Whole–Wheat Country Moroccan Bread/Khubz Baladi

This easy bread, often made with barley, has a soft, moist crumb. It is a Moroccan recipe, and it’s a great bread for any meal. It is best eaten the day it is made, or frozen then defrosted and reheated the day it is served. Freeze by wrapping it in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Thaw at room temperature and warm in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven before serving.

2½ cups (570 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (12 g) active, dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 to 8 cups (750 g to 1kg) whole-
wheat or barley flour, plus extra
for kneading (see Gluten-Free
4 teaspoons (20 ml) extra-virgin
olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons (8 g) sesame seeds
Yield: 3 round loaves

Pour the warm water into the bowl of a standing electric mixer with a
paddle attachment. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water, and mix
until dissolved. Add the salt and gradually mix in 6 cups (750 g) of flour,
adding up to 2 more cups, one cup (125 g) at a time, until dough pulls
away from the side of the bowl. Switch to a hook attachment and knead
for 5 minutes on medium speed, or until smooth. Roll the dough into a
12-inch (30 cm) log, then divide into three equal pieces. Shape each piece
into a 4-inch (10 cm) dome-shaped loaf. Place loaves on a baking sheet
greased with 1 teaspoon oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a
draft-free area to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Uncover the loaves and brush each
with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds. Bake for 20 to
30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool slightly, and serve warm.
Gluten-Free Alternative:
Replace whole-wheat flour with a combination of 3 to 5 cups (474 to
790 g) brown rice flour, 1 cup (125 g) tapioca flour, 2 cups (272 g)
sorghum flour, and 2 teaspoons xanthan gum.

Mediterranean Tradition
One of the earliest cultivated grains, barley is a member of the grass
family and has been cultivated since the ninth millennia BCE. Its
production boomed after the second millennia BCE in Mesopotamia,
and it became a popular, inexpensive, and nutritious ingredient in
the Mediterranean region. Containing eight essential amino acids,
barley has been widely used in many cultures and has been proven to
regulate blood sugar levels.