Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Khobz Mzaweq - Moroccan Decorated Bread #BreadBakers

Khobz Mzaweg or decorated yeast bread is a specialty loaf from Morocco, so called because of the pattern created with a sharp blade, the shiny egg yolk wash and the sprinkling of both sesame and nigella seeds before baking. 

I had a friend ask me yesterday, wasn’t it kind of expensive, running this blog, buying the ingredients and then, often, giving the baked goods away? I explained that, aside from the dishes I do share, we eat everything that is baked or cooked in my kitchen, most of what you see written about here was breakfast or lunch or dinner. Also, I do make some money from the advertising you see in the lefthand column or from folks who use my Amazon affiliate links to make a purchase. But the most valuable part of this space for me is the way it stretches me to try new recipes, different ingredients and unusual methods. I belong to several food bloggers groups that post every month with themes which require me to do some research and, often, delve into other cultures or use ingredients that I may not have tried before. This is so much more than just cooking and eating and writing. It is the life long adventure of learning.

This month our Bread Bakers host Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories chose seeds as our theme. Now for Bread Bakers, any bread will do, be it yeast or sourdough or even quick bread so the options for a bread with seeds were wide open. I did a quick search online and one of the first recipes that came up was the loaf made for today’s post, khobz mzaweg. I had never heard of it before but I couldn’t resist the golden crust with the diamond pattern, scattered with seeds! But here’s the funny thing, as soon as I took the first bite, I knew I had tasted a bread like this before. Nigella seeds aside, it reminded me of the great big wonderful sesame sprinkled Italian loaves that muffuletta sandwiches are served on in New Orleans. Turns out, khobz mzaweg are often used for sandwiches in Morocco as well. Small world.

The recipe for my khobz (meaning bread) and mzaweg (meaning decorated) was adapted from this one on About.com.

Make sure you scroll on down to see the other lovely seeded breads my fellow Bread Bakers have created for you today!

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups or 315g white flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 cups or 190g fine semolina
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
2 teaspoons nigella seeds, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 oz or 7g yeast (I used one packet of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise.)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 whole egg
About 1 cup or 240ml warm water
1 egg yolk – for the egg wash

Method
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or by oiling the center. Or you can dust it with a little fine semolina. I used a silicone mat to roll mine out, then I transferred the whole shebang to the baking tray, so I skipped this step.

In a small bowl, put your yeast, sugar and a couple of tablespoons of the flour. Add in about one third of the warm water and leave to proof for about 10 minutes. If it gets all foamy, proceed with the recipe. If you have no reaction, your yeast is dead. Buy some more yeast and start again.

Foamy and we are good to go!


In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, put the balance of your flour, the semolina, the salt and the sesame and nigella seeds and mix well.



Add in the egg, the oil and the contents of your frothy yeast bowl.  Pour in the rest of the warm water.



Mix until all the ingredients are well combined and you have a soft dough.

Use the dough hook in your machine or turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface to knead until smooth and stretchy. This takes about 10 minutes. I did the kneading by hand because I sometimes find that I have to add too much extra flour to get my bread hook not to stick in the middle of a soft dough.



Shape the dough into a nice ball and place it on your prepared pan (or silicone mat.) Cover with a clean towel and leave to rest of 10-15 minutes.



After the dough has rested, press it out gently to flatten the dough into a large circle about 13 inches or 33cm across. Cover again with the towel and leave to rise about one hour in a warm place. I placed my silicone mat on the baking pan and balanced it over a sink filled with very hot water.



When your hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Whisk the egg yolk with a little water to thin it enough to brush on the dough. A teaspoon or two will usually do the trick.

Lightly score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife or a lame, which is essentially a curved razorblade with a handle. I bought my first one from King Arthur Flour a thousand years ago when they were not yet online and would send out a physical catalog. I carved my order out on stone with a chisel. Or sent them a fax. Same difference now. Seems like it’s gotten some poor reviews but I love mine!



Use a pastry brush to paint the top of the dough with the egg yolk wash.



Sprinkle on some more sesame seeds and nigella seeds to decorate.



Bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown all over and sounds hollow when tapped.



Even the bottom has a lovely color, doesn't it?

Slide it off your pan onto a wire rack to cool.



Enjoy!



After enjoying a sliver or two warm with butter, I allowed the whole thing to cool completely and I probably don't even have to tell you, because I'm sure you know, I went straight out and got my ingredients and I made a muffuletta, right?





Seeds are the beginning of most plant life but they are also the impetus for some great breads this month! Again, thanks to Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories for the great theme!


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send me an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


Little hint: If you are going to take photos on the rug, keep a sharp eye out for your helper who might suddenly appear in the viewfinder.


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1 comment:

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