Batbout is a pan-fried Moroccan flat bread, it’s also called Mekhmar or Mkhamer in other houses.
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 have previously posted a standard recipe and presented a few ideas you can use it for.
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
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”.
The inside of a fluffy batbout
A few techniques make this flatbread one of the things my friends ask me to make it whenever I visit them. It’s soft from the inside with a contrasting tiny crust from the outside. It has a sort of a creamy taste due to the long fermentation and some elasticity due to a good kneading and a bit of olive oil introduced during the flattening process.
As far as the type of flour used, best combination (and the common one in Morocco) is to use fine semolina flour and strong white bread flour (50%- 50%) but you may use:
30% whole wheat or rye or spelt flour
40% fine semolina flour
30 % white flour
Mini-batbouts with rye, whole wheat and white flour
I generally leave a portion of my daily bread dough in the fridge for two reasons:
1/ make quick flat breads and pizzas when I need them
2/ use it in my next bread dough to replace a good portion of the industrial yeast we use in standard bread dough. I find it healthier for my digestive system but most of all, it improves my bread’s texture as well as its taste. Not to mention that it lasts longer.
I didn’t invent this method, it’s just how it’s been done before. I just add a pinch of regular yeast to give it a kick-start but the rest is just natural process of bacteria coming alive and doing its job.
I’m sending this recipe to Susan’s weekly event @ yeastspotting. Ingredients 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)
20 g butter, softened (optional)
Extra fine semolina for the work surface
Preparation 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.
Making the bread dough 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. See here or here for more details. 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
Shaping 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.
Rolling the dough and flattening it to make big batbout. Beware that using that much semolina flour makes a very crispy and dry crust as opposite to using oiled hands and surface which gives a soft batbout with a fine crust. Both options are good depending on preferences.
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
Or like this..
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!
Have you tried it? let us know and share your pictures with our community in the facebook page..
Why don’t you try out these amazing butter-rolled batbouts.
Nada Kiffa is an Expert in Moroccan cooking and her recipes are coming from a lineage of Moroccan home and professional cooks.
Cooking classes and posted articles are inspired by her family life in Morocco and elsewhere. You will learn what makes a dish Moroccan before learning how to execute it. You will also learn how to work around recipes and cut corners without missing on the flavour.
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