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Batbout – Moroccan Pita Bread Recipe

Batbout – Moroccan Pita Bread Recipe

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Batbout is a flavorful, chewy Moroccan bread that cooks with a pocket just like pita bread. Rather than being baked in the oven like Middle Eastern pita, batbout is cooked on the stove in a pan or on a griddle, where it takes just a minute or two to brown and puff up with its trademark pocket.

While that pocket makes it perfect for sandwich fillers of all kinds, batbout also works well as an accompaniment to grilled meats such as kefta or boulfaf. It’s also terrific as a breakfast bread with butter, honey, jam, cream cheese or even chocolate spread.

Other Names for Batbout

Batbout is also known by other names such as mkhamertoghrift and matlou‘. The term mkhamer is worth giving special attention to as it’s used differently by region or family.

For some, mkhamer is simply batbout as shown in the photo above; for others, mkhamer is batbout which has been cooked on an oiled pan as opposed to a dry one. In addition, some Moroccans might use mkhamer to describe a similar yet laminated stovetop bread; while others use the term in reference to a thick batbout (without a pocket) that is served with butter and honey.

As batbout can be made ahead of time and freezes well, you may want to get in the habit of making extra-large batches.  

You can vary the ratio of flours a bit—I often use a mix of white, semolina and whole wheat— but do try to keep white flour to no more than half of the total quantity used or your dough and end result might be gummy.

Durum flour or fine semolina is essential to batbout’s classic texture and flavor. My recipe calls for a little oil in the dough; many Moroccans make it without, but I find it helps avoid a dry bread that won’t hold up to stuffing.

Batbout can be shaped as small or as large as you like, and to some degree, with varying degrees of thickness. In Ramadan, for example, it’s common to find the bread as tiny as two inches (five centimeters) in diameter; they get stuffed and presented on the table as bite-sized sandwiches.

If you don’t own a double griddle, consider investing in one as it makes short work of cooking batbout or other pan-fried breads such as msemen, meloui, or harcha.

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Photo of batbout, Moroccan pita bread, in a basket on a table.

Moroccan Batbout Recipe – Mkhamer or Toghrift or Matlou’

Christine Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc
Soft, chewy and perfect for sandwich fillers of all kinds, batbout is Morocco's fabulous version of a stove top pita bread or pocket bread. Depending on region or family, it might also be called mkhamer, toghrift or matlou'.
Batbout traditionally includes durum flour or fine semolina; it's really an absolute must as the bread simply doesn't come as nice without. 
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting & Rising 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine Moroccan
Yield 20 batbout (4″ or 10 cm)
Calories 178 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cups white flour, - preferably bread flour or high-gluten
  • 2 cups durum flour or fine semolina
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water, - approx.

Instructions
 

  • Mix the yeast with a teaspoon of the sugar in a little warm water; set aside until foamy.
  • Combine the flours, remaining sugar and salt. Add the oil, water and the yeast mixture.
  • Stir to bring the dough together, then knead by hand on a floured surface, or with a mixer and dough hook, until smooth and supple, but not sticky. Add flour or water in small increments as needed to make a soft, manageable dough.
  • Shape portions of the dough into smooth balls about the size of plums. Arrange the balls on a lightly floured surface with at least an inch between balls. Cover with a towel and leave the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • When the dough has rested, dust your work surface with flour or fine semolina and roll each ball out into a thin round about 1/8″ (0.3 cm) thick. Place on a cotton sheet or towel and cover. Leave to rise for an hour or a little longer, until light and puffy.
  • Heat a large pan or griddle over medium heat for several minutes until very hot. Carefully transfer the batbout in batches to the pan. Gently turn the batbout as soon as set (after about 10 to 15 seconds) before air bubble being to appear on the surface.
  • Continue cooking the batbout, turning gently several more times, until they have puffed with air and are browned on both sides.
  • Transfer the cooked batbout to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool. Store completely cooled batbout in the freezer. 

Notes

  • You can safely eliminate white flour and use a mix of only durum flour and wheat flour. Or, you can replace some of the white flour with additional wheat flour. But, avoid using predominantly white flour or your end result might be gummy.
  • Make sure to fully preheat your griddle or frying pan. I leave my double griddle to heat up for a full five minutes before cooking the batbout. You can slightly lower the heat after you start cooking if you feel the batbout are browning too quickly.
  • It’s important to handle the batbout gently while transferring to the pan and while cooking. Rough handling can deflate the risen dough or cause cracks which won’t allow the batbout to fill with air.
  • When turning puffed batbout in the pan, or when transferring cooked batbout to a rack, be careful of burns which can occur when hot steam escapes from a crack.
  • On very cold days or in a cold kitchen, you may need to allow more time for the batbout to rise. Conversely, on very hot days or in hot, dry climates, the batbout can not only rise too quickly, but develop a dry exterior on the dough that’s prone to cracking. I reduce the yeast to two teaspoons in warm weather to help avoid that.
  • If you roll batbout on the thick side, they may not puff up when cooked. In that case, you can gently pry or slice them open to create a pocket for fillings.
  • Instead of shaping balls, some cooks like to roll out the dough and cut out rounds with a glass or other biscuit cutter. The scraps can get gathered and kneaded together, then covered and left to rest for 10 to 15 minutes to roll out again. 
  • I reserve a heavy cotton sheet for making batbout; it fully covers my kitchen table and easily folds over the batbout to cover them while they rise. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 178kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 5gFat: 2gSodium: 235mgPotassium: 130mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 12mgIron: 1.8mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate obtained from online calculators. Optional ingredients may not be included in the nutritional information.

Tried this recipe? We’d love to know!Mention @tasteofmaroc or tag #tasteofmaroc!
Leave a Comment or Review

About the Author

Christine Benlafquih is Founding Editor at Taste of Maroc and owner of Taste of Casablanca, a food tour and culinary activity business in Casablanca. A long time resident of Morocco, she's written extensively about Moroccan cuisine and culture. She was the Moroccan Food Expert for The Spruce Eats (formerly About.com) from 2008 to 2016.

Recipe Rating




CMS

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

Having made bread doughs for years. Just looking at the ingredients 1 tablespoon of yeast? That's enough for about 25kgs of flour. 2 tablespoons of sugar? I don't think these measurements are correct. Makes more sense teaspoon (tsp)

Christine Benlafquih

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

You can reduce the yeast in very warm weather to avoid too rapid of a rise, or reduce the yeast if you want to add in the step of bulk fermentation before shaping balls and rolling them out, But, for the average kitchen climate, the recipe is correct as written for a short rest for the dough followed by a single rise after shaping. I'm a bit confused about your ratio of 1 tablespoon yeast to 25 kg of flour; that doesn't match up with basic bread ratios. The sugar in this recipe is also not excessive; it helps with browning, flavor, quicker rise, and producing more gas so that the batbout puffs up with a pocket. Sugar also helps yield a tender texture. However, if you want to use less sugar, you certainly can.

Tracy

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Ever since I started using this recipe I get 100% puffed! I prefer them made with 100% durum. I sometimes add a tiny bit of white flour. So good! Thanks Christine!

Christine Benlafquih

Tuesday 29th of June 2021

Great to know! Thanks, Tracy.

Jan Williams

Thursday 15th of April 2021

Thanks for this recipe. I've almost conquer matlouh. I use 2 1/2 cups each, white and wheat flour, and 1 cup of smeeda. The Rifia at the tiny corner store grinds her own wheat flour. What fantastic flavour. Thanks again.

Christine Benlafquih

Friday 16th of April 2021

Glad you like the recipe, Jan! I just made a large batch yesterday using 2 c white, 3 c finot, and 3 c wheat. They never last long in my home, especially during Ramadan.

Jan Williams

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Thanks for solving my dilemma of if and how much wheat flour I could use in matlou3, here called khobz al Marla.

Christine Benlafquih

Sunday 2nd of August 2020

Hi Jan. You can use even more wheat than the measures I give in the recipe. For example, you might try 2 cups white, 2 cups wheat, 2 cups durum.

Rayan Hamid

Monday 22nd of June 2020

They turned out beautiful! Thank you for the awesome recipe! My family and I really enjoyed them! Every single one of them puffed up, it was incredible to watch! If I could attach some pictures, I would!

Nani

Thursday 11th of February 2021

@Christine Benlafquih, How do you defrost and reheat them?

Christine Benlafquih

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Glad you had success and enjoyed them! I actually have chicken marinating right now to use as a sandwich filler for batbout. I usually make at least 1.5x the recipe so that there are extras in the freezer.