This is a scene from a hanut or corner store in Morocco. Hanuts are everywhere, in fact it’s nearly impossible to go more than 2 blocks without coming across one. They sell all types of things but most importantly they sell bread. See the counter lined with breads? I can count at least seven different kinds. Of all the elements of Moroccan food bread is the most important. It’s cheap (1 -2 dirham a loaf or about 40 cents) and it’s used both as a means of filling up and as a utensil. Bread is eaten three times and a day and even more.
MarocBaba grew so attached to bread growing up that he physically can not eat a meal without bread. What I used to think was just a preference to have bread with a meal I’ve come to realize is much much more. He just told me a story from growing up about bread. Whenever he (or anyone else) would drop a piece of bread on the floor or if it went too stale to eat they would first kiss it before discarding it. Even then the bread goes into a special bag with the garbage because it’s fed to animals. That’s some serious starch love.
So when we found out a few months ago he had celiac disease the first thought that came into both of our heads was “but what about the bread?” I’ve spent months trying to make a good gluten free bread that is similar to Moroccan khobz and while some of them have been ok none of them have been great. I’ve gone through lots of different flours, learning how they all work, which ones absorb water quickly, which bind better, which taste like chalk (ew chickpea flour is not my favorite!) and which have a nicer taste. Then a few weeks ago I gave up. I started buying gluten free sliced bread from the store and while it was expensive I just had enough.
This weekend I was ready to give it one more chance so I turned to a resource I knew I could trust. Shauna at Gluten Free Girl. I knew she had to have a good bread recipe and sure enough she did!
The recipe is for a Gluten-Free Crusty Boule and actually comes from the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day. Shauna and her husband helped the authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois with the gluten-free recipes and share this one on the Gluten Free Girl website. The best part is that in comparison to other gluten-free breads I’ve made, this one is really easy. I followed the recipes exactly but omitted the add-ins. It was amazing. After tasting it my kids said,
“are you sure this is gluten-free bread? I don’t think it is. It tastes like real bread. “
It’s gluten-free bread and it’s good.
Shauna and Danny thank you for bringing this to life on your site and for giving my Moroccan husband a little bit of his homeland back. I know he’s forever thankful (and so am I!)