Saturday, 18 April 2015

Khubz Mbassis

This is the baking challenge for the second half of April from The Book of Buns by Jane Mason Group on Face Book.   I had baked these yesterday, and after having a delicious lunch in the conservatory, just over an hour ago, how better to spend half an hour or so resting, to write about the Khubz Mbassis buns, which are enjoyed in Tunisia.

We had had some semolina bread at breakfast at a Moroccan Farm last Autumn, and was looking forward to baking these.  The recipe states that you can use either wholemeal or strong white bread flour, and the mix of seeds too can be varied, but that the semolina element is not optional.  As I already had a new bag of finely ground semolina from Shipston Mill, I decided to use their strong white flour, so that I could savour the taste of the semolina and spices.

You start the day before, with a predough, and there are careful instructions on how to bring all the ingredients together.

For my seed mixture to go in the buns I chose, whole anise seeds, cumin, celery, and Nigella seeds.  I just love that you can have 'love in the mist' seeds in your bread.  I have read that the seeds for eating are Nigella Sativa, whereas the ones we usually grow are Nigella Damascena.  I shall try scattering a few of my culinary seeds, but they may no longer be viable, but let's hope!

I am very careful to weigh both dry and wet ingredients, and almost panicked when I found how wet the final mixture was.  I put it all back on the scales, and checked the recipe again.  Total dry flours 525g, total liquids including oil, 405g, which gives 77% hydration.  Of course if I was using stoneground wholemeal it may well have seemed a little less wet.  However I am not afraid of wet doughs, and persevered.

By the time the dough had risen, and was shaped, it felt just right and was very well behaved.  I had a little difficulty getting the thumb marks to keep in the dough..

for my top mix of seeds I added sesame to the nigella, anise and cumin.  Twenty minutes later, they were all cooling

Saturday lunch was thin sausages, friend with smoked paprika, then some white wine, and cooked chikpeas added, with a large handful of herbs freshly picked from the garden.  Together with a warmed up Khubz Mbassis, we had a deli quality lunch.  With the bright sunshine we could almost have been in Tunisia!

Earlier this week, my 'Boss' at my voluntary 'unpaid' job, zero hours, bought me a present from where they stayed at the weekend.  I was totally overcome, I have some lovely friends, and how nice to be thought of.  Just like my other friends, who bring me sugar, salt, honey etc...

I shall have to plan some lovely bakes with this flour.

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