Happy Kanu Pongal to all - feeling quite under the weather - I had contracted Lyme Disease a few years ago and the recurring effects of it are joint pains - My knees are begging for mercy from a sharp shooting pain that has ruled my life for almost 24 hours now! I am quite sick of taking Advil and have resorted to arnica - hoping to get an acupuncture appointment for it Sigh! feeling better after off loading some of my woes!
I had made this bread several weeks ago but it is good I held back posting it for this week with the Avant Garde Cookies, we are making breads - And this is a wonderful addition to any dinner table. Not much different from any other bread in so far as the recipe goes, what sets this apart is the incredible crustiness of the outside shell and the incredible softness of its inside.
How it came about
We had gone to a local Moroccan restaurant, one that has apparently been around for over 3 years and this was the first time we'd paid attention. The food was not great, but good. However, what had me raving was the Khobz - it was out of sight yummy. I did talk to the chef and owner about it and he did not really reveal the recipe, but said it needed a lot of kneading.
More internet searches reveal recipes that were not any different from any other kind of bread. So I took the chef's word for it and kneaded it for an extra long time in my mixer. The other trick was to use lesser water and keep the dough somewhat tough. I did use 1 tbsp of olive oil. While mine was really tasty and well-received, I know I "knead" a lot more to get the same great bread from the restaurant - practice maketh perfect -
One last hint from the chef - rewarming the bread also gives it the crispiness on the shell and the softness inside... so go ahead and give it a try -If nothing else, if you are in Morocco sometime, you'll at least know to order khobz :) Presenting Khobz
Khobz as explained by about.com
Moroccan and Standard Arabic: الخبز
Khobz is the Moroccan and standard Arabic word for bread. TheTamazight (Berber) word kesra and Tashelhit (Shilha) word agroummight also be used, as might the French word pain.
Although khboz and kesra may mean different things to different Moroccans, both terms are used in a general sense to refer to oven-baked bread which is shaped into round, flattish loaves with lots of crust. During a traditional Moroccan meal, khobz often replaces utensils such as forks or spoons as it is used to scoop up meat, vegetables, sauce, salads, dips and more.
Different types of flour can be used to make khboz. Exactly what goes into each loaf, and how large or small it is shaped, is a matter of personal preference. White, semolina, wheat, rye, bran and barley are some of the flours that might be used, while anise and cumin seeds are just two additions that could be added for extra flavor.
In rural areas, many families use small dome-shaped wood burning ovens to bake their bread. In urban areas, families might opt to bake their bread do so in public street ovens. Both methods give bread a unique flavor and character that simply can't be matched in a conventional oven or by Moroccan bakeries. Nonetheless, very good Moroccan bread can be baked in home ovens, and it's worth trying to make your own bread to complement a Moroccan meal.
Recipe is replicated from About.Com - thank you!
|I added some thyme and moroccan spices for flavor|
Allow 1 hour rising time. Yields two 8" to 9" round loaves.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rising time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- 4 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- additional flour for kneading
- cornmeal, semolina or oil for the pan
Prepare two baking sheets by oiling the centers, 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 center of the flour mixture, and add the yeast.
Add the oil and the water to the well, mixing to dissolve the yeast first, and then stirring the entire contents of the bowl to incorporate the water into the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading 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 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 colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.