Moroccan bread, also known as khobz, is a staple ingredient in any Moroccan spread and is known for its distinguishable round, flat shape. Today we are making it using 5 simple ingredients: flour, salt, sugar, oil, and yeast.
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If you've ever had Moroccan food, whether it was a tagine, lamb dish, or salad, you've probably had some variation of khobz.
Bread is an essential part of most meals in Morocco, often enjoyed using our hands and used to scoop up delicious sauces and dip into soup.
In any given city you can find proud bakers with freshly baked bread, stacked in towers, wafting the most comfortingly sweet smell.
Many older Moroccan neighborhoods, like the one my dad grew up in, have communal ovens that local families and bakers will use and share to bake bread. These impressively large clay ovens are designed to cook several loaves at once, and there is usually a local from the neighborhood tasked with managing the entire process.
Every baker and family has a slightly different recipe and way of making their bread, a big part of what makes khobz so special.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make it:
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups all purpose white flour
- 1 cup fine semolina flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- semolina flour to keep the bread from sticking while baking
See recipe card for quantities.
Add both kinds of flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil, and warm water to a large mixing bowl.
Mix everything together with your hands, adding a small splash of warm water and oil if too dry. Continue to knead until a consistent dough forms, adding oil to your hands if things get too sticky.
Rub the dough with a drizzle of oil, cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and rest for 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into fourths and roll each section into a ball. Roll each ball in semolina flour to coat.
Cover again and give the discs 15 minutes to rest. Gently flatten each ball of dough into a round, pizza shaped disc. They should be about ¼ inch in height.
Hint: for that signature Moroccan look, sprinkle some semolina on top of your loaves before baking.
Prep a baking surface (you can use a baking sheet, cast iron pan, or dutch oven) with parchment paper or a sprinkle of semolina flour to keep the bread from sticking.
Hint: poking the dough with a fork creates a vent for air to escape, creating the perfect texture and lots of holes inside the bread, also known as crumb.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F / 218 degrees C. Lightly poke the loaves with a fork. Bake each loaf in its own prepared pan, so they have enough room to rise, for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown all around. Bismillah!
Picking the Right Pan
Because this bread is traditionally baked in a clay bread oven (similar to a pizza oven), we are using a few tricks to achieve that signature crust and soft fluffy inside texture.
The first trick is an extremely hot oven (425 degrees to be exact) and using the right pan:
- Baking sheet - add chili pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish, or banana peppers
- Cast iron - the round shape of a dutch oven can make it really easy to get that signature round shape we're after. The tall walls also help to bake the bread evenly, all the way through.
- Dutch oven - again, the round shape here helps, but the size and shape also makes it difficult to bake several loaves at once.
Consider your end goal and the tools you have when deciding what pan to bake your Moroccan bread in.
If you're wanting to bake all four loaves at once, using a baking sheet may be the best route for you. If you've got time, opt for a cast iron or dutch oven as the end result benefits from the taller walls and structure of the vessel.
Prepping Your Bread Pan
Prepping our pan is important in preventing the bread from sticking. It also helps achieve the texture mentioned above.
Here are a few options available to you for prepping your pan:
- Oil - this option is convenient as we're already using oil in this recipe, and it works well! A light drizzle and quick spread around the pan you're baking in will do the trick.
- Semolina - prepping the pan with semolina mimics the Moroccan bread ovens and adds an element of nostalgia for me. It's not necessary, but earns major bonus points for being delicious and cute.
- Parchment paper - if you want to skip the oil and keep things simple, parchment paper works too.
What to Eat it With
Here are some traditional Moroccan dishes my family enjoys the most with khobz:
- Chicken Tagine with Olives - this tagine (like most tagines) makes the best sauce, that is quite literally designed to be soaked up with a torn off piece of Moroccan bread. Bonus points for using your hands.
- Zaalouk - as mentioned above, khobz is frequently enjoyed with Moroccan salads, and this eggplant dip/salad is the perfect vehicle for a freshly baked piece of bread.
- Moroccan Tomato Salad - since we're talking salads, this simple but classic tomato salad is another great one to enjoy with bread.
- Bisarra (pictured above) or Harira - these traditional Moroccan soups are usually served with fresh bread, a drizzle of olive oil, and sometimes a sprinkle of paprika.
- Lentil Salad - this lentil salad is another salad that makes an incredibly hearty and tasty meal when served with this bread.
- Shakshuka - enjoy a delicious Moroccan breakfast complete with khobz, olive oil, black olives, and eggs baked in a seasoned tomato sauce.
Moroccan bread is like many other types of bread in the sense that you can eat it with just about anything!
Get creative with it and try making a sandwich, or doing whatever you usually do with bread.
You will need some kind of baking vessel for this bread, whether you decide to use a baking sheet, a cast iron, or a dutch oven.
You will also need a large and small mixing bowl.
This bread should keep for up to one week, stored in a paper bag or bread box.
It heats up well in the oven or in a toaster, like any other kind of bread!