Barley grits (belboula in Moroccan Arabic) are used to make this traditional Moroccan bread (khobz). Dense, chewy and crusty, it's best served for scooping up tagines, salads and other Moroccan dishes. If you'd prefer a lighter bread, replace one cup of the barley grits with white or wheat flour, adjusting water as necessary to achieve a nice consistency to the dough.
Toasted cumin seeds are optional, but add traditional flavor.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting and rising time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes
Yield: Two 9" loaves or four 5" loaves
- 2 1/4 cups white flour
- 2 cups fine barley grits
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, lightly toasted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- barley grits for dusting the loaves
Mix the flour, barley grits, sugar, salt and cumin seeds in a bowl. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the yeast.
Add the oil and the water to the well, mixing to dissolve the yeast first, and then stirring the entire contents of the bowl to incorporate the water into the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not too sticky. Continue kneading for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough into two or four portions, and shape each portion into a smooth circular mound. Lightly roll each loaf in loaf in barley grits, and place onto baking sheets. Cover the dough with a towel, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
After the dough has rested, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into circles about 1/4" thick. Cover again with a towel, and leave to rise for about two hours, until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
Preheat an oven to 435°F (225°C).
Lightly score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife, or poke the dough with a fork in several places. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.