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Moroccan Khobz Recipe – Basic Moroccan Bread Recipe

two loaves of Moroccan flatbread called khobz in a traditional basket
Moroccan Bread (Khobz). Photo: picturepartners | Bigstock.com

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The round Moroccan bread served at most meals is called khobz, but you might also hear it referred to by Berber names of kesra in Tamazight or agroum in Tashelhit. Crusty with a course interior, it’s perfect for the traditional Moroccan method of eating most dishes by hand using pieces of bread instead of a fork to scoop up salads, tagines, other entrees, sides and more. Wedges of bread may also be split open and stuffed with grilled meats or sandwich fillers of any kind.

You may occasionally see khobz described as a flatbread, but the round, flattish loaves are actually thicker than a typical flatbread. While the thickness can vary from bakery to bakery and family to family, generally khobz will not be more than one-inch (3 cm) high, depending on the flour used. Many Moroccans prefer to keep the height to no more than a half-inch (1.5 cm) thick.

Unless you find yourself in a rural area, freshly-baked khobz is readily available from neighborhood shops, bakeries and large grocery stores. Nonetheless, many families prefer to make their own homemade bread (khobz dyal dar), either baking it in a home oven or in a public street ovens known as a ferran. A variety of flours are typically used, and loaves can be shaped anywhere from petite rounds on up to family-sized loaves of 12-inches (30 cm) or more in diameter.

Below is a basic khobz recipe for Moroccan white bread, sometimes called force in reference to the French word for strong white flour. Although you can use all-purpose flour, selecting one that’s labeled bread flour or high in gluten will yield best results. Experiment with replacing some or half of the white flour with durum flour (very fine semolina), whole wheat or barley flour.

The dough requires a short rest and one rise before it goes into the oven. Plan to freeze unused Moroccan bread as it won’t stay fresh at room temperature for more than a day.

two loaves of Moroccan flatbread called khobz in a traditional basket
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4.61 from 43 votes

Moroccan White Bread Recipe - Khobz

A traditional recipe for homemade Moroccan bread or khobz, a Moroccan flatbread served at nearly every meal. This version is for white bread but you can mix in wheat, semolina or other flours.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rising Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: Moroccan bread recipe, Moroccan khobz
Servings: 8 servings (from [adjustable]2[/adjustable] 8" loaves)
Calories: 267kcal
Author: Christine Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc

Ingredients

  • 4 cups white flour preferably high gluten or bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp oil olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups water warm (not hot)
  • oil, semolina or cornmeal optional (for preparing the pan)

Instructions

  • Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper OR lightly oiling it OR dusting it with semolina or cornmeal. Set aside.
  • Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast.
  • Add some of the water to the yeast in the well and lightly stir with your fingers to dissolve the yeast (see Recipe Notes below). Add the rest of the water and oil to bowl and stir to combine all ingredients. 
  • Knead the dough (in the bowl if it's large enough or on a floured work surface) for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. While kneading, work in a little flour or water as needed to ensure the dough is soft and pliable but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into two smooth mounds and place well apart on the prepared pan. Cover with a towel and leave to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • After resting, pat the mounds of dough into flat, round loaves about 1/4" thick. Cover again with a towel and leave to rise for about an hour (longer in a cold room), until the dough springs back when pressed lightly.
  • Preheat your oven to 435°F (225°C). When the oven is hot, lightly score the top of the bread with sharp knife or poke in several places with a fork. 
  • Bake the khobz in the preheated oven, rotating the pan if necessary, for about 20 minutes or golden brown. The loaves should sound hollow when tapped.
  • Transfer the khobz to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool. 

Notes

  • If you're not sure that your yeast is not fresh and active, please proof it before adding it to the ingredients in step 3. This is done by dissolving the yeast in a little warm water with a pinch of sugar. The mixture should become foamy within 10 minutes, indicating the yeast is active and ready to use. If the mixture doesn't turn foamy, discard it and get fresh yeast before proceeding. 
  • You can use a stand mixer with dough hook to knead the dough. Simply combine the ingredients as described above in the bowl of the mixer before fitting it to the machine. Keep a careful eye for the first minute or two to make any necessary adjustments to flour and/or water.
  • Sesame seeds make an attractive and tasty garnish for Moroccan white bread. Golden, unhulled sesame is preferred in Morocco. The seeds can be pressed into the top of the dough when shaping the loaves (first brush the dough with water to help the seeds adhere) or added just prior to baking (gently brush the risen dough with an egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame).
 

Equipment

Extra large mixing bowl
baking sheets
parchment paper
Stand mixer
Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 2.9mg

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.

Did you try this recipe?We'd love to know! Mention @tasteofmaroc or tag #tasteofmaroc!

 

Christine Benlafquih

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 About.com (now The Spruce Eats) from 2008 to 2016.

22 comments

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  • I made this bread for the first time today. If you are wanting to add the sesame seed I would definitely say do it when you are shaping the dough. Using an egg wash before baking(like i did on one of them) gives it an uneven colored look since I didn’t cover the whole top with the egg wash. Otherwise, this recipe is fantaatic and the easiest I have found online!

  • Hello!

    I made this recipe today. My loaves seemed to spring too much in the oven. They were way to high in the middle where the score was. They also seemed a bit heavy and dense despite rising so high. They developed a golden exterior and the crum was cooked through, bottom was hollow when tapped. It didn’t get that Moroccan characteristic thin crispy exterior and light interior. I used 3.5 c bread flour and .5 c semolina. Any idea where I went wrong?

    • Hi Laura. Moroccan homemade bread tends to be denser than loaf bread or even Moroccan bakery white or semolina bread. For lighter texture, you could try allowing for a first rising for an hour or more in an oiled bowl before shaping. For crisper crust, eliminate sugar and oil in the recipe and brush the loaf with water just before baking (or even add a pan of water to the oven to create some steam while baking). As for the loaf’s height around the score, maybe you cut the score a little too deeply. Other things to try: use a fork to pierce the loaf instead, shape the loaf flatter, or use a little less yeast.

  • I’m on a very low calorie diet. I make 95% of what I eat. I mean, everything. I was looking for a flat bread type recipe. I was doing Google searches the other day and came across this one. I wanted to try it, because the pictures were the closest to what I was looking for. I was hoping that after I went through and made them, they would have a great taste, be a flat-round and be low calorie. They were better than I could have hoped for. I made 15 out of the one batch and they are 128 calories each. They taste amazing. Thank you so much. I look forward to making more of these in the future. I wish that I could post a picture to show you how wonderful they turned out.

    • Hi Melissa. So glad that you had great results! I’ve been making bread like this for many years, and I think you’ll find that the recipe is really versatile…you can experiment with different flours, shape the dough into sandwich rolls, and more. Be sure to also try batbout, which is similar to pita but cooked stove top. Sometimes when I’m running a cooking class, I’ll make this khobz recipe using a mix of flours, then reserve a little of the dough to demonstrate how batbout are made.

  • Do these freeze well? Planning a Morrocan themed dinner party and would like to have some things prepared in advance. Thanks.

    • Yes, they freeze quite well. Be sure they’ve completely cooled before freezing. Thaw at room temp a few hours before needed, and for just-baked texture and flavor, warm in a 350F/170C oven for 5 to 8 minutes at serving time.

      If you have any questions about advance preparation of your other menu items, feel free to ask.

  • What kind of yeast do you use? One tablespoon seems like quite a lot. I use instant yeast, and I use less than 1/4 teaspoon for a loaf of white bread with a long rise. Thanks.

    • Early on when I moved to Morocco I used fresh yeast, but now that dry yeast is readily available I prefer to use that. Keep in mind that the recipe as written is for a single fast rise (about an hour in a warm kitchen), so the amount of active dry yeast is slightly more than a more-typical yeast-to-flour ratio of 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast to 4 cups of flour. But of course there is flexibility with regard to the amount of yeast, and it’s worth noting that few home bakers in Morocco will pull out measuring spoons or scales when making bread…they’re measuring by hand or eye. In warm weather I do use less yeast, and less yeast and a double, long rise may be desirable if you’re going for flavor or different texture. And of course years back homemade leavening was used, and that too would have required significantly longer rise times. Some bakers here still use homemade leavening…gives truly great flavor to the bread! However, fresh or dry yeast is more commonly used these days, and a rapid rise is convenient for serving fresh bread with the main meal of the day at lunchtime.

      • I appreciate your response and I’m looking forward to making this bread this weekend. Just wondering if a longer rise (say overnight) to enhance flavor, would substantially change the character of the bread. Also, would there be any problem baking it on a stone?

        • Yes, I think a long rise will enhance flavor, as will replacing some of the white flour with wheat, barley or durum flour. You might try making the bread both ways to compare rapid rise versus long rise. A comparison test can be done as well for baking on a stone, which might make the bottom extra crusty but you may need to bake higher up in the oven to balance color on the top crust. Good luck! Let me know your results.

  • Hi Christine,

    Please can tell me what the different types of flour (semolina, wheat) are called in Darija? I am in lockdown in Fes and would like to know what to ask for at the hanoot, my dictionary doesn’t include these! We’ve decided to stop buying khobz for now just to be safe. I have made this already using basic white ‘farine’ which turned out great, but i’d like to experiment a little. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Lucy

    • Hi Lucy.

      To specify specific types of flour you can ask for the following. Sometimes we just ask for the word that I marked in bold.

      White flourtihane or dgeeg (darija); dqiq (Standard Arabic); force or farine de blé (fr)
      Whole wheat flour – dqeeg dyal zraa’ (darija); complète de blé dur (fr)
      Durum flour (extra fine semolina) – finot de blé dur (fr)
      Barley flour – tihane (or dgeeg) dyal belboula (darija); farine d’orge (fr)
      Oat flour – dgeeg dyal hortal (darija); dqiq al-shuwfan (Arabic); farine d’avoine (fr)
      Fine semolina – smida rqiqa (darija); semoule fine de blé dur (fr)
      Coarse semolina – smida ghlida (darija) ; semoule grosse de blé dur (fr)
      Wheat bran – nkhala (darija); son de blé (fr)

      Hope that helps!