Kesra (Algerian Semolina Flatbread)

Kesra (Algerian Semolina Bread)

Kesra or Khobz F’tir is a fast and easy everyday flatbread. Unlike its counterpart the traditional Khobz el Dar another semolina bread, which is baked, this bread is cooked on the stove and contains no flour. Traditionally the flatbread contains no yeast and this recipe has been adapted from my husband’s cousin, Maha, whom is very dear to me. With her recipe she has sent a new bread press which makes it easier to prepare the bread. Normally the older women would press the bread with their bare hands or covered in a cloth, to create a evenly cooked flatbread. The wooden press can easily be made from basic materials at your home improvement store.

Algerian Bread Press

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups semolina four
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup room temperature water +/- (may not need all of it)

Directions:

  1. Mix together semolina, salt and yeast.
  2. Add olive oil and continue to mix until a sand texture is created.
  3. Create a well with the dough and add most of the water. Depending where you are you may need more or less water. It is always best to use less and add more if needed.
  4. You want to create a firm dough consistency, making sure to not overwork the dough.
  5. Cover and let the dough rest for 25 minutes. The dough should not rise if not at all.
  6. Divide the dough into 2-3 sections and oil the surface where you will be rolling out the dough. As this dough is a semolina dough rather than a flour dough, you will use oil rather than flour to create a nonstick surface.
  7. Heat pan over the medium heat.
  8. Roll dough out into a disc of about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in thickness.
  9. Reduce heat to medium low and place the dough on the pan. This part is the trickiest as the dough is very delicate and does not maintain its shape. Try to slide your hand under and flip onto the other hand until your initial hand is under the dough like a spatula.
  10. Quickly mark the dough with a fork in any design. Marking the dough with a fork will ensure that the dough does not rise or puff as a pita bread would.
  11. Once dough has been half cooked on one side, flip bread with spatula.
  12. Press with wooden bread press and spin bread as you press.
  13. Flip bread and press with tool. Spinning bread as you press.
  14. Serve warm with jam, soup or anything you’d like.
  15. If serving at a later time, wrap in a cloth napkin also called a tarchoona.

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