Khobz el Dar

(Algerian Semolina Sesame Bread)

November 17: National Homemade Bread Day

Although we mostly rely on our trusty bread machine, we sometimes try to make bread from scratch just to challenge ourselves. But sometimes thinking about all that proofing, kneading and rising ruins the mood and we get super lazy.

Then we found online a pretty picture of this Algerian semolina sesame bread and wanted to try it because the directions were surprisingly simple. Even our first effort for making semolina bread turned out looking like it came from a bakery!

Those who do not feel as experienced in making homemade bread can challenge themselves with this semolina bread recipe for National Homemade Bread Day.

(Adapted from All Recipes)


• ½ cup + 2 tablespoons semolina flour
• 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided use
• 1 tablespoon sugar, granulated white
• 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 2 eggs, divided use
• 1 cup milk, lukewarm
• 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons or more
• 1 teaspoon water


In a large bowl, mix together the semolina flour, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, sugar and yeast.

Add salt, oil, 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (save the 1 egg yolk for the egg wash). Stir in lukewarm milk. A liquid dough should form.

Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature until frothy (about 1 hour). Uncover the bowl and stir in the 2 ¾ cup flour and mix until a sticky dough forms. Cover again and let rest for about half an hour.

Uncover the bowl and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of flour (or more as needed). Mix the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet and shape into a round loaf. Cover loosely with a cotton towel and let rise in a warm place for at least another hour or until doubled in size.

Beat the remaining egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Brush this over the round loaf. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly and slice.


• Smother this fresh semolina bread with homemade butter.

• Search our blog for more homemade bread recipes (both by hand or by machine).


February: Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

The fifth U.S. president, James Monroe (April 28, 1758-July 4, 1831), was a Virginian who loved southern home cooking. But his American tastes were probably influenced by the French when he played an integral part in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase with Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century.

One of Monroe’s favorite foods was spoonbread, which is like a cross between a simple southern cornbread and a fancy French soufflé. This bread has a somewhat creamy consistency so is eaten with a spoon, instead of handheld like a firmer roll or bun.

In honor of President James Monroe, try spoonbread as a side dish on Presidents’ Day.


(Adapted from Fine Cooking)


  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ cups milk, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins


Grease four half-cup ramekins with butter. Set aside on a baking tray. Crack the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal with ½ cup of milk. In a saucepan, scald the other one cup of milk. Add the cornmeal mixture, salt and sugar. Keep stirring over medium heat until thickened (about 5-10 minutes).

Remove from heat and mix in the butter and egg yolks. Fold in the egg whites. Divide batter between the prepared ramekins.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the spoonbread is puffy with a golden brown crust. Serve hot out of the oven with a spoon and an extra pat of butter on top (optional).


  •  We halved the original recipe to feed just the two of us.
  • Avoid overbaking or microwaving the leftovers as the spoonbread will harden when cooled. It is best to eat this hot right out of the oven.
  • When Islander was a child, she and her family lived in President James Monroe’s home state for four years when her Daddy was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and served in the U.S. Navy.
  • Search our blog for other Presidents’ Day and patriotic recipes.

No Knead Bread

April 27: Feast Day of St. Zita

Today’s blog post is dedicated to Islander’s baptismal godmother whose name is Zita. Apparently she was named after her patron saint, Zita of Lucca, Italy (1218-1272), whose feast day is on April 27.

The patroness of domestic servants, poor Zita worked for the Fatinelli family who owned a prosperous wool and silk weaving business in Tuscany. She was sometimes beaten or insulted by them and her jealous co-workers because of her faith. But with patience as a virtue, everyone realized just how valuable she was to the household and eventually her employers changed their attitude and converted to Christianity.

Legend has it that she was late to work on baking day because she stayed a little longer at daily mass or was donating bread to the poor. But there were angels in the kitchen preparing the loaves for Zita to help her catch up with her chores. Today people bake bread in her honor as they celebrate her feast day.

We have done the same by making a no-knead bread. With only four ingredients—and also virtuous patience to let the dough rise—this bread is delicious when dipped in flavored olive oil, toasted and buttered or eaten plain when it is still warm.

Follow the tradition of the Tuscans and bake no-knead bread for the feast day of St. Zita.


Adapted from Sol S.


  • 3 cups bread flour (plus extra)
  • ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water (plus 1-2 tablespoons if needed)


In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, yeast and salt. Stir in the water until a sticky dough forms.

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature or in a dark oven overnight. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface (we use parchment paper for easy cleanup). Use a bench scraper to fold over the dough about 4-5 times.

Pick up the parchment paper and place it all in a large bowl. Cover with a cotton (not terry cloth) towel and let rise at room temperature for two more hours. At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a Dutch oven, covered with lid, into the oven to heat it up. Use gloves to remove the Dutch oven and carefully open the lid. Pick up the whole parchment paper with the dough and dump it in the Dutch oven. Cover and return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes to let the top brown. Take the Dutch oven out. Carefully dump the bread onto a wire rack to cool for another 20-30 minutes, discarding the parchment paper. Cool the bread. Slice and serve with butter, jam/jelly or flavored olive oil dipping sauce.


  • Zita passed away at age 60 at the Fatinelli house where she worked since she was 12 years old (48 years!). Her body lies incorrupt encased in glass where she is venerated at the Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy.
  • Search our blog for other bread or Italian-inspired recipes.