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Studded with sesame, flax and fennel seeds, Houda Mehdi’s khobz is tender and flavorful
Milk Street Bowtie Moroccan Flatbreads (Khobz)

Moroccan Flatbreads (Khobz)

Appears in March-April 2022

2 hours 20 minutes active, plus cooling

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Moroccan Flatbreads (Khobz)

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Khobz is a Moroccan yeasted flatbread that isn’t truly flat. It’s a low, small, pleasantly dense round loaf present at almost every meal and, being the daily bread, is typically quite plain in flavor. But the bread that home cook Houda Mehdi showed us how to make in her kitchen in Fes, Morocco, was fantastically flavored with sesame, flax and fennel seeds, as well as semolina and wheat bran. Hers was the most delicious khobz we tasted during our time in Fes. We adapted her recipe, adding a small measure of olive oil for a slightly more tender crumb and to lend a little richness, and we baked our breads in a 475°F oven. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to two days; to reheat, wrap the bread in foil and warm in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Makes three

7-inch loaves

Tip

Don’t add all of the all-purpose flour at the outset. Only 390 grams (3 cups) is combined with the semolina, wheat bran, seeds, salt and yeast; the remainder is added only after the dough has rested for 20 minutes. Withholding some of the all-purpose flour and resting the dough allows the semolina and wheat bran to hydrate, which results in a more manageable dough and better-textured baked crumb.

2 hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

618 grams (4¾ cups) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more as needed and for dusting
202 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) semolina flour
30 grams (½ cup) wheat bran
56 grams (⅓ cup) sesame seeds, toasted
80 grams (½ cup) flax seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon table salt
2 1/2 cups warm water (110°F)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
Ingredients
  • 618

    grams (4¾ cups) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more as needed and for dusting

  • 202

    grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) semolina flour

  • 30

    grams (½ cup) wheat bran

  • 56

    grams (⅓ cup) sesame seeds, toasted

  • 80

    grams (½ cup) flax seeds

  • 1

    tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed

  • 1

    tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1

    teaspoon table salt

  • cups warm water (110°F)

  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet

Directions
  1. 01
    In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix 390 grams (3 cups) of the all-purpose flour, the semolina, wheat bran, sesame seeds, flax seeds, fennel seeds, yeast and salt on low speed until well combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the water and oil. Mix on low until the dough comes together, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. 02
    With the mixer running on low, add the remaining 228 grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 7 minutes; if the dough is sticky and clings to the sides of the bowl, knead in additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the proper consistency.
  3. 03
    Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Dust the counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it, then divide the dough into 3 pieces. Using your hands cupped around the dough, form each piece into a taut ball on an unfloured area of the counter. Press each ball into a 7-inch round about ¾ inch high, then place on the prepared baking sheet; stagger the rounds to fit. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour; it’s fine if the rounds end up touching each other. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  4. 04
    When the breads are properly risen, use a sharp knife to score a slit about 3 inches long into the surface of each round. Bake until the breads are well browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the breads to a wire rack and cool completely.
Tip: Don’t add all of the all-purpose flour at the outset. Only 390 grams (3 cups) is combined with the semolina, wheat bran, seeds, salt and yeast; the remainder is added only after the dough has rested for 20 minutes. Withholding some of the all-purpose flour and resting the dough allows the semolina and wheat bran to hydrate, which results in a more manageable dough and better-textured baked crumb.
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Reviews
Rick B.
June 4, 2022
Great bread
This bread makes three loaves that slice perfect. The first time I made them like the recipe says. The second time I make 2 regular loaves and a dozen dinner rolls. The rolls cook fast. They all were great. If you don't need so many, store them extras in the freezer.
Ann O.

Love this bread! Easy to make and tastes so good. Made half batch of dough and formed a single loaf. Appreciate the weights, especially in grams.

Scott C.

I was frankly disappointed. Overall, the bread was bland. Next time (if) I make it again, I'll double the seeds and salt amounts. Here's hoping that change will give me the bread I was looking for.


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Moroccan Flatbreads (Khobz)

Get Ready to Cook

Makes three

7-inch loaves

2 hours

20 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t add all of the all-purpose flour at the outset. Only 390 grams (3 cups) is combined with the semolina, wheat bran, seeds, salt and yeast; the remainder is added only after the dough has rested for 20 minutes. Withholding some of the all-purpose flour and resting the dough allows the semolina and wheat bran to hydrate, which results in a more manageable dough and better-textured baked crumb.

Ingredients
  • 618

    grams (4¾ cups) all-purpose flour, divided, plus more as needed and for dusting

  • 202

    grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) semolina flour

  • 30

    grams (½ cup) wheat bran

  • 56

    grams (⅓ cup) sesame seeds, toasted

  • 80

    grams (½ cup) flax seeds

  • 1

    tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed

  • 1

    tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1

    teaspoon table salt

  • cups warm water (110°F)

  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet

Step 1 of 4

Make the Dough

390
grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
202
grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) semolina flour
30
grams (½ cup) wheat bran
56
grams (⅓ cup) sesame seeds, toasted
80
grams (½ cup) flax seeds
1
tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1
tablespoon instant yeast
1
teaspoon table salt
cups warm water (110°F)
3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet

In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix 390 grams (3 cups) of the all-purpose flour, the semolina, wheat bran, sesame seeds, flax seeds, fennel seeds, yeast and salt on low speed until well combined, about 1 minute.


With the mixer running, slowly add the water and oil. Mix on low until the dough comes together, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Step 2 of 4

Knead the Dough

228
grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour

With the mixer running on low, add the remaining 228 grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 7 minutes; if the dough is sticky and clings to the sides of the bowl, knead in additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the proper consistency.

Step 3 of 4

Prepare the Dough

Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Dust the counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it, then divide the dough into 3 pieces.


Using your hands cupped around the dough, form each piece into a taut ball on an unfloured area of the counter. Press each ball into a 7-inch round about ¾ inch high, then place on the prepared baking sheet; stagger the rounds to fit.


Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour; it’s fine if the rounds end up touching each other.


Meanwhile, heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.

Step 4 of 4

Bake the Breads

When the breads are properly risen, use a sharp knife to score a slit about 3 inches long into the surface of each round. Bake until the breads are well browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the breads to a wire rack and cool completely.

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