Kesra Matlou


Kesra Matlou ~ Algerian circular semolina and wheat bread.

In Algeria, Khobz or Aghroum are the general words for bread, whilst Kesra specifically refers to these round, somewhat flat breads, traditionally cooked on a clay or metal tadjine over a tabouna – a type of brazier. There are two main types of Kesra; Today’s Matlou which is yeast leavened and quite thick and Kesra Rakhsis – usually not leavened, thinner and contains lots of oil, making it richer, heavier and still delicious!

Kesra is made completely from semolina flour or a mix with wheat flour. I chose a mix of semolina and whole-wheat flour.

Here are a few pictures of the process of making Kesra Matlou from after the dough had its first rise.

after knocking back the dough knead in nigella seeds and dry thyme *optional
divided dough in two and knead in a knob of butter into each. Shape into balls
roll out each ball to same diameter as pan, in my case 20cm
place each round on a piece parchment / grease proof paper, cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
after rise
pre-heat pan over medium heat then reduce to low, place kesra into pan and pierce all over with a fork. allow to cook 5-7 minutes before turning
once turned over continue to cook for another 5 minutes before turning then turn over every 2-3 minutes until the bread has been in the pan 15 minutes

Traditionally cooked on a clay or metal tadjine over a tabouna instead I cook my Kesra Matlou partly in a cast iron skillet on the hob, before browning the sides on an open flame and then to make sure the cooking is complete they go into the oven for 5-10 minutes.


Why not cook the bread in the oven from the outset? the colour / texture of the crust you get by cooking in a skillet/pan/clay or metal tadjine, is second to none.


You can keep the bread plain in flavour which is ideal when mopping up soups and stews but this time I flavoured mine with nigella seeds and dry thyme.

I believe the best way to appreciate fresh, warm home-made bread is simply with a slather of butter. My kids on the other hand prefer sweeter things and enjoyed their slices with butter and jam.

My recipe is lightly adapted from Simply Algerian Blog

Kesra Matlou

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2

Kesra Matlou ~ Algerian circular semolina and wheat bread.


  • 300grams fine semolina
  • 200grams whole-wheat strong bread flour
  • 1tsp of salt
  • 1tbsp dried fast-action yeast
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 60ml warm milk
  • +or – 340ml of warm water
  • 1tbsp nigella seeds, optional
  • 1tbsp dried thyme, optional
  • 2 knobs of unsalted butter, softened


  1. In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer put the semolina and flour. Add salt, mix. Add yeast and sugar, mix.
  2. Slowly mix milk and about 240ml or 1 cup of warm water.
  3. Cover and set aside to allow the dough to absorb the water, a few minutes.
  4. Using dough hook or your hands knead dough for 8-10 minutes by stand mixer or 15 minutes by hand, gradually adding the rest of water you may not need all of the water you need just enough to make a soft not sticky dough. Shape into a ball, transfer to clean large bowl, cover bowl with cling film/plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size,1 hour or more depending on the season, mine took 1 hour and 30 minutes in Autumn.
  5. Punch down the dough and knead in the nigella seeds and thyme if using. Divide dough in 2, knead a knob of softened butter into each ball. Cover and allow to rest 5 minutes before rolling out each ball into a 20cm circle (same diameter of your pan – remember the cooking time will vary), transfer to greaseproof paper, cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat cast iron skillet over medium heat then reduce to low. Also pre-heat oven gas mark 5.
  7. Gently take the parchement paper and place the kesra directly on the pan/tajine
  8. Carefully transfer kesra to pan, peel away the greaseproof paper, pierce all over surface with a fork. Allow to cook 5-7 minutes on first side before turning over and allowing to cook on second side for 4-5 minutes, then continue turning the bread over every 2-3 minutes until the bread has been in the pan 15 minutes.Wearing oven gloves take the bread out of the pan then turn over an open flame on the hob so that the sides brown.Place kesra in oven for 5-10 minutes to ensure bread is thoroughly cooked. Repeat this step for the cooking of the second kesra. Enjoy with soups, stews or simply alone with butter and maybe jam or spread of your choice.
Kesra Matlou
Article Name
Kesra Matlou

Leave a Comment