A few months ago, I was in Bali, following a yoga training course with wonderful yoga teachers. Bali is an incredible place, for multiple purposes: honeymoon, surf, rest as well as finding inspiration for a healthier lifestyle, through yoga, vegetarian food, etc. One day, my yoga teacher asked me whether I could recommend a good book of Moroccan vegetarian recipes. I briefly wondered if I had already seen anything helpful in this respect, but could remember none. “What a pity”, I answered; “though we have so many recipes of fresh and tasty salads, so many different ways of cooking vegetables… and also a kind of wisdom in the way we traditionally prepare and come up with balanced meals”. The idea of this blog was born.
I stayed in Ubud (Bali) for two months, and even if the food there is amazing, I must confess that, being of Mediterranean and Moroccan origin, I sometimes happened to feel a little bit nostalgic of our typical food products. Among so many of them, I was particularly longing for authentic homemade wholegrain bread with some Moroccan strong and tasty olive oil. I realized then that the essence of our cuisine might simply consist in very simple and healthy products.
Ah, the smell of homemade bread… What more welcoming and warmer smell when entering a house, as we were accustomed to not so long ago? Nowadays, if we want to smell it, we have to pass through a bakery. The bakers know very well its attractive power, so they sometimes use some artificial scents to make their products even more appealing!
As far as I can remember, families in Morocco used to bake their own bread. When I was a child, in my grandma’s house, we used to prepare the bread and then bring it to a public oven where all the bread loaves of the families in the neighborhood were cooked together. In the cities, this tradition is now threatened by the expansion of bakeries and the lack of time to be dedicated to cooking, with women working nowadays. Though there remain some of these ovens in old traditional medinas, like below.
We know, however, that the bread sold in bakeries is not exactly healthy… In fact it is not made with whole grain flours, but with “white” flour, easier to use and more appealing... A true whole-wheat flour contains the germs and the envelops of the grain, which have in it almost all the nutrients. At home, in Rabat, my parents buy it in a traditional market, where the merchant mills the grains in front of you. However, in Europe or the US, you can easily find appropriate whole-grain flour (in France, T150 is perfect).
I know that for some people wheat is something to avoid, and I will come up with other bread recipes using non-gluten flours later on. But I could not start a blog on Moroccan cuisine called Bread & Olives without presenting a recipe of wheat bread!
This is my mother’s recipe. I thank her very much; her research on low glycemic index recipes benefited us all !
Homemade Whole Grain Bread
Makes 6 to 7 bread loaves
550 g / 4.5 cups whole grain wheat flour (incl. a half cup for the kneading)
2 tbsp millet flour
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp mix thyme / oregano / sesame seeds
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
30 cl / 1 cup lukewarm water
1. Pour the flour (4 cups) in a large bowl/dish and make a groove in the middle. Add the flax seeds, the mix of herbs/sesame and the yeast in the middle. Gradually add lukewarm water and combine with hands until you obtain homogeneous dough.
Dissolve the salt in some lukewarm water, pour it over the dough and knead together until the dough comes together in a ball. Knead again for a few minutes. Cover the dough with a dry and clean cloth and let it stand for one hour.
2. Knead the dough into a French baguette shape. Cut into small slices (according to the bread size you want). Work every dough slice, first like a ball, then as a flat and circular shape to obtain small round loaves of bread. In this process, don’t hesitate to use some additional flour to easily work the paste. Place the round bread loaves in a baking sheet, and cover with a dry cloth. Let it stand for 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Pre-heat the oven 240°C / 460° F, fan-assisted if possible, or top and bottom heat. Place the dish in the oven (middle rack) and bake for 25 minutes. Turn the bread loaves to the other side at halfway baking. A little trick for a successful baking: it is better to put an empty baking tray at the top of the oven (top grill), in order to protect the bread loaves from a too powerful and direct heat.
4. When taking the bread loaves out of the oven, put them in dry clothes for the next hour in order to soften them.
Hi there! I'm Majda.
Foodie, yogini, life lover!
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