Moroccan Semolina Bread + Fig and Tahini Pinwheel Semolina Bread

This post is very special; it’s my first bread post on the blog!

I grow up in a home where we don’t buy bread, we make it, okay for the exception of the almighty baguette (because all you need with cheese  is a baguette!). I think the main reason why my parents - as well as the majority of Moroccans - have a special relationship with bread is because in Morocco, tagines are enjoyed exclusively with bread. Yes. And since the tagine is the most fundamental dish in Morocco, bread is eaten very often: on a daily basis and a couple of times a day.

I remember the first time I went to a Moroccan restaurant in London and my tagine arrived served with a side of herbed couscous. I was very surprised, okay, to be honest, I was quite shocked. Somehow, it felt wrong and I wasn’t sure if I should go ahead and just eat my tagine with the couscous or ask the waiter for some bread and not betray my cultural habits.

I ended up eating the tagine with the couscous and I loved it!!  Actually, now I enjoy most of my tagines with couscous. That said, I still have a special relationship with homemade bread and when I am in Morocco, I always look forward to dipping my mums’ bread in her tagines.

Moroccan bread is traditionally relatively thin (but not flat) and shaped into circular discs. The bread is golden and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Its consistency is ideal to allow the absorption of the sauce while eating tagines. 

My favourite Moroccan bread is semolina bread, I find that the semolina gives a deeper and richer flavour to the bread as well as an appealing caky and yellowish appearance.

While preparing the bread, I decided to use half of the dough to make a pinwheel bread and since I had some figs at home I also decided they will have to end up inside the pinwheel. I mixed the figs with tahini and the result was delicious. I tasted like a fruity and creamier version of humus, you have to try it!

The pinwheel and the bread were so good. I ate the whole pinwheel by myself in three days, okay two days. No judgement.

Enjoy!

Moroccan Semolina bread

INGREDIENTS

Serves 10 10 cm/4 inch bread rolls

  • 300 gr fine semolina (2 cups)
  • 280 gr white flour (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar + 1/4 teaspoon sugar to activate the yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml milk
  • Additional flour for kneading
  • Fine semolina for dusting the bread

METHOD

• Activate the dry yeast by adding ¼ teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and leave for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

• Meanwhile, prepare the water and milk mixture. In a large bowl place 250 ml water and 250 ml milk. Warm up in the microwave for 40 to 60 seconds until the liquids are lukewarm. Set aside.

• In a large bowl, transfer all the ingredients except the water and milk mixture. Combine all the ingredients and add the water and milk mixture progressively until you obtain a soft dough. I recommend adding 300 ml (1 ½ cup) and then adding tablespoons of water and milk mixture progressively to make sure the dough doesn’t get too moist and sticky. If it happens, add a bit of flour.

• Flour a worktop and knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until smooth and elastic.

• Divide the dough in 10 small balls and shape as circular discs.

• Place the circular discs of dough on a greased or lined baking sheet. Cover with cling film and let the dough rest for 10 minutes in a warm place.

Leave some room between the dough when placing them on a tray because you will flatten them later on and they will become larger.

• Using your hands, flatten every circle of dough to make them about 2 cm thick. Cover with a cloth or cling film and let the dough rest for 1 hour until it doubles in size.

• Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F)

• Once the dough has risen, slash its surface with a sharp knife and sprinkle the bread with fine semolina.

• Place in the warm oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Fig and Tahini Pinwheel Semolina Bread

INGREDIENTS

Makes 2 28 cm pinwheel bread

  • 300 gr fine semolina (2 cups)
  • 280 gr white flour (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250 ml water
  • 250 ml milk
  • Additional flour for kneading
  • 200 gr figs, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 ½ tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Fine semolina for dusting the bread
  • Sesame seed for decoration

METHOD

• Activate the dry yeast by adding ¼ teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and leave for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

• Meanwhile, prepare the water and milk mixture. In a large bowl place 250 ml water and 250 ml milk. Warm up in the microwave wave for 40 to 60 seconds until the liquids are lukewarm. Set aside.

• In a large bowl, transfer all the ingredients except the water and milk mixture. Combine all the ingredients and add the water and milk mixture progressively until you obtain a soft dough. I recommend adding 300 ml (1 ½ cup) and then adding tablespoons of water and milk mixture progressively to make sure the dough doesn’t get too moist and sticky. If it happens, add a bit of flour.

• Flour a worktop and knead the dough for 10 to15 minutes until smooth and elastic.

• Divide the dough in four loafs. Cover with cling film and let them rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

• Meanwhile, prepare the figs and tahini spread. Place the chopped figs, tahini and honey in a food processor and process until smooth and finely ground. Set aside.

• Roll out each loaf of dough into 28 cm circular discs with the help of a rolling pin. Adding a bit of flour on your worktop will help rolling out the dough.

• On a lined baking tray, place one of the discs of dough. Spread four tablespoons of figs and tahini mixture on the dough, leaving enough of a border to seal the it (approximately 1,5 cm/ 0.6 inch).

• Dip your fingers in water and brush around the edges of the dough. This will help sealing the dough.

• Gently place the second disc on top of the first one and lightly press to seal the edges together.

• Flour the edges of a glass and press it gently it in the center of the assembled discs. Remove the glass. This will allow leaving a mark on your dough to be able to create the pinwheel.

• With a sharp knife cut the dough in 12 to 16 equal parts. Dipping your knife in flour for each cut will help obtaining a smooth cut.

• Twist each part two or three times.

• Repeat the same process with the remaining dough loaves.

•  Cover the pinwheels with a cloth or cling film and leave to rest for 40 minutes.

•  Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

• Once the dough has risen, brush the bread with milk, decorate the center of the pinwheel with sesame seeds and sprinkle the pinwheel with fine semolina.

• Place in the warm oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.