If you ever went to a Moroccan restaurant or tasted Moroccan food, you probably noticed that a lot of dishes are served with a delicious, round leavened bread. This bread is known as khobz in Morocco but you also come across the names Kesra or Agroum. This flatbread is also available in different parts of the world too (more about this later) but in this post, we’ll focus on the traditional Moroccan khobz recipe. But first things first…
What Is Khobz?
Khobz is a type of leavened bread prepared in a round loaf. This bread is very popular in Morocco and is prepared in most homes. The main ingredients are white flour and semolina (or whole wheat). Khobz is often described as a flatbread but its texture is actually quite thicker than the average flatbread (i.e. Indian naan, pita, or injera). The thickness varies, but on average is between 1.5 and 3 cm (0.5-1 inch).
The bread has a coarse interior and is crusty on the outside because of its disk shape (that allows lots of crust), making it perfect for combining with most Moroccan dishes that are eaten by hand or a myriad of different local dipping sauces. Khobz can be found pretty much anywhere in Morocco; no matter where you travel, you’ll probably find a khobz stall on the street while exploring your new destination.
History of Khobz
This round leavened bread originates from the Middle East and today, it’s one of the most common staples of local diet in countries from the Arabian Peninsula to The Maghreb. Khobz was traditionally baked in a tandoor as recorded in the famous 10th-century Kitab al-Tabikh cookery book. The oldest dishes used for baking a similar form of this thick flatbread was discovered by archaeologists in Northern Jordan. The artifact dates back to 14,000 years ago and the bread was likely prepared with several different types of wild cereals.
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Origins & Etymology
Khobz or Khubz is just a standard Moroccan/Arabic word for bread. That’s why this same bread is known as Aish or Aish Baladi in Egypt or Agroum in Tamazight Berber. So, there isn’t a lot of symbolics behind the name of the dish. However, the traditional khobz recipe is a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine. You can find dozens of different types of bread in Morocco but khboz is perhaps the most popular one and the most omnipresent one; it’s prepared everywhere, from street food stalls, eateries, and restaurants, to people’s homes.
In Morocco, you’ll find many different variations of the khobz recipe. Every family has a slightly modified recipe (Moroccans refer to this as khobz dyal dar) and there are also some regional differences but nothing huge. However, there is a very popular thinner version of khobz known as Khobz al-tajin prepared in an earthenware pan.
In Turkey and most Arab countries, khobz (or khubz) is more of a round flatbread. It’s thinner than the Moroccan version and it puffs up while baking. Because this version doesn’t contain any additional fat, the bread dries out rather quickly and is best consumed while it’s still warm. This flatbread version is similar to Iranian nan-e barbari and Central Asian flatbreads but similar variations can also be found in some Mediterranean countries and even in the Balkans.
Finally, in Morocco, you can also find a popular variation of the khobz recipe that includes stuffing the khobz bread with grilled meats and vegetables. Honestly, it’s one of the tastiest snacks I tried in Morocco but in this post, we’ll focus only on the traditional khobz recipe.
In Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Morocco, almost every savory dish can be eaten with khobz. That means you can serve khobz with taktouka, hummus, bissara, mezes, zaalouk, different types of curries, omeletes, and other mezes.
In Moroccan culture, khobz bread is also a substitute for spoons and forks. The crust is used for scooping dips, tagines, or salads, while the soft portion of the bread is perfect for absorbing liquid sauces. This is why khobz is also great for sandwiches and its versatility is one of my favorite things about it.
In addition to this, khobz bread can also be frozen and saved for later, so don’t worry if you accidentally prepare more than what you may need. Just let it defrost for 1-2 hours, reheat it, and it will be almost as tasty as the first time!
A Few Things You May Need For This Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- 1 Cup Water
- 4 Cups White Flour
- 3 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 and ¼ Tablespoons Yeast
- 1 Teaspoon Semolina or Cornmeal (optional, for preparing the pan)
1. Line your baking sheet with some baking paper. You can brush some oil on it or sprinkle a little bit of semolina flour.
2. Take a large bowl and add the salt, flour, and sugar.
3. Make a hole in the middle and add the yeast.
4. In the middle, mix the yeast with some water. Use roughly 1/3 of the water.
5. Add the rest of the water and the oil to the bowl and start mixing.
6. Start kneading the dough for 7-8 minutes until it becomes smooth. If necessary, add a little bit of water and/or while kneading. Make sure your dough is soft but not sticky.
7. Cut the dough into two parts, cover it with a towel and let it rest for around 15 minutes.
8. Next, pat the dough into flat, round loaves, not thicker than 1/3 of an inch. Cover the dough again and let it rise for another hour.
9. Preheat your oven to 430°F (or 220°C). When the oven heats up, carefully score the top of the bread with a sharp knife in a few
10. Bake the bread until it gets a golden-brown color. At the above-mentioned temperature, this should take around 20 minutes.
11. Pair it up with delicious Moroccan curry, salad, or dipping sauce, serve, and enjoy!
Serving Size:100 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 267Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 50gNet Carbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2.1gSugar: 1.1gProtein: 7.2g
Did you ever try khobz or any other type of Moroccan bread? If so, which one is your favorite? Also, how did you like our traditional khobz recipe? If you liked it, don’t forget to leave us a rating, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you have anything to add or ask!
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