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Khoubz Talien | Tunisian Style Bread Loaf

 A Tunisian bread inspired by the Italian immigrants who lived in Tunisia in the 18th century. 

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Did you know that know that there was a rather large French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish immigration in North Africa from the sixteen century to the early twentieth century?!

But this immigration had actually started much earlier. It is the Genoese who originally arrived in large numbers on the island of Tabarka in Tunisia between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century. During the sixteenth century, the Jews from Livorno, a city on the Western coast of Tuscany, started to migrate south, mainly to Tunis to work in the area which is known as La Goulette.

Immigrants kept on coming into the region, finally the French starting the "second colonial empire" by taking over Algiers. Following the post-war decolonization, Europeans, mainly the Italians and the French began to leave the country, but not before leaving their mark on the culture, and particularly the cuisine of the region!

Many can easily recognize the French influences by way of baguettes, croissants and many other foods enjoyed by Maghrebines. But the Italian and Spanish influences in Maghrébine cuisine are lesser known yet innumerable. Some of the most common recipes include La Mona, an orange scent bun Makrouna bel salsa, a variant of spaghetti bolognese with harissa, Garantita,  or Zabaglione, an iced version of the famous Italian dessert.

There is a long tradition of bread baking in from the region, that dates back to the Roman times. Besides the famous baguette mentioned above, there are numerous other breads, that have been adopted from the north.

La Mona, an orange scented sweet bread was probably adopted by Spanish  'Roscon de reyes sweet bread prepared by  Valencian immigrants for the Christian Epiphany holiday. Hanounas, on the other hand, is a braided and shaped bread that is often prepared by grandmothers for their grandchildren for Eid el Fitr. It really resembles the southern Italian Cuddura that is prepared for the Easter holiday.

Khoubz Talien, a dense durum wheat bread with lesser water content is yet another adaption of European that was brought over by immigrants. This bread's dough is that of a traditional Silician bread Mafalda. It's usually shaped into a stortella, a S-shape but the shaping resembles more of a sfilatino, which is similar to a baguette but shorter.  These bread due to their lower water content tend to have a longer shelf life.

The texture of this bread with very dense and slightly sweet, and it's the nigella seeds that give this bread a characteristic taste.

๑۞๑ Khoubz Talien contains gluten, grains, yeast and seeds. At this time, there is no gluten-free yeast version.


So let's get started with the recipe.


bread | makes about 4 loaves or 8 small

Khoubz Talien
Tunisian style  bread loaf
 A dense and slightly sweet Tunisian bread that was inspired by the Italian immigrants.


⇥ For the dough:
‣ 1 kg - 8 cups flour
‣ 2 tablespoons instant yeast
‣ 1/3 cup  olive oil or melted butter
‣ 1/4 cup sugar
‣ 4 teaspoons salt
‣ About 1-1/2 cup warm water
‣ large handful of nigella seeds

⇥ Other:

‣ 1 egg yolk + 1 TBS milk for brushing
‣ Nigella seeds, sesame seeds or poppy seeds

1 - In a small dissolve the sugar and yeast with some of the water; allow to foam for at least 10 minutes.

2 - In another large bowl, mix the salt, nigella seeds, olive oil and flour. Pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water. Stir together and then knead with your hands or a stand-mixer for at least 10 minutes.

3 - Once you have a nice mallable ball of dough, coat the ball in olive oil and allow to rise covered with a clean kitchen towel for 1 1/2 hoursn until doubled in size.

4 - Once risen, degas the dough and knead a few times with your hands. Divide the dough into 4 or 8 portions. Form into balls, then with a rolling  pin roll out into a rectangular shape. 

5 - Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and then roll the dough into a log. Brush with more olive oil and allow to rise on a parchment lined baking sheet more an additional hour.

6 - Preheat your oven to 230° C - 450° F.

7 - Prepare the egg wash mixture. Once the bread has risen gently brush the tops with the mixture then sprinkle with either Nigella seeds or any other seeds of your choice.

8 - Place a large heatproof pan of water in the oven. This allows for the bread from being too hard and dry during the baking process.

9 - Bake the bread in the oven for 10 minutes at 230° c - 450°F then lower to 190°C - 375°F for the remaining 15 minutes of baking.

    This bread can be stored on the countertop for up to 4 days in a bread bag or up to 6 months in a food storage container or up to one month in the freezer. To use, just gently heat on the stovetop.thaw out on the countertop. And additionally, toast it in the oven.

     CATEGORIES: bread, quick & easy,  Tunisian, autumn, winter, ramadan, mediteranean, north african

    adapted from 196 flavors

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     ➤ This bread would be delicious stuffed  with this Garantita chickpea tart
    ➤ Or even try these other Tunisian dishes
    ➤ Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

    What would you stuff this bread with? let us know which ones in the comments below. 

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