The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need help recreating Bedouin bread

DrBenji's picture
DrBenji

Need help recreating Bedouin bread

So when I was in college, long before I became interested in bread I studied abroad in Jordan, and as a part of that I stayed with Bedouins for two weeks. The family I stayed with baked this incredible unleavened bread that as far as I know was just flour, water, and salt. It would be buried in the embers of a fire and left, but I honestly don't remember for how long. It would then be taken out of the fire, thwacked for a bit to get the ash off, and voila, amazing bread. 

Here's a photo I have, although this doesn't depict the process I described above--https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/218129_502823680800_64900158_30167630_588_n.jpg

The final product looked exactly like this http://ceweb2.uml.edu/FinalProjects/omotw91217/images/fatir.jpg

I've done some googling and it's definitely not خبز صاج (saaj bread), which is very thin. This was thicker. I'm pretty sure it's called خبز فطير (fatir bread) The one recipe I've seen for fatir calls for roasted barley, which I both don't remember and seems out of place. It's possible barley has simply been replaced by white flour but I think it's likely it'd be semolina, not barley. 

I found this recipe http://cooking.mn66.com/recipe-1160/ but it calls for butter and corn oil, which doesn't comport with my memory of how it was made or the texture I remember. 

The directions I've found in Arabic have been a bit vague, and no proportions. Here's a history for those who read Arabic and are interested! http://www.aslalyahud.org/subsubpage.php?id=60&cid=3 It appears to be a history of bread in relationship to Jewish history. 

Does anyone have any ideas for proportions, and whether it's pure white flour, or some semolina, or barley? I guess I could just get my hands doughey and try it out! I'm still googling around in Arabic but it's a bit slow-going for me sometimes. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that a bit of old dough was added from the last batch and this contained the wild yeasts that got this loaf risen.  

Salt + flour + water + no time + heat = compact lump  ...so there is something there you didn't see.  Either yeast was already mixed into the flour (along with other types of flour, a practial way to always mix up what is needed at any given time; no fussing with separate ingredients) or you didn't get all the recipe,  not everyone gives away their secrets.  Also, you weren't really paying attention,  "...long before I became interested in bread." 

Make some dough and use instant yeast and don't sweat it, just get your hands dirty and build yourself a nice fire.  

Got a wok to spread the dough on? 

mitapierce's picture
mitapierce

DrBenji

Please try this link and you will come across what you are looking for

arabicbites.blogspot.com