Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Traditional Bread-Making: Modern Edition

Remember back when I posted about trying to learn to make traditional Omani bread in Al Hamra? I really couldn't do it. I knew I was devastated to a life of never getting married.

But then, one morning, I awoke and went down to the kitchen, only to find my host family down there, making the same traditional bread! The thing is, our version seems so much more safe in comparison. For starters, we were using a small gas burner rather than a large open fire. Secondly, we were using a tool to spread the dough around rather than using our hands. I must say that both of those additions to the process improve the safety rating in my mind by a LOT!

خبز is the Arabic word for bread, pronounced khobz.

Essentially, this bread is just a flour/water combination because it doesn't need a leavening agent. It can be eaten at all meals or just for a snack (if you're so inclined). It's crunchy but also quite soft... I really like it (though admittedly my favorite bread is the Iranian kind. Slightly off topic but Iran is not a big deal here, and when I tell them that it's so weird for me to think of people I know going there everyone tends to be like "why? It's not a problem! I was completely shocked when a host aunt of mine announced that the next week she would just be going to Iran. Everyone else wasn't phased at all, because it's not a big deal. Anyways, the point is that Iranian bread is really good.)

So here, using pictures, I'll try to explain the process of making Omani bread.
First, you spread the dough around. It has to be super thin in order to work! We used a knife and spatula for this. Traditionally, you just take a glob and dab it around. That saves some dough later on because it doesn't have to be removed, but is pretty dangerous (at least for an uncoordinated amrekiyya like myself).
Then you remove all of the extra dough. The bread is cooking during this time... you have to be quick though or it will burn!

This is our addition for breakfast... we cracked an egg on top. This isn't traditional, but it's really delicious! After the egg cooks, you use the knife to slit under the bread to remove it. It comes right off if you use the right kind of pan. 

Here's the finished product. It's folded into fourths and then eaten! Yummy!


  1. Going to “Iran” is no big deal cause your host family, dear Emma, are Shi'a Muslims.
    It is a BIG deal to other sects…at least it is to me as a Sunni Muslim.

  2. Hmm, that's interesting. I actually didn't know that.

    Thanks for letting me know!

  3. This looks really interesting/tasty.

    Nom nom nom!