Time for another Secret Recipe Club! For those who haven’t seen my previous Secret Recipe Club posts, this club includes a group of bloggers who are assigned a different blog each month and secretly make a recipe to post on their specified reveal day. I look forward to my assignment email every month and discovering new blogs. It is also fun to see what someone chooses from your blog.
This month I was assigned to Karen’s Kitchen Stories. I have been following Karen for a while and was so excited to see her blog listed in the assignment email! Karen lives in Southern California with her family. She has two grown children and two grandsons nearby. She originally started the blog as a hobby to document her recipes, particularly with bread. She is a part of multiple bread baking groups. Making bread is one of Evan’s favorite activities, aside from eating it, and Karen has no shortage of recipes to choose from. I love the variety of countries she has to offer. I decided on one that would be fun for him to make- Rgaïf. Other recipes I saved for later include, but are definitely not limited to: Hokkaido Milk Bread, Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Thai Flavored Pork Belly Skewers, Ausytes, Nan e Barbari, Rheinbrot (this one uses Riesling, my favorite!), Kesra, Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Balsamic Tartlets, Ka’kat, Pretzel Crossaints, Caesar Tartlets with Sweet Butter Garlic Crusts, Kouign Amann, Chocolate Walnut Babka, and Cemita Poblana with Pork Milanesa.
Rgaïf (R’gaif, R’ghayaf, R’ghayef) is a Moroccan flat bread that comes in a variety of shapes. I formed mine into squares known as Msemen. I kept the Msemen plain, but a multiple fillings, savory or sweet, can be added to the center before folding. The folded dough is added to a hot skillet and fried to create a crisp exterior that encases multiple flakey layers. Some recipes add a good amount of oil to the skillet when frying. In Southern Morocco, they are completely deep-fried.
I used my hands to stretch the dough into a thin rectangle. Evan preferred a rolling pin. If you do use a rolling pin, you will probably still need to stretch it a bit afterwards to get the dough extra thin. If it tears a little, just pull a little dough over it to form a patch. A small hole here or there won’t be noticeable with all the layers. Karen shared this video on Youtube showing how to stretch and fold the dough.
Letting the dough rest for 15 minutes after dividing into balls will help it become easier to stretch out.
If the dough sticks to the counter or your hands, add more oil. Don’t flour the surface after the kneading step.
I only brushed oil on the dough before folding. It can also be oiled in-between folds to make it extra flakey.
I used all purpose flour, but some recipes include semolina.
Rgaïf is generally served for breakfast or as a snack with tea. I paired my Rgaïf with equal parts melted butter and honey. Jam would also be delicious.
5.5 grams (~2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
250 milliliters (~1 cup) lukewarm water, 105-115 degrees F
500 grams (~3 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil for brushing
Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and let sit for a minute before stirring to combine. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in the frothy yeast with water and mix until dough comes together. Add more water if too crumbly and more flour if too wet and sticky. Knead using the stand mixer or a lightly floured surface until elastic and smooth.
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Form a piece into a ball and coat with olive oil. Use oiled hands to flatten the ball and press the dough into a thin rectangle. You should be able to see the work surface through the dough. If it starts to stick too much to the work surface, add more oil. Brush the surface of the rectangle with olive oil. Fold the left one third of dough to the right, covering the middle one third. Fold the right one third over to cover the left and middle layers. Fold the bottom one third up over the middle, then fold the top one third down over all of the layers. Gently press or roll to about 1/4 inch thickness or even thinner. Repeat with remaining dough.
Grease a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium low heat. Once heated, add one (or more if you have room without them touching) of the prepared squares of dough. Fry until golden, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Adjust heat between medium and low as needed. Repeat with prepared squares of dough, greasing the skillet with more olive oil as needed.
Best within day of frying, especially warm. They can be reheated briefly in a skillet before serving.