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Moroccan Msemmen Recipe

Moroccan Msemmen Recipe

Msemmen is one of the best Moroccan foods that exist – and of course it would be because essentially it’s Moroccan fried bread. Typically they are made two times a day; for breakfast or in the mid-afternoon for snack/coffee time. You will find both a sweet and savory version of these.

Making Msemmen

The sweet version is topped with melted butter and honey. It’s sometimes called the Moroccan breakfast bread because it regularly makes an appearance on morning tables. Other people call them Moroccan pancakes but I think that title belongs to beghrir!

Some other names you might hear people call these;

  • Moroccan chapati
  • Moroccan paratha
  • Malawi or meloui (similar recipe different way to shape them)
  • Moroccan fried bread
  • Msemen pancakes or Moroccan square pancakes
  • Moroccan crepes
  • Moroccan square pancakes

While the savory version is stuffed with spices and fat and cooked making something akin to a pizza. If you want to try that option check out my rghaif recipe.

How to Make Moroccan Msemmen

I highly advise you to set aside some time to do this. The first time can be a little frustrating and this isn’t a great recipe to tackle if you’ve got a bunch of other things going on. Make sure to gather all of your ingredients first and prepare a large, clean workspace to spread out your work. I find that a large clean kitchen counter space works best – and then to work directly on the counter. It’s a little more of a hassle to clean up but having the big space makes the folding and flattening faster.

This recipe is not easy to master. In fact it takes a few tries to really get the process down. An easy msemmen recipe is hard to come by because the trick is in how you mix the ingredients, fold and rest.

A few tips that might help you make msemmen at home;

  • don’t be afraid to use oil and butter. This is not a health food recipe. The oil and butter is what helps you make the layers very thin before folding. If the layers aren’t thin enough then you will just end up with a chunk of bread.
  • Cut the recipe in half if you’re unsure. That way you will work with a smaller batch and won’t use up too many ingredients before you master the technique.
  • There are different methods and variations of ingredients used to make this across Morocco. Feel free to mix it up based on the region you’re familiar with.
  • You can try to make this using whole wheat flour but the texture will be much firmer so don’t knead it as much in the beginning.

Some common questions about making msemmen

Can I make vegan msemmen?

Absolutely. To make this vegan, substitute the butter for additional oil or use vegan butter. You could also consider using coconut oil if you want a little different flavor.

Can I make this msemmen gluten free?

I have tried for nearly 10 years to make a gluten-free version of these. Normally you can substitute one to one gluten free flour to make things. It doesn’t work here. Part of what makes msemmen is the pulling and folding of the bread. This creates the layers. Gluten is the protein in regular flour that makes this possible. Without it, you can’t replicate the same effect.

Can I freeze msemmen?

Yes! This bread lends very well to being frozen and reheated. Let the bread completely cool then stack with a piece of parchment between each one. It can be stored in a freezer bag or in a freezer container. To reheat simply remove and allow to thaw OR you can directly place into a skillet or toaster oven to reheat.

How many calories are in msemmen?

Who knows! If you are someone that is counting calories this probably isn’t the recipe for you. The calories are going to vary depending on the oil/butter ratio you use. The size of your msemmen and additional oil used in cooking them.

Moroccan Msemmen

Moroccan Msemmen

Yield: 10-12 breads
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Msemmen is typically made for breakfast or afternoon snack time. It is a laminated bread that can be eaten savory or sweet.

Ingredients

Bread Ingredients

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

Ingredients for Folding Bread

  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • ¼ cup very soft unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add a little flour one tablespoon at a time.
  4. 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.
  5. Set a bowl of the melted/soft butter and some oil aside. Cover your hands with oil. Begin by dividing the dough into golf ball size balls.
  6. Continue until all the dough is divided.
  7. 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.
  8. Rub some oil on top, and fold into thirds.
  9. Add some more oil and sprinkle some semolina on the strip and fold again into thirds.
  10. You should now have a small square of dough. Continue through the remaining balls.
  11. 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.
  12. Place into the warm skillet and cook until golden brown and slightly crunchy on he outside. If it does not turn to a golden color, you are not using enough oil.

More recipes that use msemmen:

Rfisa

Chicken Arabian Taco

Rghaif

Moroccan Cooking Msemmen Recipe

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Tinhanane

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Further up you wrote some may hear Moroccan Chapattis & parathas. I’m sorry to be the first to tell you this, we are not Indians & Pakistanis. We never refer to our food with South Asian or Middle Eastern names. I only expect this level of ignorance from foreigners that’s come to our country and fetishise over us (our men) and our culture, yet struggles to differentiate between non-white languages and cultures. Please do not mislead your followers who are people from your culture that also fetishise over our men, just because you made a career out of our culture, food, and language. Shame on the men that entertain gawrias for a visa and sex.

Paddy

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Hi, I'm excited to try this recipe but a bit confused by your amounts. You have 3.5cups/340g This would work out to roughly 100g per cup. Then you have 1/2 cup semonila/90g

That would work out 180g per cup.

Now I am not sure how much butter or oil to use

Sara

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Hi Amanda,

Any way this will work out if I do it with medium Semolina? That's all I have in the house right now and I'd love to surprise my husband. Thanks!

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

It will work will just be a bit more coarse.

Christiane Alain

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

I'm used to Msemen that have a lot more semolina, usually around 1 part extra fine semolina for 2 parts AP flour. BTW, I'm also a Canadian married to a Morrocca. I think there are many of us!

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

There certainly are several different ways to make them. This is just what works for me.

Sib

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Hi! You answered someone, who asked you if you meant 1/4 cup of yeast, and you said "yes". Surely, you must mean 1/4 teaspoon? 😊

Amanda Mouttaki

Thursday 9th of April 2020

I think there was an error when the recipe card transferred over. I have updated it to be the correct amount now.

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