Fatma Bahkach, 59 years old – Aghrimz, Morocco
Fatma is nearly 60 and her husband is of the same age. They have got two sons, 36 and 34 years old, and a 6-year grandson. They all live together in the same house, the first son’s wife included. However, she is the only cook in the house. “Cooking for the family is my job”, she claims, while telling me that all the other members of the family work in the fields from dawn to dusk. “Dinner is the only time of the day when we are all together under the same roof, because for lunch I usually prepare something that I bring to the field where the others work”.
Bat Bot – (Berber bread baked in a pan)
Time: about 4 hours (since you need to let the dough rise for 2 hours and then rest for 1 hour under a cloth)
– brewer’s yeast
– oil (olive or seed oil)
The Berber bread is not so different from the Italian one. The ingredients are the same and the process of making it is substantially very similar. The difference is in the shape and baking. The Berber bread is cooked in a cast iron pan and looks like the Italian schiacciata (a flat loaf of bread), but it is softer and less crusty.
Let’s have a look at the preparation:
Shape the flour (about half a kilo) into a mountain in a wooden pasteboard and make a hole inside it as if it were a volcano. Pour a spoon of brewer’s yeast and one of salt into the hole.
Now pour gently some water into the hole and whisk with a fork all the ingredients.
When the dough becomes harder, you can start working it with your hands until it gets smooth and uniform.
Let the dough rise for two hours.
When it is ready, roll it out until you get flat disks with a diameter of 20 cm and 1cm thin. Let the disks rest for one hour under a cloth.
At this point, heat a cast iron pan, after having slightly oiled it.
Cook the disks of dough for 5 minutes without turning them. There is no exact time of cooking, you should check it yourself if you need more or less time. The heated disks should puff up and become soft inside, with a thin crispy crust outside.
You can eat the bread plain or you can stuff it with whatever you want.