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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Baking a Moroccan Holiday Bread Using a Sourdough Starter (alternatives given)

This bread is incredibly tasty due to the use of various seeds both in the dough and sprinkled on top. It is a little heavier in texture than many another bread. This is as a result of the use of polenta in the dough. However, since the polenta makes up such a small percentage of the flours added, the bread can certainly not be called too heavy. Truly a brilliantly beautiful bread to eat.

Add 2,5 cups (625 ml) white bread flour and 0,5 cups (125 ml) yellow maize flour (polenta) to a bowl. Polenta is not readily available in South Africa. In that case I suggest you find any maize (papmeel) and add that to the bread. Try to avoid a very fine grain maize.

Add a teaspoonful (5 ml) salt to the flours.

Add a teaspoonful of each of the following seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, lentil seeds and sesame seeds. Don't get too stressed of you can't find all of these seeds. Just use what you have. It will affect the taste, but it the final product will still be tasty as long as you add some seeds.
Option 1: If you are using Instant dry yeast, add a packet to the dry ingredients and mix it in.

I had two little visitors on hand who insisted on helping. Mix all the dry ingredients well.

Measure half a cup (125 ml) milk and 1/2 cup (125 ml) water. Heat so both are lukewarm.
Option 2: If you are using Active Dry Yeast, sprinkle a packet on the lukewarm water and allow it 10-15 minutes to develop.

If you are using a sourdough starter, add half a cup (125 ml) to the lukewarm milk and water mixture and then add the liquids to the dry ingredients.

My helper stirred everything to bring the dough together.

When it got too tough, I took over and kneaded the dough into a ball by hand.

I was then forced to divide the dough in two and allow each of my helpers a chance to knead the dough as well.

This proved to be great fun, but it is of course a step you may skip at your leisure.

Eventually the dough balls were released back into my custody and I formed it into one big ball again. Oil a bowl and roll the ball in the bowl so it is is oiled on all sides as well.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise in a warm dry place.

Once risen the dough must be knocked back.

My helpers and I went swimming while waiting for the dough to rise, but they were not yet lacking in enthusiasm.

While your assistant is kneading the dough, you can prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray and sprinkle a little flour on the sheet as well. I opted to move a little away from a true Moroccan style bread, and used a bread tin instead. This was simply because it was a special request from my mom.

Normally you would shape the bread like this and then place it on a bake sheet to rise again.

Mine went into the bread tin. Brush the bread with water.

Sprinkle the same seeds that you put inside the bread generously on top as well.

Cover with plastic and allow to rise.

Once risen, the dough will almost have doubled in size.

Sprinkle the dough with water again.

Place in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30-35 minutes and bake until you hear a hollow sound when you tap against the bread.

Turn the baked bread out on a wire rack to cool down. I recommend covering the hot bread with a damp tea towel to prevent the crust from becoming hard.

Slice thinly and serve with spreads or cheese or perhaps some cold meats.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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