Mary, my next-door neighbor, dropped in with a panicked look on her face: Apparently all the best bakeries in Dallas had run out of scones, and what was she to do regarding her party at 6 AM in the morning (to watch the royals get married); a quick jaunt to joyofbaking.com and a little while later, we had a fresh batch of scones coming out of the oven. Crisis averted.
Well, I am sharing a recipe for matlouh today, even if most of you will be having tea and scones. I tasted matlouh when my daughter’s friend Mariam came over, saying her mom bakes a loaf every day. After eating most of it within the hour, the only solution that became apparent was that I had to make it at home too.
It is super easy!!!
Added some zaatar to one loaf, and black olives to the other. Of course, anything can be added, or it can be simply wonderful plain. If you like chewy bread, you will love this bread. Some people make it only with semolina flour or with bread flour; this is a compromise.
INGREDIENTS: 4 medium loaves
- 1 1/2 cups or 300 g unbleached bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups or 300 g. semolina flour (fine)
- 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (more to brush on the loaves if desired)
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup black olives (seeded and halved)
- warm water, as needed (at least one cup)
- Place the semolina and bread flour with the salt in the bowl of a food processor (or mixer); combine for a few seconds until the flours are well-mixed. Place the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water in a small jug and let the yeast proof in an enclosed place (I put mine in the microwave) for 10 minutes; as soon as the yeast bubbles up, transfer to the flours, add the olive oil and start the machine running; add more water gradually, about 1/2 cup to 1 cup more; run the machine until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and is firm and compact and moist, even a bit sticky, adding water only as needed.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface on which semolina flour is sprinkled all around. Pat the dough, adding the olives and zaatar or whatever else you decide to flavor the bread with. Cut the dough in several rolls, form into neat balls and cover with a towel to rise (about one hour) until doubled in size.
- When the rolls have risen, deflate them a bit and shape them into round loaves of bread and place them on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper or more semolina. Let the rolls rest for 30 minutes or so.
- Preheat the oven to 375F; brush the breads with a little olive oil if desired and bake for about 20 minutes until they are firm and dry on the outside. Let the breads cool and serve.
NOTE: I have looked at several matlouh videos on youtube to figure out how to make this bread; my method is just the simplest and fastest I could come up with. Some people prefer to make it by hand.