserved meat)

Monday, 30 June 2014

Modern Moroccan baghrir with orange sauce

Have you heard of Baghrir? Yes? good! No? We'll fix that!

Baghrir is a sort of spongy pancake with many holes. It's usually served with an oozing combination of warm honey and butter. In Fes, we like to add orange blossom water to this mix (of course!).

For some reason, baghrir has got a funny French translation: "crêpe a 1000 trous" (the 1000 hole's pancake)..I still wonder if anyone has ever counted them..What if you get 999, can they still be called so? It's worth knowing that a single unit of Baghrir is called "Baghrira".

Trying to take a picture but the little baby's hand were faster

More about baghrir and its basic recipe can be found in my previous post over here. It's also one of the must-serve recipes during Ramadan, either during Iftar or So'hour.

The more holes baghrir has the better.. It's actually a signature of success to have as many holes as possible.

It's not a good baghrir if you don't get multiple distinctives holes. 

Today's baghrir is a modern version which has eggs and milk. It's a sort of American pancake meets crumpet. Not only that! I'm pooring orange juice on it. Heaven!

In the last 4 years or so, I've seen some creative women in Morocco adding colours to the batter. they even added cocoa powder to it..

You can make small or big baghrir (anywhere between 12 to 26 cm). Like I mentioned in my previous post (no seriously, you have to go back to it for more details about a successful baghrir).

Make sure you use a non-stick pan that is only dedicated for pancakes or crêpes.

I'm sending this post to Susan's yeastspotting at

Makes 30 * 18 cm baghrirs
Prep: 5 min - cooking: about 2 min/baghrir

Baghrir batter

  • 350 g of fine semolina
  • 150 g of all purpose flour
  • 180 ml of milk, lukewarm
  • 500 ml of water, lukewarm
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of instant dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • A good pinch of sugar
  • A good pinch of salt

To serve (approximate)

  • 1 tsp of honey/baghrir
  • 1 tsp of butter/ baghrir
  • 1 tbsp of fresh orange juice/baghrir

One baghrir with a thin edge (tp)and another one with a thicker
edge (bottom), A matter of preference.


Make baghrir

Dilute the yeast and the sugat in 4 tbsp of water and stir. Set aside for 1 minute.

Place all ingredients in the bowl of mixer and mix for 3 to 4 minutes until it looks smooth. You may use an egg beater for the same job but then keep incorporating the air for about 5 min then strain the mix.

Transfer to an appropriate bowl and cover. It should rise and make bubbles. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this step can take anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours (I leave it for a minimum of 3 hours in an 18 degrees C temperature).

Gently mix the batter with a manual egg beater or a ladle.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil it with the tip of a kitchen tower/paper.

Use a smal ladle to pour the batter into the pan: make sure you start from the middle and then tilt the pan so the batter goes around to cover all the flat surface. Alternatively, you can QUICKLY use the back of the ladle to spread the batter but do it ONLY once and at the very beginning. 

Allow a few seconds of cooking until all the bubbles are showing. Cook baghrir for about 2 minutes from one side. In case you see an uncooked spot, just flip it over for a second (literally). and take it off the heat.

This baghrir comes is the result of 4 hours rest..Nothing beats slow fermentation.

How many holes can you count (including the hidden ones)?

If the pan becomes fuming hot, reduce the heat and keep it away from the source and bring it back with it's just hot enough to take another ladle of batter.

The Baghrira is ready when it looks lightly browned from underneath.

The same batter gives different results depending on how long it's
been resting and bubbling: 
1 is the best, 3/4/5 are good while 2 is not

Place each Baghrira on a clean kitchen cloth making sure not to overlap then when still hot. If you have a small work surface, you may only overlap the edges but not the centers.

Serve slightly heated and drenched with a warm honey and butter mixture. Add the orange juice on top. 

Consider serving baghrir with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream to a nice dessert..Yummy!

Freeze the rest of plain baghrir like so (see below): 

Orange-honey-butter sauce

On a low heat, melt the butter, add honey and give it about 30 seconds. Just when you see honey becoming runny, add the orange juice. 

Let simmer for another minute.

Presenting baghrir

Take one baghrira with your fingers, dip the top (with holes) into the orange sauce and pick it up instantly (or it will soak too much sauce and might fall apart). Place the baghrir in a big plate, slightly overlapping each other.

How to handle baghrir with its sauce the traditional way: The front of baghrira goes first into the sauce and get picked instantly 
If you are worried you will end up with a lot of sauce, use a saucer to pour it over the front side of baghrir and use the back of a spoon to spread it over. You may also use a brush for that.

Do not forget:

  • To use a non-stick pan dedicated to pancakes and nothing else.
  • To give baghrir time to develop bubbles.
  • To cook baghrir on low heat and to make sure the pan is not fuming hot.
  • Not to cook baghrir from 2 sides.
  • Not to overlap the cooked baghrir unless they're completely cooled
  • To warm baghrir before you add the honey mix. 

I feel sad knowing that Serena and Arianna's june event about Moroccan food will be over today. This will be my last participation in their wonderful "La via del sapori".

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Buttered Mkhamer, a Moroccan flatbread you want to try

Today's recipe is a pure hybrid between our nation-favourite pan-fried bread called Batbout (or Mkhamer (depending whom you're talking to) and mlaoui, which can be categorized somewhere between a special flatbread-meets pancake- meets-puff pastry.

I love this bread! I make a batch and keep it frozen. When I need some, I just cut a slice and straight to the toaster. It's heaven!

You hardly need to add anything on the side..We Moroccan love a hot homemade bread with a bit of butter or olive oil on top..So when I put my slice in the toaster, magic happens (no dripping don't worry!), the bread softens and the edges get some browning..too good!

The whole wheat version

As far as the type of flour used, best combination (and the common one in Morocco) is to use fine semolina flour and strong white bread flour (50% 50%). As you will see later, you may use whole wheat bread instead of semolina flour.

The whole wheat mekhmar from the inside
I'm sending this recipe to Susan's weekly event @ yeastspotting.

Makes approx 4 *20 cm mekhmar (depending on size)
Prep: 20-30 min- Resting time: 45 min+ 30 min - cooking: 4 min/unit

  • 400 g strong white bread flour
  • 400g fine semolina flour (coarse flour)
  • 1 leveled tbsp salt
  • 30 g of fresh yeast or 15g of instant dried yeast
  • 500-550ml water, lukewarm
  • 100g softened butter 
  • Extra fine semolina for the work surface
The standard version: 50 % fine semolina flour- 50 % strong white bread flour


Making the bread dough

The dough is just as simple as making any bread with yeast. You need to knead it very well. A food processor can be used. See here  or here for more details. Do not add all the water in one go because flours have different absorpion rations. Just make sure the dough is soft and elastic.

Once the dough has been kneaded, oil your hands, scrape off all the dough and form a dough ball. Place it in a bowl. cover and leave it to double in size.


Divide dough into 4 or 6 balls and shape them into big rods/sausages. I make small ones as well so it's difficult to tell how many balls you need.

Or you can use a pizza cutter to go faster but also to have neat edges.

Roll each one into long rectangle, smear butter over, on one side and sprinkle with fine semolina flour (so the layers remain distinct after it's cooked).

Roll up the dough over itself while stretching the other end and making sure the edges are neat as well (pinch them and bring them to the center.

Pleace the dough roll vertically and cover for 10 min.

Dust the surface with fine semolina flour, start rolling the first sausage you made because it has longer time to rest.

Flatten the dough to 2-3 mm thick while turning it every 1/4. This way you will make sure it won't stick at the bottom but also to get a nice round-shape.

Place all the flattened mkhamer over a dusted kitchen towel and cover. Let them proof for another 30 min.

Over medium heat, slightly heat a heavy pan/griddle/. grease it with a few drops of oils and start pan-frying the first mekhmar.

Each mekhmar relatively takes up to 2 min by side. They're done when they look like this..

The whole wheat version

Serve mkhamer warm or at room temperature the same day. It will need to be warmed over a pan if it will be served the next day. You may as well freeze this bread and warm it another day.

Just perfect with olives on the side..and a glass of Moroccan tea.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Moroccan whole wheat bread: Khobz zra'a for my 500th post

Well, the 500th post in this blog has to be a Moroccan recipe and a vital one! It's about the daily bread.

Moroccan cooking has always been an oral tradition transmitted from generation to generation and, in the best scenario, someone would have thought about writing down guidelines of a recipe in a personal notebook..Only fairly recently (as in the last 30 years or so) that Moroccan cookery books written and printed in Morocco by Moroccans started popping out there and now they're mushrooming like ever before..

So when I make bread, I just don't bother measuring the ingredients, which is also part of cooking the Moroccan way. We add ingredients by feeling and we mimic our mothers, sisters for the rest.. When you cook some type of food all your life, measuring ingredients becomes just a waste of time because your senses become the measuring tool.

So I was asked to share a recipe of my whole wheat bread! Ahhhhh! But I don't use a scale to measure my ingredients when I make the daily bread. NEVER. I only measure when I want to share in this blog (look for "bread" or "batbout" recipes in the blog) for I know that precision makes the recipe easily "shareable".

Well for the sake of these people, I did measure it today. 

Bread finished with whole wheat flour
Today's recipe is not only about ingredients, but about a methodology of making bread. So you can use different flours but the logic will be the same. I take it you know that different flours in different climates make their absorption ratio quite approximate.

Sending this link to Susan's yeastspotting weekly event.

For 5 smalls Moroccan breads
Prep: 15 min - Proofing and autolyse: 5 hours- baking: 18 min
  • 420g of flour (50% strong white - 50% whole wheat)
  • 300 ml of lukewarm water 
  • 1 tsp of instant dried yeast
  • 1 tsp of sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp of baking powder (not a traditional ingredient, see notes)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp of olive oil 
  • Extra 50 g of flour + 2 tbsp of water for shaping and decorating.
The same recipe but finished and decorated with white flour


Mix the yeast, sugar, 100 g of flour with 1/3 of the water. Mix thouroughly and set aside covered until it bubbles.

In a big bowl (you may use a KitchenAid or equivalent) or over the worktop, place the flours mixed with salt and baking powder. Make a well and add the yeast mix. Add 1/2 of the water remaining.

Start mixing to form a dough, add 1 tbsp of oil and the water SLOWLY (not it one go)!

1- I work the dough at speed 1 for 3 min, then speed 2 for 2 min, then speen 3 for 1 min. 

2- I stop the machine and use my hand to scrap off all the dough, return it on itself and start the kneading again: speed 1, 2, 3 for 1 minute each. 

3- Scrap the dough and again speed 1,2,3 for 1 minute each. Add the last drops of water in this last kneading cycle.

Total kneading time with a KitchenAid: 12 min with a couple of stops.

First resting time /autolyse

Oil your hands, scrap the dough and form a sort of ball, place it back in the bowl and cover with a plastic bag and a dark towel on top. Set aside to double in size.

Second resting time/autolyse (optional)

Deflate the dough by bringing it towards the center of the bowl, fold it on itself a couple of times. Cover again and set aside to double in size.

Shaping and proofing the bread

Grease your hands with some oill. Flour the surface with a bit of flour. Cut the dough into 2 to 4 pieces.

Roll each piece to form a ball (we usually bring the edges towards the center in a constant movement, just like we make any round-shaped bread). Do this for all the dough pieces. Cover for 10 min.

Come back to the first ball and, in a floured surface, flatten it just below 1 cm thickness while trying to have a round-shaped form.

Place the bread on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkled with fine semolina (or use a baking paper). Leave space between each bread. Cover properly with 2 kitchen towels and keep somewhere without a potential of wind draft. Let it proof for at least 30 min depending on the weather and humidity of your environment.

Baking the bread

10 minutes before baking the bread, preheat the oven at the highest temperature possible (250 degrees non assisted fan for me here). 

Take a brush and dip it in water, run it gently on top of the bread, sprinkle with flour and spread it with your hands over the bread (just as if you are caressing the head of a baby). Score it with a sharp knife.

Place the bread inside in the middle rack of the oven. Create some steam by sprinkling some water inside it before closing the door. 

Bring the temparature to 200 and watch it double in side and turn to a nice brown colour. I turn the broiler on for the last 4 minutes for a nice colour.

Take the bread out of the oven and place it in on a kitchen towel. In Morocco, we usually cover it with the towel to trap the moist in and we don't care much about that hard crust logic. 


1- This bread is made with 70% hydratation (ration of water to flour), depending on the flour used, you need to keep this ration between 66% and 70%.

2- The whole wheat flour I'm using in UK is not as rough as the one in Morocco where we literally feel the bran. I just see bran flour-like dots. 

3- I deflate the dough twice and let it double again. You can shortcut that and only do it once. I prefer when my bread takes time to "mature". 

4- Sometimes, I use leftover dough from the previous bread, Its weight is usually anywhere between 30% and 50% of the flour to be used for the daily bread (you should know it by now if you follow this blog). I hardly use the store-bought yeast but today I meant to use it for those who want to go straight to baking this bread. I still advise that you mix a bit of flour with sugar, yeast and water and leave it for at least 1 hour before adding it to the rest. It's the same logic of a poolish

5- The use of baking powder and sugar is to reproduce that softness we like back home when we go out and buy Moroccan breads sold in the bakeries. They use "enhancers" or "ameliorants". using baking powder and sugar get us closer to that result in a home kitchen.

6- Finishing and decorating the bread is a personal choice, as you see here, the same recipe with less flour on top gave different look. I aslo used whole wheat flour in one and just white flour in the other, the result is nice in both but different.

7- This bread keeps well for 3 days without even placing it in the fridge. I just cover with a kitchen towel and place it a bread container (closed).

Why not checking these posts about bread..

Fine semolina flour with buttermilk (Lben)

For more bread recipes, please check the section dedicated to it.

Friday, 9 May 2014

My cheesy baked harcha

Since I have a bit of time to sneak in another recipe, here is the savoury version of the baked harcha I just posted earlier. I made that up so it's not part of the Moroccan cooking repertoire.

I have started a serie of posts about Harcha (see here and there but first start with this one.). I love harcha but I love the savoury versions more. So I worked out some variations to the sweet baked version (which isn't that sweet but it's still sweet).

You can adapt it to your liking and I'll suggest some ideas in the end

For a 25 cm pan/tin (It can be round or square or any shape you have)
Prep: 5 min- baking: 30 min

  • 500g of fine semolina flour
  • 1 tsp of fine sugar (optional)
  • 80 ml of olive oil or a mix of oil/melted butter
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 14 g of baking powder
  • 1/2 liter of milk or 50% milk-50% buttermilk
  • 1or 2 tbsbs of fresh or dried herbs (Thyme, basil, oregano...)
  • 40 g of crumbly white cheese: feta will do
  • 3 tbsps of chopped sundried tomatoes in oil (I used their oil this time)
  • Chopped olives or cornichons or capers, chopped spring onions


Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Cover the baking pan with baking paper or just butter it and generously sprinkle fine (not the flour type) or medium semolina (not the couscous type).

For Harchas, we usually use the fine semolina grains (on the right). In Morocco, It's common to use fine semolina flour (on the left) for other bakes and sometimes Non-Moroccans confuse these two.

Mix the semolina with the salt, sugar, herbs and oil. Work the ingredients with your finger to make sure every single grain of semolina is coated with the fat.

Add the milk and stir to combine.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Do not forget to roughly crumble the hard white cheese

Pour the mix in the pan.

Bake at 180 degrees C for approx 30 min until both sides are nicely golden brown.

Once cooked, transfer onto a wire rack and let's cool down.

Serve at room temperature just as it is or with cheese, pickles, olives. I even serve mine with a mild harissa.

You can also use it to make a sandwich or cut it with cookie cutters, then cut it through and serve it as a base for canapés.


  • I like to add herbs and spices to the mix. Olives are also great in there. chopped cooked bacon or cold cuts..
  • You could add 1 egg to the mix like I did today but honestly it's not really needed.
  • I also replace 1/3 of the semolina with polenta.
  • For a marbled effect, you could take the 3rd of the mix and mix it with sundried tomato paste or mild harissa then marble the white mix with it.
  • The cake can be 2 to 4 cm thick depending on your pan but then you need to adjust the baking time. 
  • If you choose to make a thick cake, you could cut it through, fluffen up some tarama cream along with whipping cream and generously fill in the center.
  • If you choose to use the syrup, you could also make a harcha cake tray and cut it into individual portions which you can top with whipped cream and fruits. It's like having a sort of Baba. 
  • For a gluten-free version, use polenta.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Basic recipe for Moroccan Harcha galettes

I have given an extensive definition of harcha in a previous post. In this one, I'll be sharing with you my usual harcha recipe (with its variations). You can accommodate and flavor it to your liking. Make small harchas to serve as tidbits to your family and friends along with a cup of tea.

My harchas still in the pan. 

Serves 2 to 4 (makes about 1 harcha 20 cm large or 6 minis of 7 cm)
Prep: 10 min- Cooking: 20 min

  • 260-300 g of fine semolina 
  • 1 tsp of salt  
  • 1 tsp of sugar (optional. I add it when I want to left my harcha plain)
  • 30-40ml of oil (vegetable or olive oil) or/and melted butter 
  • 90 ml of lukewarm water (or a 50%-50% water and milk)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
For shaping
  • 20-30 g of fine or medium semolina 


"Bessess" the semolina: feed it with fat

Mix dry ingredients with the fat you are planning to use (oil, melted butter..). Work these ingredients with your fingers making sure all grains have been properly coated. This should take about 1 min.

At this stage, you can cover it and leave it for a few minutes to 1 hour. If you are in a hurry, carry on with the next step.

Dry ingredients worked with olive oil to form a sandy mix.
Shape the dough ball

Slowly incorporate the liquid (water, a mix of water-milk) to the mix bring the dough together. Some people leave it slightly sloppy. I don't like it hard so It's easy to shape it and I don't like it sloppy either: too hard and you will have cracks, too sloppy and it will be somewhat rubbery. 

Try to come up with a ball by sending the dough from one hand to the other. This will form a ball without developping gluten or breaking the texture of the semolina grain. This should take about 1 min.

In the meantime, heat a heavy bottom non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.

Shaping and cooking harcha

1- For small harchas using a round cutter or a glass: sprinkle the worktop with fine or medium semolina and roll/flatten the dough anywhere between 5 mm to 1 cm (I prefer it thin). Sprinkle again from the top. Cut and place over the skillet..Cook each side about 10 min until you see brown patches.

Shaping an olive-cheese stuffed mini-harcha

2- For a large harcha: sprinkle the pan and flatten the dough directly. It will crack from the sides, it's normal, while you are flattening it, try to seal the cracks between thumb and index while being careful not to burn your arm with the edge of the pan..On the other hand, even if it cracks from the edges it's ok anyway..Cook from both sides..

My auntie shaping a large and plain Harcha

Some people prick it a couple of times once they place it in the pan,  I don't.

Cooking on the 1st side. Usually it takes between 7 and 10 minutes. You'll also notice that the top side is changing colour.

Both side should be cooked one after the other: we should make sure that the first side is done then we will flip it gently. If you are making a big harcha (over 30 cm) then you might need a big plate to do the transition between the 2 sides over the pan, just like we do for a Spanish Tortilla.

The two sides should be nicely golden with some dark brown patches which add an extra flavor.

Cooking mini harchas over a traditional heavy pan called Ma'qla Ouejdia. Any burnt semolina should be brushed to the sides and taken away

Spread butter over harcha when still warm, Heaven! Open it and make mini sandwiches...



  • In some areas in Morocco, women add a bit of fresh yeast to enhance the harcha's texture. I just do it with the baking powder although you may actually put them in together but hen you have let the dough rest for 15 min before shaping it..
  • If you are making a large number of mini harchas but have only one pan, make sure you pre-cut them and cover them in one go so you don't have to deal with dry dough.
  • I do not like a frozen and reheated harcha and I'm sure many Moroccans won't like it either, so don't be tempted to do so unless you will be making R'fissa with it.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Moroccan barley bread: Khobz elcha’ir or Mehrache

Barley bread is cherished by my fellow Moroccans and we find it in dairy food shops (called mehlabas locally) as well as mobile carts/stalls in souks but also in fancy market places such as Maarif in Casablanca.

Before getting to the recipe. I think I have to give you an idea about one of the most important businesses in Morocco, the one of opening and running a Mahlaba! 

Mahlabas are in fact small “food shops” you often find in our Moroccan cities and they cater for all ages and all spheres of the society. They sell dairy products such as jben (Moroccan soft white cheese), raib (Moroccan yoghurt), Juices, sodas, sandwiches (hot and cold) and some sweets/desserts…On their own, the Mahlabas represent a version of Moroccan street food.

I ordered this mini-harcha with barley for breakfast at a coffee-shop in Fes

When I was still living in Morocco, I used to stop for a grab-and-go breakfast which consisted of harcha with kirri cheese and hard-boiled eggs (of course seasoned with salt and cumin, Moroccan style) and a juice..The other option if khobz elcha’ir was still available, then I’ll just go for a mini-one because that’s what you get in Casablanca: mostly the puffy mini-ones.

Flat version of the barley bread, pan-fried

Moroccan barley bread can also come flat such as batbout or puffed just like the other version of Moroccan bread with a good hearth (ideal for soaking in a Moroccan marqa or sauce). I did have the flat version in my recent trip to Fes and it was served along with semolina harcha. It was seriously delicious.

Both versions will be flattened in barley semolina before being baked or pan-fried (in the case of flat barley bread).

Beside the shape, the mix of flours or meals used can also be different; due to the nature of barley flour (which by the way is healthier than the normal white flour), we may add other types of flour to have a lighter hearth once the bread is baked. Ideally, we are looking at 50% to 60% barley flour or meal and the rest will be a mix of whole wheat and white bread flour for a nice texture.

Now, being fond of pre-fermentation and old methods of making bread (not that I bake in old-style oven, I live in an apartment!), I have made my version using a 24 h old bread dough which represented 45% of the weight before adding water (I’ll explain later). If you are expert in bread making and like to use starters, please work out your baker’s formula accordingly OR just get into the habit of leaving 20 to 30 % of your bread dough for the next one (assuming you make it at max every 3 days).

The other thing is that I left my dough to rest overnight in an 18 degrees C environment (my kitchen) and I deflated it once after it doubled in size during the first part of the night.

Today I’ll be sharing with you both options: with normal yeast and with a pre-fermented dough or starter. In both cases, the recipe is for approximately. 4 breads of 18 cm diameter and 3 cm thick once baked.

Having a sticky dough and not pricking or scoring the dough will leave nice pockets of air inside.

Moroccan barley bread with normal yeast

Prep: 10 to 20 min- Resting time: 30 min (no leavening)-90 min (with leavening), pan-frying/baking: 4 min-15 min
  • 300g fine barley flour (or barley semolina which you will need to pre-soak for at least 4 hours until it softens, then you fish the semolina out)
  • 100g soft wheat flour (in Morocco this usually comes with bran)
  • 150g of strong white flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of pre-toasted cumin seeds (unless you are using Indian or Moroccan)
  • 15g of fresh yeast or 1 ½ tsp of instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbps of olive oil
  • 350- 380ml of water (the dough is sticky and barley absorbs water)
  • 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
Finishing and shaping
  • 100g of medium barley semolina
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil

Pricking or poking the dough before baking will make the final bread look less puffed than the one left without it.


Make the bread following a stretch and fold method or using a KitchenAid (or equivalent). The only thing I want to say here is that the dough will be sticky and it is a bit difficult to handle that sort of dough. To go throught this without pain, I choose to be in control of my dough and not the other way around, so I add enough water to have a ball then I add water bit by bit after complete absorption. Add the cumin seeds (I also added flaxseeds to today's dough).

Once the dough has been kneaded, grease your hands with olive oil (It will stop the dough from sticking) and smear the dough with it. Leave it covered to double in volume in a warm area.

In the process of making dough balls

Generously sprinkle medium barley semolina on the worktop. Oil your hands again and cut the dough in four or more depending on the size you are looking for. Shape each “gorssa” or round-bread with 1 cm thickness (It will double in size later). Make sure you always have enough barley semolina covering your worktop.

Flattening the dough balls

Place the bread in a baking sheet (oiled or covered with baking paper). Cover with 2 kitchen towels and set aside for another 45 min.

This very flat version was pan-fried, which is was it was thin (It doubles in volumes once in contact with the heat)
Preheat the oven at 240 degrees C for 10 min. Score the bread (or not, I like it this way although it should be scored).

These 3 were thicker than the pan-fried version with the intention to be baked in the oven.

Bake at 200 degrees C. I create some steam for all my breads by sprinkling the hot oven with water just before closing its door.

The bread takes approx. 15-20 min to bake..

Enjoy it:
- Warm with butter,
-Or with olive oil and honey,
- Or make a sandwich with kirri/la vache qui rit cheese, hard-boiled egg, salt and cumin just like we love it back there.

Barley bread with a pre-ferment dough 
(illustrated with pictures)

Prep: 10 to 20 min (by hand/by machine)- Proofing time: 16 hours- Panfrying/baking: 4-20 min

Pre-ferment dough
  • 150g of strong bread flour
  • 100g of whole wheat flour 
  • 1/4 tsp of instant dry yeast 
  • 1 tsp of honey or sugar
  • 180-200 ml of water
Main dough
  • 350g fine barley flour (or fine barley semolina which you will need to pre-soak until it softens)
  • 250g pre-ferment dough
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of pre-toasted cumin seeds (unless you are using Indian or Moroccan)
  • 2 tbps of olive oil
  • 300 ml of water (the dough is sticky)
Finishing and shaping
  • 100g of medium barley semolina
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil


Pre-ferment dough

If you have a 1 to 3 days old dough left in the fridge, use 250g.

If you will make one from scratch, mix all ingredients thoroughly and cover. Set over a kitchen counter for 12 hours then place it in the fridge for the rest of the time. You can make it ahead and keep it for 1 to 3 days.

In both cases, allow the cold pre-ferment dough 3 to 4 hours so it comes back to room temperature (covered). Cut it into 4 cm cubes or so then soak it in 1/2 of the water in the recipe.

Make the bread

Mix the flour and salt, make a well, add in the oil and the pre-ferment dough. Knead and add water bit by bit just like in recipe n 1.

The only thing different in this version is that we have to let the dough proof and rise for 2-3 hours. I do deflate it once after I see it doubled it size then I let it proof for at least 10 more hours (basically I make it at 9 pm and shape it the next morning. We hardly used any yeast here so we rely on these little bacteria to eat their way out and produce enough bubbles for us and enhance the final taste.

Follow the same steps mentioned in recipe 1 to shape and bake the barley bread.

Now I have to say that you can make a 100% barley bread which is healthier and yummy with some nice olive oil and honey.

However, you should like dense breads to go that path. Here is one made by my auntie.

A 100% barley bread comes different in colour as well as texture

To get you started on the pre-ferment dough concept the easy way, just follow this recipe and leave one clove of garlic in the pre-ferment mix. Make sure you take it off before using the mix. 


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