This is a smaller version of the straightforward and fairly standard, slightly domed loaves
found throughout the country. Serve the bread, or another bread, with every savory
recipe in the book. For a celebratory variation that is especially popular during Eid
al-Adha festivities to accompany lamb dishes, blend 1 teaspoon orange flower water and
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds into the dough.
33⁄4 cups/500 g all-purpose flour
11⁄2 Tbsp/20 g firmly packed fresh baker’s yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup/240 ml plus 1 Tbsp warm water
Cornmeal or coarse semolina for sprinkling
In a large mixing bowl or gsâa, sift in the flour
and form a dome with a well in the top. In a small
bowl, dissolve the yeast and salt in the water.
Gradually add to the flour, working the dough
into a compact ball.
Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured
surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes until
supple, elastic, and slightly tacky to the touch.
Divide the dough into two even pieces and
roll into slightly flattened balls. Lightly dust the
tops with flour. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth
and let rest for 10 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or
lightly flour the sheet. Transfer the loaves to the
prepared sheet, spacing them at least 2 in/5 cm
apart. With the palm of a hand, flatten to about
1 in/2.5 cm thick. Lightly dust the tops with flour,
if needed. Cover the loaves with a clean kitchen
cloth and then with plastic wrap, and leave in
a warm place to rise for 1 hour. The loaves are
ready when the dough springs back after it is
very lightly poked with a finger.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C/gas
mark 4.
Firmly prick the loaves five or six times with
the tines of a fork, and sprinkle with cornmeal,
if desired. Bake until golden and hollow sounding
when tapped, about 25 minutes. Rotate the
pan halfway through baking. Cool the loaves on
wire racks. Once completely cooled, store in a
cloth bag until ready to serve. To keep longer
than a day, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil
and freeze.