We are lucky to have two Moroccan shops in Walthamstow – Maghreb on Hoe Street and Bella Halal Butchers on the High Street. Both have good butchers and make their own merguez sausages; chicken, lamb or beef, all products are halal. Last week I was surprised and endeared by the owner of Maghreb telling me to pay him later when I didn’t think I had enough cash on me and they only take card payments over £10.
I’ve chosen to serve Moroccan food for my Supper Club so wanted to try a variety of different breads to go with a spicy pumpkin soup. This week inspired by Paul Gayler’s book ‘World Breads’ I decided to try Spiced Moroccan Kesra – this is a wheat and cornmeal loaf made with herbs and spices perfect for tearing and sharing.
I’m proud of how well the bread turned out, have some other ones to try but Kesra might make a guest appearance!
For two loaves
550g Canadian strong white bread flour
100g fine cornmeal
1tsp course ground sea salt
450ml warm water
2 x 7g sachets fast acting yeast
a pinch of fresh saffron
½ tsp harissa paste
3 tsp freshly grated root ginger
1-2 tsp sugar
1½ tbsp sunflower oil
a sprinkle of Ras al Hanout spice (powder)
2 tbsp rolled oats or bulgar wheat or sesame seeds
- Mix in a large bowl the flour, cornmeal and salt. Make a well in the middle
- In a jug measure out 350ml of warm water (hand hot) and add the yeast, saffron, harissa, ginger and sugar. Leave it for a few minutes as the yeast starts fermenting
- Add the yeasty mixture and the oil to the flour and start mixing together. Gradually add the remaining 100ml of warm water until you have a smooth but sticky ball of dough
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead vigorously for 5 minutes. It was a light dough so this was quite easy.
- Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour as it doubles in size
- Next turn out the dough on to the floured surface again and gently knock back the dough to expel the air. Lightly knead for the second time then split the dough and shape into 2 round loaves
- Place each loaf on a greased baking tray, cover again and leave to rise for another 45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 6
- Spray the loaves with water and then cover with your chosen topping – I used rolled oats and was happy with the results but I’m not sure how Moroccan this was
- Sprinkle with Ras al Hanout powder for colour and added kick – you could use chilli flakes instead or skip this entirely
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. If you can wait, leave them to cool before slicing or tearing into; eat with soup, dips or stews and tagines.