Khobz Ftir is an Algerian, unleavened, no-knead semolina bread. Traditionally served at breakfast and enjoyed at all other times too.
No oven-baking this bread. It cooks in a pan, on the stove-top.
Edited Oct 2019: *This post is sponsored by Kitchenisticdotcom, all opinions are my own*
In Algerian Arabic, Khobz is bread and Ftir, derived from Futoor (breakfast), means ‘small’ breakfast.
My kids and I enjoy Ftir for breakfast, brunch or as afternoon snack when they come home from school.
I cook this all-year-round. More often during Autumn/Winter, when our cravings for comfort food increase.
My youngest regularly asks me to cook this solely for him, he will get grumpy if a. I don’t make it right then at that very moment and b. If I dare to share the Ftir with his siblings!
Easy to prepare and made from a short list of everyday basic ingredients you can find in the Algerian home and possibly your home too:
Ways to eat Fitr فطير
Our favourite ways to eat Ftir are:
- With butter and/or apricot confiture
- With cream cheese and dates
- Stuffed with Chakchouka. Look out for that recipe in future in shaa Allah
Ftir also goes well served with dips, soups and stews.
How many ways can one make Fitr?
There are a lot of recipes out there. I make it a number of ways myself and never have disappointment.
While some people insist Ftir is solely made with semolina, no flour. Others use butter instead of oil, different thickness etc. You get where I’m going with this; method, ingredients and name differ throughout Algeria and it’s likely related to Moroccan Harcha.
Seeds of Blessing
The recipe I share today is my family favourite; made with semolina and flour, two types of oil and a generous sprinkle of Sanoudj – Nigella seeds or habbat el barakah ‘seeds of blessing’.
Aisha ( radiAllahu anha) said that she heard the Messenger sallAllahu alaihi wasallam say:
“This black seed is a cure for every disease except death.”
[Saheeh al-Bukhaari (5687)].
We often see black seeds decorating the top of breads and pastries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Black seeds add a subtle bitter flavour and pleasant aroma to the Ftir.
If you don’t have, leave out the Nigella seeds, they aren’t recommended for those pregnant or breastfeeding. You can replace them with sesame, poppy, cumin, anise seeds etc if you prefer.
Smeed ~ Semolina
Semolina plays an important role both textural and flavour wise. We are using two different types.
Fine semolina is used to make the dough. As this is a no knead recipe and no leavener is used, the crumb structure is somewhat tender and crumbly. Of course flour and fat help with this crumbliness.
Really, Ftira is more pastry than bread and I’ve often seen it referred to as a Galette – a French pastry, on other blogs.
Coarse semolina is used to dust the surface of the flatbreads before cooking, making them extra crisp on the outside. It also helps prevent the bread from sticking to the clay tadjine and burning. Dont worry a few charred spots are perfectly normal (she says) and adds rustic charm. (will she say anything?!)
As the semolina cooks over dry heat, it gives a toasty nutty flavour to the bread.
No semolina? Try cornmeal. While I personally haven’t tried this, I dont see why it can’t work. Of course the flavour will change.
Don’t worry if you haven’t a clay or metal tadjine for bread cooking. A large skillet, frying pan, tawa or crepe pan can be substituted. Make sure to heat the pan nice and hot beforehand, then reduce the heat to low / medium-low when cooking your bread.
Traditionally this type of bread would be cooked over a Tabouna. I am yet to own one and sufficed cooking my bread on the stove-top.
If you make this recipe, I would love to know. Leave me a comment here on the blog or, tag me on your Instagram photos @halalhomecooking.
Khobz Ftir – Algerian Breakfast Bread
Algerian semolina flatbread
- 350g Plain Flour(all-purpose or bread flour can be substitued)
- 150g Fine Semolina
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Nigella seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil (sunflower / canola)
- 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Water,as needed to bring the dough together.
- Coarse Semolina
- In a medium size bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients – except the coarse semolina.
- Rub oils into the flour mixture with your fingertips, until the mixture is an even sandy texture.
- Add water (doesn’t need to be warm) a little at a time, you need just enough to bring the dough together into a rough ball. Cover bowl and leave for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile.
- Pre-heat clay/metal tadjine* until very hot then lower the heat.
- Divide dough into 2-4 balls (depends on size of cooking pan, desired thickness of final Fitr).
- Dust work surface generously with coarse semolina. Working with 1 ball at a time, flatten with your hand slightly then roll out dough into a circle a few mm thick (no more than 1/2cm). Generously continue to sprinkle coarse semolina all over the Ftir while rolling out and before.
- Place on cooking surface. Dock using a fork. Cook, rotating bread often after the first couple of minutes. Turnover and continue cooking, rotating often until fully cooked on both sides.**
* A large frying pan, skillet, tawa, crepe can be used for cooking instead.
**Using the base of a heavy heat-proof object, such as a skillet/frying pan. Press down on the Ftir once you have turned it over. This ensures even cooking, especially if your Ftir is a bit on the thicker side or uneven in thickness and, it helps obtain the crisp crust.
*** Best eaten fresh and warm from the stove. Place it in a bread bag or wrap it in cling film and It will keep for a day or two. The crust does soften after sitting a while but it still tastes good.
**** If desired, re-heat on each side for a couple of minutes in a hot tadjine/substitute or a warm oven.