This is the traditional bread of every home in Algeria, hence it's name which transaltes into English as 'Bread of the House'. Every home has a different version & this particular recipe is from my lovely sister in law 'Um Youcef' ;) Just a word of warning, if you have never made this kind of bread before, you will be shocked at how sticky & hard to work with the dough is. Unlike a regular bread, when your dough is too sticky you may add more flour - here adding more flour or semolina will make things worse...instead add a little water & knead gently with your fingertips . Water will always make the dough come together & away from your hands & the mixing bowl. You can also knead the dough in a KA or similar mixer with a sturdy dough hook.
- 3 1⁄2 cups fine semolina (my cups hold 12oz, fluid)
- 1 1⁄4 cups strong white bread flour
- 2 cups water, room temp. plus extra
- 4 fluid ounces sunflower oil (or vegetable, canola etc.)
- 7 g fast action yeast
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten
- 2 -3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (optional)
- Grease a large round metal tin / pan (approx 12" across / wide & 1.5" high / deep).
- Place the semolina, flour, yeast, sugar & salt in a very large mixing bowl. (In Algeria we traditionally use huge but shallow wooden bowls for mixing doughs.)
- Make a well in the centre & add the beaten egg & the oil along with 1 cup of water. Mix well, adding more water when necessary.
- Keep mixing until you have a soft dough. Now knead the dough for around 30 minutes until it is soft, smooth & elastic. You will need to add a little water from time to time as the semolina absorbs it.
- If you are having problems with a very sticky dough, don't worry - if you've used the correct amounts of ingredients, everything will be OK - just keep kneading & add dribbles of water to bring the dough back together again.
- After 30 minutes, mix in the nigella seeds if using then with wet hands bring the dough together in a ball.
- Place the dough in the greased pan & with wet hands, gently push the dough until it completely covers the base of the pan.
- Sprinkle a little semolina over the top, cover with a kitchen towel & leave to rise until doubled in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Brush the top of the dough with the egg yolks & sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Using a skewer, make 6 pricks -going all the way through the dough - 5 evenly spaced holes 1" from the edge & 1 hole in the centre (This will make sure that the bread cooks evenly).
- Place in the upper 1/3 of the oven & cook for approx 35 minutes or until a deep golden colour & sounding hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven & allow to cool for 5 minutes bfore turning out onto a kitchen towel. Wrap the bread in the towle & allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.