Moroccan Durum Bread
Morrocan Durum Bread (khobz dyal smida) is easy to make and perfect toasted for breakfast, for lunch sandwiches, or to dip into olive oil, or have with soups or stews for dinner. This recipe is adapted from one by Christine Benlafquih, a freelance writer and cooking class instructor with a background in Moroccan cuisine. She says that in Morocco, it usually takes the shape of khobz, a traditional disc-shaped flatbread, but you'll also find it in baguette or sandwich roll form.
Yield: 2 disc-shaped loaves
- 2 cups Janie's Mill Durum Flour (may substitute Sifted Durum or Semolina -- see Baker's Note #1 below)
- 2 cups Janie's Mill All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose flour, for kneading
- 1/4 cup Durum Flour, for dusting the loaves
- Olives (optional)
- Large mixing bowl
- Large baking sheet
- In a large bowl, combine the Durum and All-Purpose flours.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the salt, sugar, and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the liquid yeast mixture.
3. Use your hand or a whisk to incorporate all the flour into the liquid.
4. Let rest 15 minutes, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide into two balls, and coat lightly in Durum or Semolina.
5. Prepare a baking sheet either by oiling the centers or lining with parchment and dusting with flour. Place the dough on the sheet and let rest 10 minutes, covered with a towel. Then use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into large, flat rounds about 1/4" thick.
6. Cover the loaves with a towel, and leave to rise about one hour or longer, until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. You may press olives into the dough at this point if you wish.
7. Pre-heat oven to 435F. Traditionally the dough is pricked with a fork before baking, which yields a flatter loaf.
8. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
9. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool. Eat within a day or two and freeze any leftovers. Then thaw and toast.
Durum History & Baker's Notes
About 10,000 years ago, Durum Wheat was domesticated in the Levant region (present day Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) and in the Ethiopian Highlands. Soon the Phoenicians, Greeks, and above all the Romans expanded Durum's cultivation throughout the Mediterranean Rim. By the first century BCE, Durum was the dominant variety of wheat, and its territory grew as the Arab empire expanded to North Africa, Spain, and beyond. Dry pasta and couscous made from Durum wheat were soon stables of the region, and continue to be made of Durum.
- The disc-shaped loaves are traditionally cut into wedges for serving, but you may also slice the loaves. You may also shape the dought into small personal-size loaves and serve alongside soup or stew.
- This bread makes excellent toast.
Theme and Variations
Here are a few points of inspiration and adaptation:
- Durum Flour has a very high protein level (16%) so you may combine it with any of your favorite medium or low protein flours such as Einkorn, Black Emmer, Spelt, or All Purpose.
- This recipe uses half Durum and half All-Purpose flour, but you can adjust the ratios freely. The more Durum you use, the more golden the color, and chewy the texture will be.
- Durum Flour is also very thirsty, and depending on the proportion you use, you may go up to 90% hydration.
Posted on September 05 2022