A recipe for Msemen (Moroccan Square Flatbread) for Secret Recipe Club! These flaky squares of flatbread are a delicious addition to breakfast or as an afternoon snack with honey butter, jam, or cheese.
Secret Recipe Club
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.
Karen 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 featured as well.
I decided on one that would be fun for Evan to make- Moroccan Flat Bread. Other recipes I saved for later include, but are definitely not limited to: Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, Ausytes (Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns), Nan e Barbari, Rheinbrot (this one uses Riesling!), Ka’kat, Pretzel Crossaints, Kouign Amann, and Chocolate Walnut Babka.
Msemen (Moroccan Square Flatbread)
Msemen (مسمن) is a flour and semolina-based Moroccan flat bread formed into a square shape. The recipe I am sharing today is a basic bread that is a delicious as a part of breakfast or for a snack with tea or coffee. There are also stuffed versions with a variety of fillings.
After forming the dough and allowing to rest, each piece is stretched into a thin square on a well-oiled surface and folded with layers of butter and semolina to form the distinctive layers. The bread is set aside to rest again (this will make it easier to work with) for another 15 minutes before flattening gently with oiled hands and frying in a hot skillet until golden on each side.
The result is a warm and flaky Msemen perfect for pairing with honey butter (this is also great with Baghrir- Moroccan Semolina Pancakes), jam (favorite with the kids), or cheese.
A few tips
Use oil to grease your hands and work surface before flattening and folding the dough, not flour. If the dough sticks to the counter or your hands, add more oil.
To help add definition to the layers, spread butter and a sprinkling of semolina between the folds.
I used oiled hands to stretch the dough into a thin square. Try to get the Msemen as thin as possible without tearing. The work surface should be visible through the dough. If the bread does tear a little, gently pull a little dough over it to form a patch. A small hole here and there won’t be noticeable with all the layers. Karen shared this video on Youtube showing how to stretch and fold the dough.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes after dividing into balls and another 15 minutes after folding. This will help it become easier to stretch out.
The Msemen are best served warm shortly after pan-frying, but they do freeze well. After cooling to room temperature, arrange the cooked Msemen in a single layer and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Reheat directly from the freezer either in a 350˚F (180˚C) oven or in a skillet over medium low heat until heated through.
Keep the honey butter over very low heat until immediately before serving. The butter will quickly start to solidify in a cooler kitchen.
Check out what everyone else made!
- Brown Butter Cacao Nib Skillet Cake from A Calculated Whisk
- French Dip Sandwich au Jus made in the Slow Cooker from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- BBQ Rub from Lynsey Lou’s
- Raspberry Peach Smooth from Life on Food
- Peanut Butter Crepes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling from Natural Noshing
- Creamy Spiced Apple-Nog from 84th & 3rd
- Cinnamon Honey Nut Snack Mix from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Chole Chaat (Chickpea Curry) from Lavender and Lovage
- Fiesta Queso Burritos from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake from Bewitching Kitchen
- Rhubarb Blueberry Custard Pie from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Spinach Artichoke Dip from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Baked Blueberry French Toast from Burnt Apple
- Chicken Caesar Pasta, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, and S’mores Cookies from Making Miracles
- Three Cheese and Swiss Chard Pasta Bake Cake from The Spiffy Cookie
Msemen (Moroccan Flat Bread) Recipe
Adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Msemen (Moroccan Flat Bread)
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F (40-46˚C)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (175 grams) fine semolina
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For assembling and serving:
- Vegetable oil for greasing work station and hands
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter softened at room temperature, for greasing the bread
- 1/2 cup (88 grams) Fine semolina for dusting
- 1/2 cup (180 grams) honey
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter
To make the bread:
- Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and stir 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 the flour, semolina, sugar, and salt.
- Slowly pour in the frothy yeast with water and mix until dough comes together. If too crumbly, add a little more water. If too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Knead until elastic and smooth, then divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Coat your work surface and hands with vegetable oil. Using oiled hands, flatten a ball and press the dough into a thin square. 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.
- Rub a thin layer of butter over the flattened dough and sprinkle with semolina. Fold the dough into thirds to form a long rectangle, continuing to coat in a little butter and semolina. Fold the right side of the rectangle over into the center, then fold the left over to cover and form a square. Repeat with remaining dough, then cover and allow to rest for another 15 minutes.
- Grease a large skillet with vegetable oil and place over medium low heat.
- Gently flatten the folded square of dough with oiled hands into a thin square flatbread. Place on the heated skillet and cook until golden. Flip and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Adjust heat between medium and low as needed. Repeat with remaining squares of dough, greasing the skillet with more oil as needed.
To make the honey butter:
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey and butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until butter is melted. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.
- The flatbread is best warm from the pan and especially within a day of cooking. They can be reheated briefly in a skillet before serving.