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Yemeni flat bread tool

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Monarch's picture
Monarch

Yemeni flat bread tool

Hey everyone!

I spent some time last year in Yemen, and Yemenis use a special tool for shaping their homemade flat bread. They call it a "makhbazah". And it looks like the picture I've uploaded. I'm back in the U.S. now, and I'm wondering if anyone has seen something like this or knows what it's called in English. I'd like to buy one, and I have no idea how to search for it. 

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,

Kris

yozzause's picture
yozzause

when i googled "makhbazah". it is Arabic for Bakery, the item  is similar to the cushions used in lace work but covered with linen, presumably so the dough will not stick.

kind regards Derek

Monarch's picture
Monarch

Hi Derek,

 

Thanks for your reply. Yes, "makhbazah" is also Arabic for bakery. Actually, technically, it's a generic term that can be used to describe any tool used to make "khubz" (bread) or place where "khubz" are made. Practically, it's most common usage means "bakery", and I've only found Yemenis using the word to describe this tool.

Also, you're right, it is covered in linen. I think the bulk of it is made of some kind of straw, or at least the handle is made that way. And it's not only used to shape the flat bread, it's also used to literally bang it onto the tandoor wall.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi,
I was curious so did a quick search for 'flatbread pillow'.
Lo and behold, a TFL post returned:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/keyword/lavash-wok-saj-flatbread

In the fourth picture, a teatowel is draped over an overturned bowl to create a rounded surface for shaping the flatbread.
Could this work for your purpose?

:^) breadsong

Monarch's picture
Monarch

Hi Breadsong,

Thanks for taking the time to search! Actually, I should have clarified the usage a little more. This tool is not only used to shape the flat bread, it's also used to transport it into the oven, making for very quick bread-making. Traditionally, the bread is made in a tandoor, so the makhbazah is used to slam it against the wall. Here, we use a regular oven, and the makhbazah makes it really easy to quickly shape and transport the bread into the oven--onto a baking stone or a preheated pan. I've been rolling it out and using a pizza peel, but that gets really tedious, especially since bread is such a staple in our house.

Thank you again for replying!

Kris

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Kris,
You're very welcome.
If you're ever needing a tool for a Tandoor oven, I got a chance to use once of these, last September, at a Tandoor baking class at Kneading Conference West:
http://woodstone-corp.com/catalog/tandoor_naandle.htm

(It has a long handle, to reach down into the Tandoor oven)
(The pillow may also referred to as a 'gadhi'?)

Best wishes for your search,
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Hi, and welcome to TFL!

This tool isn't easy to come by as it is strictly a yemanese specialty. You can still make it at home, though. You'd need a round pillow with a sewed in cotton cloth (as described in the linked post above). However, to make the best use of the make shift pillow, you still need a tandoor oven. I've tried the inverted Wok method, and found it tedious to roll dough, flatten it, and load it onto the Wok. It is a time consuming process; the same goes for Pita bread.

Best of luck.

 

 

Monarch's picture
Monarch

Thanks for the welcome, Mebake, and for taking the time to reply.

That's what I was afraid of. I was hoping that other cultures made use of this tool under some other name, and that I would be able to find one here. My mom tells me that they used to make their own back in her home village, but she doesn't remember how. I suppose I could always just buy one and bring it back with me. I'm going to try out some Middle Eastern stores and see if they have any.

Also, we bake our bread in the oven using the highest setting and a baking stone or a preheated pan (I heard cast-iron skillets work great, but I haven't gotten around to buying a large one yet). Unfortunately, I've had to roll out the dough using a rolling pin, which gives really good results, but takes a lot of time and effort, and kills my back. 

Thanks again for your reply,

Kris