Monday, March 16, 2009

Nigella-scented Moroccan rolls

This is not a French baguette.

In truth, it is unlike any savory breads of Europe. Dense, cakey and dry, the sole purpose of this sweet and delicately-fragranced roll is to sop up the juices and sauces from a Moroccan dinner. Its use as a sponge is very effective, and makes for a really delicious accompaniment to hommous, ajvar, tzatziki, or any tagine. Pat says this is very much like the breads in Morocco - DO NOT eat this alone, but DO make it with other dishes. We had it last night with our Moroccan dinner, and it was fabulous.

Nigella-scented Moroccan Rolls
Adapted from Authentic Recipes from Morocco by Fatema Hal
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine semolina flour
1/2 tsp whole nigella seeds
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a little of the warm water and set aside.
  2. Combine the flours and the nigella seeds, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer. Using the paddle attachement, mix well (~1 minute or so).
  3. Stop the machine and make a well in the center of the flours.
  4. Add the melted butter and whole egg to the well.
  5. Use the paddle attachment to mix on the lowest setting until combined, ~45 seconds or so. Stop machine to scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula.
  6. Start the machine on the lowest setting and slowly add the yeast.
  7. Add the remaining water until the dough holds together.
  8. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on the lowest setting for 7-8 minutes.
  9. Remove from bowl and divide dough into 6 equal pieces (I use a board scraper or knife).
  10. Roll into balls, sprinkle flour over, and set to rest for 1-2 hours in a warm place.
  11. Preheat oven to 400F, or 200C.
  12. Flatten the balls of dough and place on a baking sheet.
  13. Brush tops with egg wash and prick a few times with a fork.
  14. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

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