Kesra is a Moroccan country bread that is common at every meal in the region. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and to sop up all of the delicious sauces and salads that are traditional to Moroccan and north African food. It is often used in the place of utensils. (I've also seen it referred to as hobz or khobz.)
This bread is typically prepared with a mixture of wheat flour and medium grind polenta flour (corn meal). I've also seen versions with semolina in place of the corn flour (I've tried it with both corn meal and semolina, and loved it either way).
It's easy to make, as it only requires one rise. The hardest part is determining when you have achieved the right balance of flour and water, as the dough appears to be pretty wet when you start out. Only add extra flour by the tablespoon and wait until it is incorporated. You don't want your dough to be too dry.
It can be flavored with anise, nigella, or fennel seeds for special occasions, or it can be sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds or coarsely ground polenta. You could also substitute some whole wheat flour as well as your favorite herbs.
This bread smells so amazingly good when it is baking!
This bread is wonderful fresh out of the oven and passed around prior to a dinner of a stew or tagine. It's also terrific dipped in olive oil seasoned with pepper or chile flakes. It also freezes well for later. You can simply tear off pieces, or cut it into wedges.
This month, the #BreadBakers are making yeasted flatbreads!! After the recipe, check out all 23 of the linked yeasted flatbread recipes from this wonderful group! Thank you to Mireille of The Schizo Chef for hosting this month.
Kesra - Moroccan Country Bread Recipe
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
15 ounces (3 1/2 C) unbleached all purpose flour
3 ounces cornmeal (2/3 C), plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
2 1/4 cups warm water (about 100 degrees F)
Spray oil or olive oil
Toasted sesame seeds
- Whisk the yeast, sugar, flour, cornmeal, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl if kneading by hand.
- Add the butter/oil and water, and knead for about 10 minutes by hand, or 7 minutes by mixer with the dough hook, adding flour by the tablespoon, until you have a smooth slightly sticky dough.
- Divide the dough in half and form each piece into a ball.
- Lightly oil the bottom of a half sheet pan, and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place each dough ball on the baking sheet, and pat them into disks, about 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.
- Lightly brush the tops with oil, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and about 1 inch thick, about 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to 350 degrees halfway through. The loaves should be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
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