Farina, Moroccan Bread Baked on Pebbles
This bread is fantastic. Easy, fun and smells amazing. The best part is it only takes about 10 minutes to bake so it is the perfect bread for any dinner. Well, any dinner where you have a sauce you can dip the bread in or a spread of any kind…
I guess that is why it was invented…. No Knife needed. You just break a piece and eat.
I love making it when we have Haraime (fish in red sauce) or a really hearty soup or stew. It is wonderful with a table of tapas, especially with Tahini and olives. But, my kids also love it straight from the oven with butter melting on top, Nutella or jam.
First thing needed are the pebbles. Pick some stones of all sizes between medium and large that you can place on an oven stone or on the bottom of your oven. Before using your pebbles for the first time, wash them well.
To have this bread for dinner, you need to make the dough about an hour before (letting it raise is not very important because the bread is kneaded pretty thin (like a big pita) and the heat in the oven lets it rise as well. And at that time also turn the oven on so the pebbles can get hot. I turn it on on 460-480F.
Some recipes call for a very sticky dough that is hard to work with but after playing around with it a bit I like a drier dough, almost like a pita dough that becomes crispy on the outside yet soft and moist on the inside.
The dough is very simple:
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups warm water
5 cups flour
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
Mix the sugar, yeast and 1/2 cup water together and set aside. Mix the flour and salt together. After 10 minutes add the yeast mixture, rest of the water and oil to the flour and mix well. Let stand for about 30 minutes. I then like to roll the dough out for another 30 minutes rest.
The dough is placed straight on the pebbles/stones in the oven for about 10 minutes – until the crust is beautifully brown and crisp.
Once it is ready, take it out and eat. A little bowl of olive oil with balsamic sauce, Tahini, Hummus, Labaneh cheese or a delicious tomato sauce…. are all wonderful additions to this bread. Enjoy and let me hear from you.
I was asked by a dear friend if it matters what kind of stones and YES… You do not want the stones to explode. I use Scree/pebbles gathered along the beautiful creeks in Ithaca. A good sturdy stone that can take the heat.
yofi!! tomorrow night Ill try to do it
Ithaca and the rest of upper state NY is surrounded by very old hard granite and basalt, all fine for oven heat. Sandstone and other soft porous sedimentary rock is what you don’t want to play with in your oven. So after washing your river rocks or round hard (usually very grey in color) rocks used to landscape your yard, make sure they are hard and smooth and don’t have any cracks and fissures visible. Run them through an entire oven heat cycle and let them cool to room temperature once before baking bread on them. That way if they explode, the oven door will protect you from the flying pieces of rock. After heating for at least an hour and cooling off, they should be good forever for baking safely. If you are into stone soup, the same safety rules apply. You can also use pie weights made from high fired ceramic balls or clean pot shards with the cut edges facing down as a baking surface.