بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Bread is considered in the Islamic culure to be a direct gift from Allah or God as HE is called in Arabic. Bread is held in such high regard in the Maghreb that it is said that if a piece of bread is found lying on the floor, it is immediately picked up. Even old stale bread is treated with respect, being used in recipes, soaked in warmed milk for breakfast and collected communal for animal feed.
Bread is a blessing and is put respectively on a table at almost meal here in Algeria. It's used a scoop to sop up sauces and sometimes even used to dab the sauces off faces and fingers! :D
There are many types of breads available in the Grand Maghreb - leavened and unleavened, sweet or savoury but none as more ubiquituos as the homemade flatbread Khoubz el Dar or Matlouh. While many in this modern age, buy even this homemade bread from outside, during the Ramadan many cooks take the time to knead and bake their own.
Today I'd like to share a favourite bread of mine from the archives that I've talked about before. A specialty bread of Tipaza that filled with fragant Mediterranean olives that is baked every Ramadan in the bakeries in my town. Many special order their loaves or even wait in long lines to get a loaf or two of this Tipazienne specialty. But today none of you will have to special order or wait around since I'm going to share this bread with you all --- and hopefully you' ll prepare it for your families this upcoming Ramadan.
Algerian Olive Bread
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 5 cups strong bread flour (I used whole wheat)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 TBS dry yeast like SAF
- 2 tsp salt
- ¼ cup - 80ml extra virgin olive oil
- 180g - 1 cup pitted mixed olives-chopped
- 3 tsp Zata'ar or Herbes d'Provençes or oregano
- a handful of whole mixed olives for decor (green, black, violet, Kalamata, pink)
- sesame seeds
- Nigella seeds (habet el baraka-sanoudj)
- semolina (for coating the outside, optional)
DEVELOP the yeast in a little water; allow to rest for 5-10minutes.
SIFT the flour then mix with the yeast, flour, oil, most of the seeds and 2 tsp of the zata'ar (or oregano) in a large bowl. Slowly add in the water in the bowl to obtain a homogenous dough. You may need less or more water depending on the absorption of your flour.
KNEAD vigorously for 10minutes to get the gluten going in the bread. Spread a little dab of olive oil on top of the dough; the cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 45minutes in draft free space.
PUNCH down and knead in the pitted chopped olives. Divide the dough into 2 portions.Form into 2 uniform balls, then flattened into disks.
PLACE on clean kitchen towels or parchment paper.
BRUSH the disks with olive oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and zata'ar. And then arrange the remaining whole olives on the disks. Optionally you can coat the outside of the bread with semolina, if you like for a bit of crunch.
COVER with towel and allow to rise for 30-45minutes.
MEANWHILE, preheat your oven to 220°C or 450°F.
AFTER the final rising, transfer the breads to a flat tadjine, pizza stone in your oven or onto a heavy baking sheet. Bake the breads in 200° oven for 30 minutes or until hallow when tapped and golden on top.
Serve with your favourite tadjine, soup or stew.
Leftover bread, wrap up tightly or freeze. To use again, simply place in a oven to reheat for 5minutes or lessLeftover bread can be used for savoury French toast (pain perdu), stratas, bread pudding, croutons, savoury crumbles and bread coating.
Another way to shape this olive bread is to make mini flatbreads or form buns by rolling the dough into balls, placing them into buttered muffin tins, and then placing a olive on top of each before baking.
When I orginally posted this recipe I sent this bread toTaste of the Pearl City's Iftar Moments event since traditionally this bread is prepared citywide where I live during Ramadan.
Please visit Oum Mymoonah's deliciously presented blog for so many dishes and the round-up!
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