Moroccan flatbread called batbout (Mkhamer)
Batbout is a pan-fried Moroccan flat bread, it’s also called Mekhmar or Mkhamer in other houses.
Today’s batbout recipe is the one I make when I’m not in a hurry. It requires time to proof so basically you can vacate to your daily tasks at that time. Why I do that? It’s as if you ask about the diference between a a good 36 hours baguette and a 3 hours one: The difference is huge in taste, in texture and in the “shelf life”.
|My batbout with semolina flour, white and corn flour (yellow not cornstarch). this is the standard thickness of large batbout (they come even larger)|
I can never have enough batbout in my freezer. I have them in small and medium size. They’re handy for quick sandwiches, mini-pizza (yes) or just to accompany a tagine or even a curry.
|Using split batbout to make quick pizza|
- 30% whole wheat or rye or spelt flour
- 40% fine semolina flour
- 30 % white flour
|Mini-batbouts with rye, whole wheat and white flour|
Makes approx 20 +13 cm batbout (depending on size)
Prep: 30 min- Resting time: 2 hrs + 16 hrs +1 hr – Cooking: 3-4 min/unit
- 350 g strong white bread flour
- 350g fine semolina flour (coarse flour)
- 300 g old bread dough (*)
- 1 leveled tbsp salt
- 1 tsp of fresh yeast or 1/2 tsp of instant dried yeast
- 350 ml water, lukewarm (or 280 ml warm water + 70 ml buttermilk or whey)
- A spoonful of butter, softened (optional)
- Olive oil
- Extra fine semolina for the work surface
Using old dough
- A few hours before mixing the bread dough, take the old one from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature for a few hours. Keep it covered at all times.
- Cut it into cubes and add 1/4 of the warm water intended for this recipe to slightly liquefy this old dough. Use a whisk or just your fingers to perform this step.
- If you don’t have an old dough, make a sort of poolish: Mix 170 g of flour with 170 ml of water and the yeast. Stir to combine and set aside in a covered container and at room temperature for 6 to 12 hours.
- Mix al dried ingredients, the liquified old dough, 2/3 of the liquid needed for the recipe and proceed the same way as making any bread with yeast. You need to knead the dough very well. A food processor can be used. Again, do not add all the water in one go because flours have different absorption ratios. add it as you go and once the previous liquid added has been absorbed.
- The dough needs to be soft and elastic.
- Once the dough has been kneaded, oil your hands, scrape off all the dough and form a dough ball. Place it in a bowl. cover and leave it to double in size.
|The dough is tacky but once you oil your hands it will be easy to handle.
1/ dough after kneading, 2/ after proofing, 3/ after degazing
- Grease your hands with olive oil. Divide dough into 40-80 g balls and roll them to have a smooth round surface. I make small ones as well so it’s difficult to tell how many balls you can get.
- I prefer to grease the surface with oil to have a soft crust with a tiny crust but you can dust the surface with fine semolina flour, you will get an even crispier outside. It’s totally up to you.
Tip: if the bread is for the same day, you can roll it in the fine semolina flour. If you want to keep it outside a freezer for a few days, just handle the sticky dough with olive oil both in your hands as well as the surface.
- Flatten the dough to 2-3 mm thick while giving it a 1/4 turn at each time. This way you will make sure it won’t stick at the bottom (a batbout spoiler) but also to get a nice round-shape.
- Place all the flattened mkhamer over a dusted kitchen towel and cover with a couple of towels. Let them proof for another 30 min.
- Over medium heat, slightly heat a heavy pan/griddle. Grease it with a few drops of oils and start pan-frying the first mekhmar. Adding these drops of oil is totally optional but it gives those “fried” spots which makes the whole batbout tastes even better. Actually, some regions make the difference between batbout and makhmar with this addition of oil in the pan; It is batbout if no oil has been added, it will be mkhamer if it’s the other case.
- Each batbout relatively takes up to 2 min by side (make sure you flip every 20 seconds). They’re done when they look like this..
|A thin batbout, “breathing” the steam out after I opened it|
|Thick batbout with a crispy crust and pillowy inside. I personally do not like very thick batbout
so this one is just about right.
- Once a batbout is out of the pan, make a slit and let the steam escape then place it in a kitchen towel. Cover loosely while they’re still hot.
- Serve batbouts warm or at room temperature .You may as well freeze this bread and warm it another day.
- When I make small batbouts, I just pop them out of the freezer and place them right away in a toaster..They go back to their original texture in no time and no need to thaw them. Very convenient!