This Mahrash Moroccan Bread is characterized by a round, somewhat-flat shape, and a slightly coarse texture. The disc shape of allows for lots of crust on this Mahrash Moroccan Bread, which is ideal for dipping and scooping up tagines, salads, and other Moroccan dishes. Many Moroccans will remove and discard the soft interior from thicker loaves of bread to use just the crust for scooping up foods.
Bread (knobz) is both the plate and the fork where communal eating takes place. In Morocco, diners surround the Tagine using bread to scoop the food and absorb the sauces in Moroccan cuisine.
A Tagine is a casserole or stew traditionally cooked over a smoldering charcoal fire in a two-piece, cone-shape, earthenware vessel, which is also called a tagine and from where the dish gets its name. Tagine dishes come in many combinations such as beef with prunes, chicken with preserved lemon, and lamb with dates.
Check out What’s Cooking America’s Travels in Tangier, Morocco where we first tasted this wonderful Mahrash Moroccan Bread.
- 2 cups fine semolina flour*
- 1/2 cup barley grits**
- 2 cups flour (all-purpose)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoons sugar (granulated)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
- 1 to 1/2 cups milk, warmed
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- Additional flour (for kneading)
- Fine or coarse semolina or cornmeal for dusting the loaves
In a large bowl, mix together the semolina, barley grits, flour, salt, cumin, and sugar. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
In a small bowl add the olive oil, warm milk, and yeast; stir to dissolve the yeast. Once yeast is dissolved pour the liquid yeast mixture into the well of the flour mixture and mix well, using your clean hands if necessary.
Knead the dough on a floured surface, adding water or flour as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Test by poking a finger into the dough, if your finger comes out clean and the dough bounces back immediately you have the right consistency. If you finger comes back with sticky with dough you need to add a small amount of flour and knead and test again. Once you reach the desired consistency, 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 round. Place onto lightly-oiled baking pans and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
After the dough has rested, flatten the dough into circles about 1/4-inch thick. Dust the top of each loaf with some fine or coarse semolina and the sesame seeds and anise seeds, gently pressing the grains and seeds so they stick to the dough. Cover the loaves with a towel or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise about 1 hour or longer, or until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
Oven Rising: Sometimes I use my oven for the rising. Turn the oven on for a minute or so, then turn it off again. This will warm the oven and make it a great environment for rising bread. If you can not comfortably press your hand against the inside of the oven door, the oven is too hot. Let it stand open to cool a bit.
Cool or Refrigerator Rise: If I don't have the time to wait for the rise to finish or I know that I will be interrupted before the completed rise, I do a cool rise. A cool rise is when the dough is place in the refrigerator and left to rise slowly over night approximately 8 to 12 hours . I usually do this after the first rise and the dough has been shaped into a loaf.
When ready to bake, preheat an oven to 435 F. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Pierce the dough with a fork in several places before baking. Place on a baking pan dusted with cornmeal or covered with a silpad.
Remove from oven and place the loaves on a wire rack until cooled. Let the baked loaves cool at least 30 minutes before cutting (this is because the bread is still cooking while it is cooling).
Makes 2 bread rounds.
* Semolina - Semolina flour is made from durum wheat, the hardest type of wheat grown. This flour has a sandy texture and is also know as pasta flour.
** Barley Grits - When barley kernels are cut into several pieces, they become grits. Read the label carefully: grits from hulled or hulless barley are whole grain, but grits created by cutting up pearl barley are not considered whole grain.
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