• (الخبز المغربي (كسرى •
This traditional bread is a daily staple on the table of millions of North Africans. Wonderful for dunking into a spicy soup or sopping up the fragrant sauce of a tajine, you’ll love this easy to make recipe for Moroccan-style kesra bread.
On a recent trip to Casablanca and Marrakesh, Morocco, I had the pleasure of eating as many loaves of kesra bread as possible. It is sold everywhere at all times of the day, as it is often eaten at every meal. On one day, for example, I had it for breakfast with amlou (a spread that’s like almond butter), argan oil, and apricot jam. Lunch was lentil soup with more kesra. And for dinner, I had an aromatic vegetable tagine with even more kesra! No complaints here…I love this hearty bread!
Traditionally, anise seeds are baked into the dough for a lovely, delicate flavor. Having said that, this bread is very versatile and can be personalized to your liking. So if you’re not a fan of anise, you can add thyme, caraway seeds, or nigella seeds. Or instead, cover the top of the loaf with toasted sesame seeds, wheat germ, or chopped fresh rosemary.
This bread also freezes well, so go ahead and make more than you may need and freeze the baked and cooled loaves in plastic bags. Simply remove from the freezer and thaw on the counter for 2 hours and afterwards reheat them, if desired. Try serving it with Spiced Carrot Soup or Zaalouk (a Moroccan eggplant salad).
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm water
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- Any herbs or spices you want to knead into the dough or top the loaves with
- Whisk the yeast into the water. The water temperature should be around 105°F. Add in the olive oil and set aside.
- Combine the flours and salt in an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook. Alternatively, you can mix the dough by hand in a large bowl.
- After letting the yeast activate for 5-10 minutes, pour the water, yeast, and oil mixture into the flour mixture and blend thoroughly until you have a smooth, uniform dough--3 minutes in a mixer, 10 minutes if by hand. It shouldn't be too tacky to the touch. If it is, add more flour, 2 Tablespoons at a time. If it appears too dry, add more water, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- Remove the ball of dough from the bowl and divide it in half for two 9-inch diameter loaves or divide into quarters for four 5-inch diameter loaves. Set these divided balls of dough aside for 10 minutes to allow the gluten to rest. *If you are adding in any herbs or spices, do so now.
- After 10 minutes, on a lightly floured surface, flatten out the balls of dough into discs using your fingers, trying to preserve a circular shape as much as possible.
- Place these flattened discs onto baking sheets. If you want to add any toppings, you can do this now by sprinkling some water on the tops of the discs of dough and smearing it into the surface with your hand until tacky. Sprinkle with the toppings and press them into the dough lightly to ensure that they stick.
- Cover the baking sheets with hand towels and set aside in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, place your bread into an oven that has been preheated to 425°F.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the loaf. Cool for 15 minutes and serve.
-If you prefer your bread to remain soft rather than crusty, there's a simple trick: When the loaves come out of the oven, cover them with a dish towel and let them cool completely under it.
-If you want to add some herbs or spices to the bread, use 4 teaspoons per recipe. So if you want a whole recipe of anise seed kesra, knead in 4 teaspoons of whole anise seed right before you rest the dough balls.