My happiness in this post is boundless for three very good reasons. First off, the MENA Cooking Club has been revived. If you are new, this Club brings together anyone interested enough to join us on our journey of discovery of the Middle East and North Africa States through their local food. We start off with A for Algeria today, which brings me to my second reason. This Algerian bread of the home, or khubiz eddar, is adapted from one of my favorite blogs, Halal Home Cooking. This makes me happy because not only do I love the blog, but I love my sister who is behind the blog, Umm Hamza, and am honored to be featuring one of her recipes. The third reason is the most important one of all. A crucial part of Algeria’s history lays sadly forgotten, and this slice of history should be brought to the attention of the world with great pride. Algeria is the homeland of the great mujahid Abdelkader El Djezairi, a prime example of what we should teach ourselves and our children the principles he sacrificed so dearly for. He resisted and led the fight against the French invasion of his country in 1827. Unimaginably immoral and barbarous crimes were committed against the Algerians by the French, for which they refuse to apologize for even today. The Prince Abdelkader, at the time only in his twenties, lead the Islamic Jihad Movement and gave the French army such woe and defeated them, upon which a peace treaty was formed which the French immediately betrayed. To stop the murdering and burning alive of his fellow Muslim brethren, women, and children, the Prince Abdelkader turned himself in and was imprisoned by the French. A condition of his release was that he never return to Algeria. This single condition is proof enough of what a great man he was. A more detailed history is outlined in this brief video, which I highly recommend watching.
250 g strong white bread flour
250 g durum wheat fine semolina
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
7 g of dry instant (fast-action) yeast
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, plus more for decorating
1 teaspoon of nigella seeds, plus more for decorating
200 ml of lukewarm milk
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 egg yolk for glaze
In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment or in a large bowl add the wheat flour, the durum wheat fine semolina, mix with a butter knife. Add salt, mix. Add yeast and sugar, mix. Add seeds, mix again. (A Lot of separate mixing I know but I always get good results with this method)
Add 1 egg and continue to mix (either with dough hook now or bread knife/hand)
Pour in the lukewarm milk and with the stand mixer on low-speed (or by hand) mix together until dough begins to come together, add water little by little if needed to bring mixture to a dough ball.
Increased speed and knead for 5 minutes (or knead by hand for 10), add more water if the dough starts to break up / go dry., transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a draft free place for 1 hour.
When the dough has been kneaded transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a draft free place for 1 hour.
After one hour, knock back / knead the dough with your hands for a few minutes.
Bend and fold the dough by using the palm of your hands and your fingers into an even ball then flatten slightly with a rolling-pin and roll into a circle, the same diameter as your tin. (for me 8 inches)
Grease the tin then place the dough inside, loosely cover tin with cling film and leave to rise again for 1 hour. 15-20 minutes before the rise time is over pre-heat your oven to 200C degrees / 180c fan/ gas mark 6 / 390F.
Brush the top of the loaf with the egg yolk then with a serrated bread knife score 4 lines (as many as you want really) about 2.5 mm deep. Sprinkle with cumin seeds and alternate with Nigella sativa seeds.
Bake for 30/35 minutes on middle shelf or until a deep brown crust have formed.
Remove from the oven, carefully take loaf out of tin then set aside on a wire rack to cool. Best eaten on the same day it’s made.
صحة و عافية