Algerian Khobz El Dar -- Semolina Bread

Total Time
2hrs 35mins
Prep
2 hrs
Cook
35 mins

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.

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. Grease a large round metal tin / pan (approx 12" across / wide & 1.5" high / deep).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. After 30 minutes, mix in the nigella seeds if using then with wet hands bring the dough together in a ball.
  7. Place the dough in the greased pan & with wet hands, gently push the dough until it completely covers the base of the pan.
  8. Sprinkle a little semolina over the top, cover with a kitchen towel & leave to rise until doubled in size.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  10. 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).
  11. Place in the upper 1/3 of the oven & cook for approx 35 minutes or until a deep golden colour & sounding hollow when tapped.
  12. 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.