Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tunisian Spiced Barley Bread

Rustic in origin, this is not a bread meant to be eaten alone but rather more like a rusk used to flavor or thicken a soup/stew. Served crumbled into the most modest of modest soups, this bread elevates the complexity level thanks to the rich flavoring of the barley, caraway and fennel.

This particular recipe also illustrates the very Tunisian trait of making something, and then tearing it up to use the pieces to make something anew.

Also, since traditionally ovens were a luxury, if you find yourself without one, just toast the dough over a dry skillet on both sides.


1 tsp yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 cup barley flour (substitute with "millet flour")
1 cup fine semolina flour
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp salt
olive oil


Start with the dry yeast and the sugar, and some warm water (not hot water!)

After 15 mins, the mixture should start bubbling telling you that the yeast are alive.

Add the barley flour, semolina flour, salt, caraway and fennel seeds (all seen.) Add water a small amount at a time, and knead to a ball of dough. The dough will be soft but pliable.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and rotate the dough to cover it all over. Cover it with a plastic sheet and let it rise for at least 2 hours.

The dough after two hours.

Lay the dough on a piece of foil, and flatten gently with your fingertips till you get a flat round. Preheat the oven to 425F and let the dough sit for at least another 30 minutes while the oven heats. Score the dough with a knife as shown so that you can break it along those lines.

Bake the bread for 30 minutes. Here's the final outcome. Break the bread along the scored lines.

The Spiced Flatbread

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