Khubz or khobuz, the Arabic word for bread, is usually used to refer to the oven-baked flatbread also known as pita. Khubz is a traditional Middle Eastern Bread that is considered the foundation of many famous Arabic and Iraqi dishes. During a traditional Iraqi meal, Khubz often replaces utensils such as forks or spoons as it is used to scoop up meat, vegetables, sauces, dips and more.
Khubz is originally baked in a mud oven called tannour which was the ultimate cooking stove in Iraq. Tannour remains almost unchanged to this day in its structure, composition, simplicity and usage. A century ago, every household had a tannour and women were responsible for baking the bread for the family. However, changes started to take place during the second half of the century as public bakeries started to appear and bread was readily available. To start baking in the tannour, its flame is ignited to heat up the mud wall that cooks the bread. The flat bread is placed on top of a round baking pillow and slapped onto the hot inner wall where it sticks nicely. When baked, the bread detaches itself from the wall and Khubz is taken out on a long wooden fork and placed on a rack to cool.
Although often referred to as flatbread, bakery-made Khubz is well over an inch thick, making it look more like a circular loaf than what many would consider “flat”. No matter the thickness, the round shape of Khubz allows for lots of crust, which is ideal for dipping and scooping up.
Different types of flour can be used to make Khubz. This Khubz recipe is for basic white bread, you can use all-purpose flour but it’s preferable to use bread flour. White, wheat, bran and barley are some of the flours that might be used, sesame seeds as well as other types of seeds add a nice touch too. Here’s my twist on making Khubz without the actual use of tannour.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- Prepare the yeast by following the instructions on the envelope.
- Place flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and add in your yeast.
- Mix well until all ingredients are well combined.
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour, the dough will double in size.
- After an hour, knead the dough and divide into small sized balls and leave it for another hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Using a rolling pin, roll each ball out to the desired thickness.
- Optional: sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and make sure to press it into the bread before baking.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: Remember to allow for enough rising time. Also, if you don’t get a golden brown colour, just broil the bread for about 1 minute ensuring that you keep an eye on it to avoid burning. Leftover bread is best frozen if it is not consumed the same day