MarocMama

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Zaatar Flat Bread

Zaatar Flat Bread

Moroccan Food December 16, 2010 1

 

Doesn’t it just look so tasty with the thyme mixed in??

I’ve finally worked up enough courage to start playing around with my basic Moroccan bread recipe to come up with some variations.  On my first attempt it’s safe to say it was a success!  This is a much more rustic bread than the white bread version I make.  However most bread in Morocco is made with a blend of another whole grain.  This bread is a little sweet and a little savory.  I think that if you have a little bit of bread leftover it would make a great bread crumb once dried up!


Ingredients
2 c white flour

These quantities will make about 3 8″ diameter loaves

1 c wheat flour
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves (stems removed)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tbsp good olive oil

Directions:  You can use the same instructions as the traditional khobz recipe.  Just add in the additional ingredients before kneading.  Check out the tutorial here.
Have your favorite Mediterranean Winter/Holiday Dessert ready for tomorrow? Food of the Sun Blog Carnival starts tomorrow – have your links ready!!  

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Argan Banana Muffins

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 as my new work schedule has severely limited the time I have in the kitchen.  I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to but I did come up with these beauties.  I like them because they are not overly sweet – in fact I don’t really think they are that sweet at all.  You could add some more sugar if you wanted a sweeter taste.

 
Make sure to pay attention to these as they near the end of baking.  Overcooking them will make them very dry.  I would add a little more yogurt if you’re worried about them getting too dry.  I also added a crumble to the top of these – you can easily do this by mixing flour, melted butter and sugar to create a grainy consistency (think Moon Sand).  
 
Argan Banana Muffins
yields: 12 large muffins
Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe-overly ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp argan oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix banana, yogurt, egg and honey together.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a seperate bowl. 
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing well.  Drizzle the argan in and combine. 
The muffin mix will be a little thicker than normal – it’s ok. 
Fill muffin tin (or liners) 3/4 of the way full and bake in a 350 preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden and the dough starts to pull from the edge of the liner/tin. 
They are the best warm with a little bit of honey drizzled on top. 
But wait…argan?  Maybe you’re not familiar with this lovely oil?  Guess what my lovelies keep following because I’m going to be giving away a bottle straight from Morocco the only place in the world that argan is produced.  Would you like some?  I’ll tell you how to win tomorrow!

 

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I’ve posted my recipe before on making Moroccan bread (khobz) and you can find my recipe here.  The fun thing about this bread is that it’s pretty forgiving.  You can use different kinds of flours, mixtures of flours, rising time and making it into different shapes.  Traditionally it is made into a round and there is some technique to making it the authentic way. 

So here we have a ball of dough.  This is ½ whole wheat flour and ½ white flour.  After mixing it in my Kitchen Aid I turn it out into a shallow wide bowl and pour olive oil in my hands and rub the dough with the oil. 

While the dough is rising I prepare my work space.  I use a large butcher block, round wood board to work my dough.  My in-laws have a really large shallow bowl, that looks like the bottom of a tajine.  By large I mean about 2 ½ feet across.  They knead and shape the dough in this, however I have the luxury of a mixer so this is not necessarily.  I also use fine semolina flour on the board to keep the dough from sticking.    Lastly is a large flour sack towel.  One of two of these are used to wrap up the bread once it is made into rounds. 
.  
The dough is then divided into balls.  For smaller rounds make smaller balls. For larger rounds make bigger balls.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymUX9cSPIFY]
This short video shows how I round the balls so that when they flatten they take on the characteristic rounded shape.  
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTTR0TUlA4o]
Another short video showing how to flatten the rounds.  

                                                            The final product!  

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Braided Herb Bread

Usually I make bread daily, but it’s the round Moroccan kind. For a party I hosted yesterday I decided to try something a little different and a quick yeast bread was in order. I found a recipe in one of my mom’s magazines and tweeked with some changes for our tastes and needs.  

Even for someone who has very little baking experience or skills this bread is simple. Serve warm with delicious butter or a variety of tapenades and dips.

Even for someone who has very little baking experience or skills this is something that can be done.  

Ingredients:

  • 4-41/2 c flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 pkg yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 c milk (2% is best)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp butter melted (for the top)

Directions:

1. Combine 1 1/2c flour, sugar, yeast, garlic and salt in mixing bowl
2. Heat milk, water and butter in a saucepan on medium heat until butter is melted
3. Mix the wet ingredients with dry ingredients slowly.  Add the egg and the remaining flour until all is combined.  
4. Knead the mixture fore 4-6 minutes and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll out into 1″ thick ropes.
6.  Place ropes together and fold over the top, begin braiding the bread and fold the ends under.  
7.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for 25 minutes.  Preheat the oven at this time to 375F.
8.  Brush top with butter and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until bread sounds hollow when tapped and is brown on top.  

This recipe can easily be doubled to make 2 loafs as I did.  If you want a more flavorful bread, add more garlic, or any other seasoning that you enjoy.

 

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Sfinge – Moroccan doughnuts!
Palm Sunday and reed strings. The first time my husband brought home sfinge I was shocked thinking, “what it’s Palm Sunday and they celebrate it here?” Except wait they get doughnuts with their palms?? Weird! But no it wasn’t that because it was August. These tasty, delicious doughnuts are sometimes made at home but are often bought from street vendors. Fried dough must be a staple in every culture but just thinking about these doughnuts makes my mouth water. I make them at home now on cold winter nights with a big mug of hot chocolate. Yum!
Kringo_sfinge
(These are the cousin of sfinge, a smaller denser doughnut known as kringo. Sfinge are bigger and lighter)
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup warm water
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • sugar, for coating

Directions

In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Add the water and yeast mixture, and stir vigorously with your hand or a spoon until smooth. The dough should be too sticky to knead or shape.

Cover the bowl, and leave the dough to rise for three to four hours, until double or triple in bulk.

In a wide pot heat at least an inch of vegetable oil until hot. Fill another bowl with water and set to the side. You should have three bowls ready. One with your dough, one with water, and a third with sugar. Also cover a large plate with paper toweling or a towel.

 

To begin dip your hand in the water and pull off a piece of dough about the size of a plum. Using your fingers make a hole in the dough and stretch into a ring. Place into the oil. Repeat with the remaining dough. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Depending on the size you may only be able to do 2 or 3 at a time. Fry them until golden brown, flipping a few times to make sure both sides are cooked well. Remove from oil and set on plate to drain. Once the extra oil has been absorbed, roll them in the sugar mixture before they cool off. Place on a clean plate.

 

These are really made to be eaten hot so I don’t recommend doubling the recipe to save some for later. If you are cooking them all to eat right away go ahead however they do not store and reheat very well!

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Moroccan Recipe: Bread or Khobz

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 before you say wait, well he CAN he just doesn’t want to – no he really can not. I used to make bread almost every day when we got married – kneading it and all. Then we got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and that made it a whole lot easier. When we moved to Northern Virginia there was so much good bread at a cheap price that we would freeze and thaw bread instead of making it. I spent 2 1/2 years doing that and I really didn’t miss making bread! Now that we moved back to Wisconsin the kind of bread we like is much more expensive and not the same quality so it seems like I will be going back to baking bread again. My first attempt and baking again went well! You will have to pardon the image as this is actually the “not so good” loafs and they were about a day old. I didn’t get to take a picture when I first baked them because my husband gobbled it up so fast – that’s a good sign though! In reality it’s pretty easy to make and I don’t mind doing it if I have a little extra time. It does dry out quickly so if you are making it to last more than a day, throw it in the freezer after it’s cooled (wrapped up of course).

Ingredients:

  •  4c and a little extra white flour – do not use self rising flour! ( you can also use wheat or half of each flour)
  • 2 c warm water
  • 1 tbsp yeast (or 1 pkg of Red Star or like brand)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil

Directions: 

  • In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and 1c warm water. Mix well and allow yeast to bubble.
  • In a large bowl add flour and salt. After yeast/water mixture begins to bubble pour into bowl with flour. Begin combining flour and water.
  • *Note your hands will get sticky – just wait I have a trick!*
  • Have another cup of warm water to the side and add slowly to flour mixture. You may not use the entire cup.
  • Continue combining flour and water until you can form a ball. At this point it should be a bit sticky.
  • Pour vegetable oil into your hands and proceeds to work it into the dough. Again you may not use a full 1/4 cup.
  • Most of the dough should come off of your hands and combine into the dough that will be elastic but no longer sticky.
  • Knead for 8-10 minutes
  • Oil the ball and the bowl and cover. Allow to rest 15 minutes.
  • Divide dough into 2-3 portions depending on the size of the bread you would like.
  • Using the divided pieces form 2-3 smaller balls.
  • Sprinkle flour on a board or counter-top and begin to push down the ball beginning in the center, similar to how you would form a pizza crust. Moroccan bread is traditionally in a circle shape however whatever shape you make it will not really matter!
  • The dough should be about 1/4″ thick and even on all sides.
  • Wrap in a towel and continue for the remainder of the portions.
  • Allow dough to rise about 45 minutes. Preheat the over to 400-425F.
  • Once dough has risen prick with a from several times and place on a cookie sheet or baking stone into the oven.
  • Cook until it begins to brown and makes a hallow sound when tapped – about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Rghaif is my husband’s favorite food, and I’ve just recently really figured out how to make this the way that he likes it. Often times you will find this sold as street food however I am not a fan of onions and this is really loaded with them. It’s not that I dislike onions, I dislike the texture of them. So I’ve figured out how to adapt this just a little bit to fit with my tastes as well.

To make this prepare the recipe for m’semmen – the directions here are just the additional ingredients.

Additional Ingredients

1/2 lb Ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 onion coarsly chopped
Handful of parsley (chopped very small)
Handful of cilantro (chopped very small)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder or hot paprika (optional)

Combine everything in a food processor to get a paste. Make m’semmen dough the normal way. However before folding into thirds, add a thin layer of the paste. The dough should be a little thicker with this version and it’s very important that there are no holes in the dough or the meat mixture will leak through.

Continue assembling and cook the same way as you do for m’semmen.

These are best served hot, but can also be frozen and reheated later.

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I found the recipe here on Christina’s blog about Moroccan food. A fabulous resource from an expat living in Morocco. I play around with the amount of semolina in it as my husband tends to like it with more semolina than flour.
Ingredients
• 4 cups white flour
• 2 cups semolina or wheat flour
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon yeast
• 2 cups water (approximate), divided
Directions
1) Activate the yeast by mixing it with ¼ cup of warm (not hot) water and a teaspoon of sugar. Set aside the mixture until it’s frothy, about five to 10 minutes.
2) Blend the flours, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast, the oil and the rest of the water, and mix to form a dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s too sticky to work with, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time. (Remember the dough will absorb a bit more flour if you knead it by hand.)
3) If the dough feels a bit stiff, work in additional water, a tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough in a mixer with a dough hook, or by hand on a lightly floured surface, for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
4) Divide the dough into smooth balls and leave them to rest, covered, on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Roll out each ball into a thin circle about ⅛ inch thick. Set the rolled out dough on a clean, dry towel and cover. Leave to rise for about 1 to 1½ hours.
5) Preheat a very lightly oiled cast iron skillet, griddle or other non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the batbout, turning several times, until golden brown on both sides. The browning will be a bit uneven since the bread puffs up as it cooks, but that’s okay. Transfer the cooked batbout to a rack to cool. It’s okay to stack them while they’re warm.
Batbout will keep fresh for two days at room temperature. They freeze well, and can be heated in a microwave directly from the freezer. Just be careful not to overheat them or they’ll dry out.

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