Algerian bread – Kersa is a delicacy I fell in love with, even though I am not so much into bread. This recipe is very simple but yet will make you travel!
Traveling in the North African countries you realize, that the bread there is holy. The consumption of wheat is enormous. This include not only bread but also pasta and couscous.
The holy bread and the origin of Kesra
As Algeria was a French colony, the most common bread is the baguette, which you will see everywhere. However, traditional bread, which was before French occupation was mostly round and flat. If you have ever been to the Sahara Desert in Morocco or Tunisia , you surely tried the bread made in the sand.
Kesra is an Algerian bread native to Eastern part of the country that is semolina-based and has the shape of a round flatbread. You’ll find many other names according to which region of Algeria you are in: Ftira shorter nickname of Khoubz f’tir, Kesra khsiss, Aghroum akouran or Aghroum aqouran, Kesra Mbessa Rakhsis, Galette Algérienne de Semoule or even كسرة مبسة.
Traditionally, Khoubz f’tir only consists in semolina, oil, salt, water, and… that’s it!
Kesra is an essential accompaniment to soups in Algeria such as chorba or harira, but also butter, milk and buttermilk. Some people eat it along with coffee or tea and some, like me, can eat it all without any additional things. Having kesra on the plate sometimes could’t wait for the soup to arrive. Fresh Khoubz f’tir is crunchy and a little sweet.
Kesra – Algerian bread recipe
To prepare Kesra, the Algerians use a cast iron pan with embossed circle lines at the bottom. If you do not have this special pan like me, no problem. I used a regular frying pan, and it was fine.
The original recipe for kesra requires medium grained semolina, though, I could’t find it. I used only fine grained semolina.
Ingredients for the basic version of Khoubz f’tir:
‣ 1 cup of fine-grained semolina
‣ 1 cup of medium-grained semolina
‣ ¼ cup of olive oil
‣ 1 tsp of salt
‣ almost 1 cup of water
Mix the semolina with the salt and olive oil with your finger tips until it resembles wet sand. Add water. Gently mix to form a smooth dough. Let the dought to rest for 30 minutes. Devide the dough into 2 for large galettes or for more if you prefer the bread more flat. Using the heal of your hand or rolling pin flatten the ball to a thickness of 1 cm – ½ in.
Prick with a fork all over the galette. Cook on a medium-low fire for about 3 minutes then turn the galette clockwise to obtain even browning. Flip to the other side. E voila!
You can serve it with all types of soups and casseroles or salads as well as a snack with butter or jam.
Of course there are other variations from a basic version of ftira. Some people prepare kesra with addition of yeast and regular flour. Myself, I added to the traditional version sunflowers seeds and it was extremely delicious! Next time, I am planning to try with the black seeds! Let me know, which version you tried and share your thoughts in the comment!
I love to bring recipes from my trips! Kesra was my favorite food discovery in Algeria. Therefore, preparing Algerian bread feels like traveling again.