Although semolina (smida in Moroccan Arabic) is famously used to make pasta or couscous, it also makes a very flavorful, chewy bread. For that purpose, either fine semolina or the more finely ground durum flour may be used.
In Morocco, semolina bread usually takes the shape of khobz, a traditional disc-shaped flatbread, but you'll also find it in baguette or sandwich roll form.
Prepare two baking sheets either by oiling the centers, or by dusting the pans with coarse semolina.
In a large bowl or , combine the fine semolina or durum flour, white flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the yeast.
Add the oil and 1 1/2 cups warm water to the well, mixing to dissolve the yeast first, and then stirring the entire contents of the bowl to incorporate the water into the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Continue kneading for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a smooth circular mound. Roll the mounds in some coarse or fine semolina, pressing the grains gently into the surface of the dough.
Place the dough on the prepared pans and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
After the dough has rested, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into large, flat rounds about 1/4" thick. Cover the loaves with a towel, and leave to rise about one hour or longer, until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
Preheat an oven to 435 F (225 C).
Poke the dough with a fork in several places to create steam vents. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.
Moroccan bread will keep only a day at room temperature, so plan to freeze leftovers. Thaw at room temperature, then reheat in the oven for just-baked freshness.
Like its cousin Moroccan White Bread, Moroccan Semolina bread – or khobz dyal smida – is easy to prepare and perfect for sandwiches, breakfast, tea time or serving with tagines. I like to use half semolina to half white flour, but adjust this ratio to your preference. The more semolina you use, the more yellow in color and chewy in texture the bread will be. Delicious!
The recipe below calls for shaping the dough into two large loaves, which are typically cut into wedges for serving. If you prefer, you can divide and shape the dough into four to six small personal sized loaves.
For other uses for semolina, see Moroccan Semolina Recipes.