Moroccan barley galettes: Harcha d’ chaiir
If making bread gives you headache, this healthy version is the right thing for you!
Barley bread or flat galette is a common thing across Morocco. Barley happens to be one of the healthiest option one has when diabetes is lurking around. With a little slice, you get a feel of satiety as opposed to whole wheat or white flour!
I made barley bread during all my pregnancy because I suffered from gestational diabetes and I was able to manage my sugar blood levels most of the time while still enjoying bread.
Mehrach or Barley bread in Moroccan street food
When I was little, I recall my father bringing barley bread for breakfast and heat a mixture of honey and olive oil, then dip a slice until it’s fully soaked and almost caramelized. It was such a treat along with a good glass of hot mint tea!
Unfortunately, most of the barley bread found sold in different stalls across Morocco seems to be mixed with regular white flour. The real deal is still there but only a few offer both options..
Barley bread or harcha are easy to make because you just need to mix and let proof, shape and let proof then bake. No kneading required. Harcha won’t need a second proofing and gets instantly pan-fried so it’s even less headache!
Barley has low GI
Since barley won’t develop a gluten network after kneading, so there is no need to do so. The only thing is that you will have to deal with a sticky dough and get your hands dirty as you will be dealing with a 80% hydration dough . No need to worry because you can use a food processor to mix and grease your hands with olive oil or water while shaping.
While the bread is freezer-friendly, the harcha galette is not and it needs to be eaten the same day or you won’t be enjoying it that much..The galette is thinner than the bread, so it might have something to do with it. I tend to freeze some, get them through microwave for a few seconds, split them and off to the panini maker or toaster.
Handling barley flour and grits
|Another classic combo for a Moroccan breakfast: barley bread, olive
oil and jben cheese
Makes 12+ mini rolls or 15 mini-harcha galettes
Prep 10 min- proofing: 2-4hrs – baking: 20 min
- 300g small barley grits/semolina/tchicha
- 200g barley flour
- 20 g for fresh yeast or 10 g of instant dried yeast(you could replace with a ratio of sourdough)
- Enough water to cover the barley grits (see recipe to understand the logic of work)
- 1 tbps of salt
- 2 tbsp of cumin seeds (not needed for harcha)
- 2 tbsps of olive oil
Finishing and shaping
- 200 g of barley grits for rolling
- 2 tbsp of olive oil or a small bowl of water
|Some harcha-smiley faces’ with olives for the children
(using a smiley’ pancake pan)
Eat harchas the same day while you can keep extra barley bread in the freezer. Toast it or oven-heat it later on.