Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baking bread the Berber way

In the tiny Berber village of Tassa Ouirgane in the High Atlas mountains, The View from Fez team learned how to make tanort, a traditional Berber bread.

Tanort, served with local olive oil and honey

The clay oven, the takat, is easily found in local souks. The first thing to do is to make a fire in the oven and allow the wood to burn down until there's a thin layer of ash-coated coals in the bottom on the takat (about one hour).

A new takat at Asni souk

Lalla Kebira at Dar Tassa then made the bread mixture. Here's the recipe:

for two large tanort:
500g flour
1 teaspoon of dried yeast
1 glass of warm water
1 teaspoon of salt

Mix the yeast with the warm water and add to the dry ingredients to make the dough. After kneading, leave the dough to rise for around 15 minutes.

Once the takat is ready (it mustn't be too hot), divide the dough in half and plaster it to the inside of the oven, making it into a circle. Do the same again with the other half of the dough on the other side of the oven.

This takat at Dar Tassa has a clay coating on the outside to keep in the heat

Pop a tagine lid over the takat and leave to cook for around 10 minutes. It's ready when it looks like this:

Ease the bread off the sides of the oven, scrape off any burnt bits, and the tanort is ready to eat. It's perfect dipped into argan or olive oil, or served with honey.
Anyone know where to get hold of a takat in Fez?

Lalla Kebira makes wonderful tanort

You will find a complete photo essay on Berber Bread Making on
The View from Fez Photo Journal

See all our Moroccan recipes here: MOROCCAN MENU!



Jimbo said...

Is the woman's name really Lalla Kebira?

The View From Fez said...

LOL! That was exactly what we asked and everyone swears it is her name and it is certainly the one that she is addressed as.

Christine said...

This was a great post with great pics.

Lalla Kabira -- wonderful name! I've met a woman called Kabira, and another called Sagheera. Really.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story and simply the best blog in Morocco. How do you decide how to spell Abrabic or Darija names? I have seen K'bira, Kebira and Kabira!

Helen Ranger said...

Good point, Anonymous. If we write Arabic words with Roman letters, then we can only really do it phonetically. However, there is an accepted spelling that was devised by Arabic teachers at ALIF. You can see this in Lonely Planet's Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook. For example, they have kbir and sghir.

Brahim said...

Yes her name is Kbira & since she is also a midwife & as a respect every one call her Lalla.
In Morocco age is believed to confer wisdom so older people are granted respect & addressed Lalla for a lady & Sidi for a man .

Jamal Mohamed said...

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Peter G said...

Some great articles. I am Berber from Morocco ( imin tanout region ) and havent seen this before.
For anyone interested in making Moroccan bread - a bit of an easier way with a modern oven :) - I made a video start to end in real time - kneading included! - which is on my website...
https://arganoildirect.com/culinary-argan-oil-recipes#bread I also supply culinary Argan Oil for those looking.. ( Which is how I found this website )
Regards Malika

Unknown said...

I would like to have your post
I am a morrocan from marrakech ourika