It might be a stretch to call this Moroccan Bread, but I wanted to try to make something that resembled what I saw on a Michael Pollan documentary that aired on Netflix.
Netflix - Cooked
As he tries his hand at baking, brewing and braising, acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan explores how cooking transforms food and shapes our world.
The episode titled Air focused on bread, wheat, etc.
Visit food labs and Moroccan fields as Pollan delves into the science of bread-making and the nature of gluten.
This post described info from the Air episode.
I found several articles and recipes that approximated Moroccan bread. I focused on this one.
For the recipe, I used:
- 250 grams of King Arthur All-purpose Flour
- 125 grams of King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
- 125 grams of Isaac Ludwig Mill Rye Flour, grown by local farmer Shared Legacy Farms. The mill is also local.
- 2 teaspoons of fine grain sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of white sugar
- 6 grams of active dry baking yeast (website said to use "fast action dried yeast")
- 325 grams of room temp water. house temp was in the mid-60s.
I followed the assembly instructions listed on the above web page, except my fermenting and proofing timings were a little longer to account for our cool house temp.
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
- Dump and knead for 10 minutes, making a fairly stiff dough ball. It reminded me of my sourdough bread starter.
- Fermented dough in a large, lightly oiled Pyrex bowl for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Instructions say to ferment in a warm place for 90 minutes. Maybe in the summer time, I would ferment for 90 minutes. But with a house temp in the mid-60s at the most, then 2-plus hours is probably better.
- Dumped dough onto lightly oiled counter and divided the dough into half, but I divided unevenly again.
- Pulled and pinched dough and shaped dough into two balls.
- Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes.
- Covered two baking trays with parchment paper.
- From the website: "Place a ball of dough on each baking sheet. Using the palm of your hand, flatten each out into a disk around 7” wide." One of mine was at least 8 inches in diameter.
- I covered each dough disk with plain, unroasted sesame seeds. I pushed the seeds into the dough. Then I put olive oil on the dough.
- Covered each tray with plastic and let them proof for about 75 minutes.
- Preheated oven at 465 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Prior to baking, I used a lame (razor blade) to slash the dough. Next time, I might puncture the dough with a fork a few times.
- I placed both trays into the oven at the same time. One rack was on the second level from the top. The other rack was on the fifth level from the top.
- I lowered the oven temp to 450 degrees after placing the trays into the oven.
- After 15 minutes, I rotated the trays horizontally and vertically, moving the top one down and the bottom one up and moved the back of each tray to the front.
- After 25 minutes, I removed the bread from the oven and placed them on a cooling rack.
Next time, I need to add salt with the olive oil and sesame seeds, right before proofing. I like the sesame seed flavor, but it's not necessary. Actually, a lot of olive oil and salt on top of the dough is unnecessary too, in my opinion. It's not focaccia.
I liked this quick bread. I dipped the pieces into olive oil. Sometimes, I dipped the bread into olive oil and then into coarse sea salt. I ate tomato soup, and I dipped the bread into the soup. Since it's more plain than focaccia, it can be used for more purposes, in my opinion.
Even though this bread was 50 percent whole grain, I did not taste a lot of whole grain flavor. For some reason, this locally grown and locally milled rye flour is very mild tasting.
It might be interesting to see if I can adapt this recipe to use a poolish, like with the focaccia, although that extends the time it takes to make the bread.
Moroccan families make multiple loaves of this round, flatish bread every day. They use the bread like we might use a fork or a spoon to scoop up their food. I inferred that they eat bread often with most meals, which is my style of eating.
The focaccia bread that I made on Wednesday of last week was gone by Thursday evening. I'm guessing that this bread will be gone by tomorrow. I need to make bigger batches to have bread longer than 24 to 30 hours.
Even my 100 percent whole grain sourdough bread only lasts a few days.
This photo shows one of the dough disks after proofing and before I slashed it and placed the tray in the oven.
The instructions said to bake for 30 minutes or until brown. I probably could have let the bread bake a little longer than 25 minutes, but I liked the color.
I tried to add a little olive oil on the bread after it came out of the oven, but that proved difficult because I knocked off the sesame seeds, therefore I halted adding more olive oil. I'll save the olive oil for focaccia. In the future, I'll use little to no olive oil for this bread.
It's flatish, which is how it appeared in the documentary. The real Moroccan versions, however, were not slashed. Maybe they pricked the dough with a fork.
This quick bread was good enough to satisfy a bread craving to eat as a snack with olive oil or to dip into soup.