Bread is universally among the staple foods of any cultures. It is unique in every aspect as it directly reflects the culinary tastes of the people residing in that region. The Arab cuisine has numerous variations of breads ranging from sweet to savory tastes. Among all of them, the simple barely bread of khubz ash-sha’ir holds immense significance for its nutrition and medicinal properties prescribed in tibenabvi.
Bread had been among the most widely consumed food item in the early days of Islam. It has not lost its significance since, as it provides complex carbohydrates and fiber for the body. While newer recipes have removed the vital complex carbohydrates by using refined wheat flour, the khubz ash-sha’ir retains its nutrition with its wholegrain barely flour.
About Khubz Ash-Sha’ir
The khubz ash-sha’ir is barely bread baked from wholegrain barely flour, leavening agent, salt, water and oil. Its simplicity wins its position as a staple for everyday consumption. The simple barely bread brings the time tested taste of Arab cuisine for everyday eating. It goes well with almost any meal, be it a simple dish of lentils and vegetables or a complex meat based meal.
Hazrat Aisha (RA) recommended talbina (made from barley flour, water and honey to sweeten) for sick patients grieving people. It is quoted by Hazrat Aisha (RA) that The Holy Prophet (SAW) mentioned the benefits of talbina, saying “Talbina gives rest to the patient’s heart and makes it active and helps relieve your pain and sorrow” (Sahih al – Bukhari, 5325). To read more about talbina, click here.
Following is the list of ingredients needed for cooking khubz ash-sha’ir:
|01||Barely flour||2 pounds||Wholegrain|
|03||Vegetable oil||2 tablespoon||Liquid|
|04||Active dry yeast||½ ounce||Packaged|
|05||Salt||1 ½ teaspoons||Granulated|
Preparation of Khubz Ash-Sha’ir
Following is the recipe for the preparation of khubz ash-sha’ir. It can cooked on a griddle or in a tandoor to suit whichever is at hand. The bread is traditionally cooked in a tandoor since it allows cooking of multiple khubz ash-sha’ir in a single instance on a commercial scale. The bread is has no added fats other than the vegetable oil. The added oil prevents the bread from becoming stiff when it gets cold or old.
1. Knead dough by measuring half ½ cup of water and 1 cup of dough. Let it rest uncovered for 24 hours at room temperature. This will promote bacterial growth which will be used for leavening the dough.
2. Instead of the above method, you can add the active dry yeast to water and mix well. This will make a solution to which the dough can be added.
3. Add the remainder of barely water, flour, salt and vegetable oil to the dough and knead well until the dough does not stick to the hands.
4. Cover the dough with a damn tea cloth and let it sit for 1 ½ hours, during which it will rise and double its size.
5. Gently knead the dough briefly and flatten it until it is ½ inch thick.
6. Cover both sides with barely flour and cook in the tandoor or on griddle.
7. Cook until the bread puffs and color changes to darker shade brown.
- Do not overuse the yeast as it will only cause its flavor to overpower the bread, which is unappetizing.
- Flavor may vary with the use of 24 hour cultured bacteria in dough.
- Avoid overcooking the bread as this will remove the moisture and make it harder to chew. It will make it unappetizing because the excessive removal of moisture will soon make it hard and brittle once it cools down.
- Vegetable oil can be omitted, though it is not recommended. The oil ensures the breads remain soft after they have cooled down.