Moroccan Bread

As far as I’m concerned, the best Moroccan bread is light and fluffy on the inside, with a fairly crisp crust coated in polenta and studded with sesame seeds. It’s somewhere in between a flatbread and a yeasted bread, the perfect bread for mopping up a sweet, rich tagine, or alongside any Moroccan dish.

Finished Moroccan bread
Finished Moroccan bread

I’ve played around with a few different recipes, so, whilst this probably isn’t the most authentic Moroccan bread recipe out there, it’s definitely the one I’m the most happy with. It only has one bulk ferment/proof, and rises mainly in the oven whilst baking.

Moroccan_dinner
Moroccan bread with cucumber and olive salad, and beef and apple tagine

Moroccan Bread makes one large flatbread

  • 7g instant yeast
  • 190g lukewarm water
  • 65g lukewarm milk
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 6g salt
  • 1tbsp polenta
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  1. Mix together the yeast, flours, salt and the liquids. Combine and autolyse for 20 minutes. The autolyse is optional, but makes the kneading easier.
  2. Knead for 8-10 minutes until soft and springy.
  3. Gather the dough into a ball and roll around in the polenta. Flatten to a disc, mist top with water or brush with extra milk, and cover in sesame seeds.
  4. Proof for one hour, or until the dough is lightly risen. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  5. Slash the bread in a couple of places and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for half an hour before serving.
moroccan_dough
Flattened to a disc, the dough will rise for around an hour.
The open crumb is a result of the wet dough
The open crumb is a result of the wet dough
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Cachapas

Cachapas are a Venezuelan corn flatbread, which are often stuffed with slow cooked meat or cheese. We first encountered them, not in Venezuela, but in a pop-up food stall in Camden Market, London. Since trying them, several years ago, we have been trying to perfect a recipe that does these delicious yellow flatbreads justice. The recipe here is a combination of a few recipes from the internet and a lot of experimentation, with the final recipe perfected (at least we think so) by my wife late last year.

Egg and polenta - just two of the ingredients that we experimented with
Egg and polenta – just two of the ingredients that we experimented with

Instead of the slow cooked meat or stringy, mozzarella-like cheese we tend to go for a filling of cottage cheese and a peppery tomato sauce, finished off with coriander, lime and avocado. The result is very similar to those first cachapas we ate in London, albeit slightly thicker and more suited to eating from a plate than rolled up in a piece of greaseproof paper. Over the course of our experiments we have tried plain flour, corn flour, polenta, fresh corn, tinned corn, and just about every variation on the quantities of liquids. This is what we came up with:

Cachapas with tomato and pepper sauce serves 2

Sauce

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers
  • 2 tbs hot water
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt and pepper

Cachapas

  • 400g tin corn, drained, or 2 fresh corn cobs
  • 3 heaped tbs plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup polenta
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • 2tbs cottage cheese
  • small knob of butter and 1/2 tbs olive oil, for frying
  • avocado, sliced, to serve
  • coriander leaves, to serve
  • lime wedges, to serve
  1. Combine all of the cachapas ingredients except the oil and butter in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. For the sauce, cook the onion, garlic and chilli in olive oil over a medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the tomato paste, peppers, paprika and water. Stir and season. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan. Pour out the cachapas mix and spread evenly with a spatula.
  5. Cook cachapas mix for 5 minutes, then spread cottage cheese over the top. Place under a grill on high. Grill for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from grill, divide in half and serve with sauce, avocado, coriander leaves and lime wedges.
Cachapas with tomato and pepper sauce
Cachapas with tomato and pepper sauce