The Lebanese Bread
Here I am today sharing with you the recipe of the Khebez, as I promised in my post The Khebez: An Ancient Love Story That Prevails.
The Marqouq, المرقوق which is unique in its kind in that it is not a baked bread. It is cooked over charcoals or wood fire on a large dome-like skillet called Saj. It is also called Saj Bread for that reason.
It is flat, very large, thin like a paper sheet, and less soft than the Khebez. That bread is of brownish tones, and is better eaten hot from the Saj. I will share with you the recipe tomorrow.
The recipe of today is for our Lebanese Khebez خبز, which is more known in the world.
You probably know it as pita bread or flatbread. However it is neither pita nor flatbread. It is actually much thinner, and puffs up in two layers that we separate at consumption. At cooling down, the puffing decreases yet the layers remain.
If you haven’t read my article of yesterday, let me tell you that the Lebanese Khebez is also a Levantine Bread, notable in our neighboring countries of Palestine and Syria. It is also produced, in variations, in our eastern region of the world.
Our bread in its present form and recipe is about 15, 000 years old; the oldest evidence was found so far by the archaeologists in the North of Jordan.
The Lebanese Khebez bread is lighter and less fattening than any other bread in the world, discounting the Marqooq of course.
Whether prepared with white flour or whole-wheat flour, it is much less fattening than most breads, namely the French Baguette, the American Bread, the Italian Pita Bread, and the Naan of Central and South Asia.
Nutritionists in Lebanon, like Abeer Abou-Rjaili, even tell you that it is non-fattening.
Our bread has no milk and no butter. The little sugar we add is to simply activate the little required yeast. It has enough calories for a needed energy; all which makes it non-fattening.
The Recipe is very easy and requires very few ingredients. Before you start, take into consideration that the dough requires 2 hours to grow and double, like with most dough recipes.
To Your Good Health, Enjoy!
Lebanese Bread: The Khebez
This recipe requires a long resting time of 1h to 3h.
- 3 cups Flour (white)
- 1 cup Water (warm)
- 1 tsp Salt
For the Yeast
- 2 tsps Dry Yeast
- 1/3 cup Water (warm) to proof the yeast
- 2 tbsps sugar
MAKING THE DOUGH
Mix the yeast ingredients and set aside for 10 minutes to foam and bubble.
While waiting, mix in a bowl the flour and salt. Open a well in the center, and pour in the water then the yeast mixture. (Make sure it is activated)
Mix and then knead well for a good 10 minutes until you get a smooth dough.
Form the dough into a ball, and make some slices on the top. Cover with a moist kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for the dough to grow and double. (1 to 3 hours depending on the warmth of the spot.)
Once your dough has doubled, sprinkle some flour on the counter, and bring the dough on. Knead it well energetically. Divide it into eight portions, and form them into balls.
Using a rolling pin, flatten each ball it in all directions for a well rounded dough of about 0.16 inches.
Set them aside for 15 minutes to allow them to rise some more. Preheat your oven meanwhile to 450F or the highest.
BAKING THE BREADS
Place each dough at a time in the oven and allow it to bake for 5-8 minutes depending on how flat you managed to make them.
You will know it is done when the dough puffs up and separates in two layers, taking the shape of the Lebanese bread, and the top has colored slightly.
Remove onto a wire rack, and continue baking the remaining in turn.
Super delicious when consumed hot. You may store them in an air-tighten plastic bag only when they are well cooled down.
Do not pile up the breads over each other when hot. If you want to do that, open them up to release the internal heat and wait a moment. Otherwise your breads will loose their puff-ups and the layers will stick together. You won't be able to open them up later.