Discover Prompt 11: Biting into Morocco

If you’d told me I’d be taking a bite of homemade bread made by me and baked in a wood-fired oven in Morocco, I would have thought you were a dreamer, for sure. But that’s exactly what happened during a one-day excursion to the Ourika Valley near Marrakech with Chef Joanne Weir, author of numerous cookbooks, winner of James Beard International Cook Award, and host/writer/star of Plates and Places. I went to Morocco for Joanne’s one-week International Culinary Journey along with three other friends from Knoxville, and baking traditional Moroccan White Bread (Khobz) was just one of many treats of the week!

At the resort in Ourika Valley, we watched as Joanne, a familiar guest and visitor, washed her hands in preparation for bread baking.

Then she surprised everyone as she donned native attire and jumped into the role of Moroccan teacher and baker.

Joanne Weir (right) smiles as one of the servers shows her how to wear native attire.

Staff members provided individual bowls, flour, and a few additional ingredients (yeast, water, salt and sugar). Then they provided tips and instruction on how to make a well, put the additional ingredients in the center, add water, and knead. The final step? Add a signature top so you could find your loaf among the many in the kiln.

When done, the loaves were placed on a wooden peel and thrust into the wood fire, a process that ensured a toasted exterior and a warm, but soft, interior for each round loaf. The loaves puffed up, about three inches each. And the crust turned a soft, toasty brown.

Baking bread as they’ve done in Ourika Valley for centuries

You can probably guess what happened next. We spent a few moments showing off our loaves to others and texting pictures home.

Susan Turner (Knoxville) shows off her first handmade loaf of bread.

But then, we were ready for a warm, savory bite of the simple, crusty rounds of handmade Traditional Moroccan Bread!

Happy breadmakers in Morocco!

If you are sheltering at home during the coronavirus, you, too, may have found the joy of combining simple ingredients for a special baked treat for your family. Here’s to each of you dealing with the pandemic and a wish for safety and good health from our house to yours.

Rusha & Bert

This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Discover Prompt 11: Biting into Morocco

  1. CompassAndCamera

    What a fun group experience! And the results look delicious. Another blogger I follow just posted about baking lavash in Armenia. Such an interesting process. You might enjoy reading her post (triciaannemitchell.com/blog/). Thanks Rusha!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You’re so right — not only fun but tasty. It was also a group experience even though we made individual loaves. We compared notes, talked about previous baking experiences at home, etc. These pictures bring back good memories!

  2. Joanne Weir

    This brings back such fond memories! I am trying to remember what year that was!? Do you recall? I remember Bert joining us for dinner the last evening. I was supposed to be leaving for Morocco and Suciily in two weeks. I moved the trip to 2021 in May. I will most certainly miss Marrakech this year. Thanks for including me Rusha. best to you and Bert. XXX

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We were in Morocco with you in 2018 — and what a memorable trip. Not only the cooking part — you scheduled some outstanding places to see for shopping, eating out, and observing life as it is . . . like Jemaa el-Fna Square. Sorry you had to reschedule ’til 2021, but at least you have something to look forward to. I hope you find Morocco just as colorful and interesting as it was when we were there!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Any warm bread to me is delicious and satisfying. If I baked bread and ate it on a regular basis, I’d weigh a ton, I guess. There’s no stopping when I get into a hot loaf, especially if butter is involved!

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