Msemmen

In Moroccan Food by Amanda Mouttaki19 Comments

This is one of the best Moroccan foods that exist – and of course it would be because essentially it’s fried dough. They are so good fresh and hot with honey on top. I have recently learned to make these exactly as my mother and sister in laws would do so and have taken to making a batch every other weekend for the freezer.
 
Ingredients:

  • 3½ cups flour (340 g)
  • ½ cup fine semolina (90g)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon yeast
  • 1½ cups warm water (approx. ⅓ liter)

 
For folding and cooking the msemen:

  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • ½ cup fine semolina
  • ¼ cup very soft unsalted butter

 
1) Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1½ 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.
 
2) Set a bowl of the melted/soft butter and some oil aside. Cover your hands with oil.
 
3) Begin by dividing the dough into golf ball size balls. Continue until all the dough is divided.
 
4) Starting with the first ball you made, add more of the butter mixture to your hands and work surface. Flatten the ball to a very very thin layer.
 
5) Rub some oil on top, and fold into thirds.
 
6) Add some more oil and sprinkle some semolina on the strip and fold again into thirds.
 
7) You should have a small square of dough. Continue through the remaining balls.
 

8.) Heat up a skillet and add a small amount of oil to the pan. Keep it on a medium heat. Starting with the first “package” that you assembled, oil your hands and begin flattening the dough. It should be thin and remain in a square shape. Do not overwork or the layers meld together.
 

 
9) Place into the warm skillet and cook until golden brown. If it does not turn to a golden color, you are not using enough oil.
 

 
The trick to this recipe is making sure you are using enough of the oil/butter mixture at all steps. If you are not the dough will rip or will not cook correctly.
 

Related Posts

  • 79
    There's not much baking that goes on in this house.  There are two reasons for that 1) I don't like to measure things and 2) baking usually equals something sweet and generally not good for me so I try to just avoid it altogether.  I promised that I would make something this weekend for breakfasts…
    Tags: add, oil, breakfast, breads
  • 76
    Most of my bread baking has been confined to the gluten-free variety lately. I knew that I wanted to tackle this brioche recipe in Kicked Up Sandwiches almost as soon as I saw it.  Brioche can be somewhat intimidating.  There's a a lot of butter and a lot of eggs that go into making it.…
    Tags: dough, warm, breakfast, breads
  • 69
    In  Morocco it's almost unheard of to throw away bread. Even though it is consumed at least three times a day and there inevitably is bread leftover, it is saved, reused if possible and if not, put into the garbage in a separate bag.  It's then often fed to animals. Instead of letting these day-old…
    Tags: breakfast, breads
  • 60
    It took me sometime to realize that there are many different kinds of Moroccan bread that are actually made at home. And each one serves a different purpose. Batbout is a Moroccan pita, or an American equivalent of sandwich bread. It's for a quick lunch (I loved eating it for breakfast with cheese inside.) I…
    Tags: dough, water, semolina, cups, warm, knead, add, oil, breads
  • 60
    I don't know if there's anything more Moroccan than a round loaf of bread. Nope. There's not. Let's just say no one in Morocco is going to be doing the Atkin's diet anytime soon. Bread is so prevalent and ingrained (haha ingrained) in Moroccan culture my husband can not eat a meal without it. And…
    Tags: dough, water, cup, oil, warm, ball, hands, add, breads
Amanda MouttakiMsemmen

Comments

  1. Odette

    I tried making msemmen this weekend. They turned out…okay. Edible, but not particularly pretty or as tasty as what I had in Morocco. How do you reheat them? Microwave makes them a little tough. Thanks for the video — it was a big help!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      My guess is not enough oil and butter, these use so much! The first handful of times I tried mine fell flat. Lots of practice to get them thin enough. To reheat I only do it on the stove or in a toaster oven, the microwave will ruin them.

  2. Pingback: Moroccan Hanukkah Traditions - MarocMama

  3. Pingback: Mimouna – A Moroccan Passover Celebration!

  4. Kate

    Hi I was wondering if you’ve converted this recipe to a gluten free version? My kids have celiac and really miss eating msemmen. Any help would be amazing!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Kate. I’m still working on it :(. My Moroccan sister in laws are helping me now so I’m hoping I will have something soon!

      1. Kate

        I hope you find a way! My Moroccan husband likes paratha better than msemmen and my kids used to like it just as much so I’m going to try to use a recipe for it with cup4cup because I’ve success with that flour blend with other breads. I thought about trying msemmen with cup4cup but I don’t know what to use for semolina? Maybe finely ground corn grits?

        1. MarocMama

          The times I’ve experimented I used fine round corn grits instead of semolina. The problem is creating a dough that has enough elastic (which the gluten provides) to roll out into layers. I’ll keep working at it!

  5. Pingback: The Mothers' Meal: Rfisa | marocmama.com

  6. Pingback: Crockpot Lamb and Lentils | marocmama.com

  7. Pingback: Moroccan Breakfast Ideas | marocmama.com

  8. Calista

    Oh! And its the tribeca whole foods market store in nyc. They order them from a small bakery

    1. Calista

      The bakery is called Hot bread Kitchen. They employ immigrant women which may explain the price.

  9. Calista

    Thank you for your help! The dough is still sticky when I do it. I add flour to it and continue kneading but after a while it becomes sticky again. I rub so much butter oil mixture on it but the butter is semi liquid by that time. Does that make a difference? I would be so grateful if you could do a video! Thanks again!

    1. Author
      marocmama

      I’m not sure how I missed this comment! The butter and oil should be liquid — but I will do a video soon – hopefully this week and will be sure to send you an email when it’s live.

  10. Calista

    Help! I’ve tried this recipe twice and my msemmen is never flaky and its always thick. Am I doing somehting wrong? I followed the recipe to the “TT”. Some recipes require 30 min of kneading, others require 10 minutes. I’ve tried both methods and its just not coming out like its supposed to.

    Please help! Whole Foods started carrying them in the bakery and I’ve been resorting to paying $2.79 each for them–so expensive. I would much rather make them myself.

    thanks!

    1. Author
      marocmama

      Calista – I’m so sorry you’re having problems! I will say this is a tricky recipe. It sounds like you’re not using enough butter and oil between the layers. Is your dough still a little sticky after mixing up? It should be elastic enough so that when spreading out with the butter and oil it is almost see through before folding. Another trick to keep the layers separate is to sprinkle a small amount of fine semolina between the layers when folding. You’ve inspired me to do a video of this process – I think it might be easier to see!! (PS where are you that Whole Foods carries them?? Awesome but very expensive!)

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.