This video offers an introduction to baking bread in sand heated by a fire of brushwood. This particular version is made by a Berber but it is a technique that is widespread in desert regions. The YouTube videos documenting the method tend not to offer much information on the dough and how one version might differ from another. It seems to be a process that limits baking to one bread at a time. If any of you know whether a second bread can be baked in the same hot sand and embers, please leave a comment. I haven’t tested this method.
These two videos offer a good look at what the bread looks like while other videos offer more detail on how to handle the fire and heat the sand.
This video starts towards the end of the process of creating an oven of hot embers and sand. We first see the bread after it is is within the oven and clearly partly baked. Based on other videos I’d guess that they are uncovering it to check it after about 10 minutes. I start with this video because it lets us see that the finished bread — at least this baker’s version – is crunchy.
This the second video produced by this filmaker. We get a really good look at the finished bread.
This video is in two parts.
The first video offers a particularly clear look at exactly how the fire is scraped away from the flatbread and clarifies that the bread is baked in hot sand, not on embers or even in this case a mixture of embers and sand. The tourist who is filming asks the guide who bakes the bread a question that elicits the answer that this little bread is just for show. If he were in the desert for several days he’d make a large fire over a wide area and bake a very large bread, one that would last for days. This points up the risks of assuming from videos and demonstrations that what one is seeing is, in every detail, the true local practice.
In this second video the bread is taken out of the sand. One sees the extreme care with with the bread is scraped with a knife to be sure there is no sand sticking to it.
This video offers a very clear look at the effort that at least this baker goes to in order to insure that there is no sand or ash sticking to the final bread. The baker also reminds us that this bread is smaller than the Bedouin make when out in the desert on their own.
Detail of interest: the flour dusted depressing. This video is made up of a series of stills. We do lose some technical information, particularly regarding how the ash and embers are swept out from the sand. But there is one detail in this video I haven’t seen in others. The bottom of the heated depression is dusted with flour prior to the bread being put down, presumably to reduce the amount of sand that might adhere to the finished bread. I haven’t noticed this on any of the other YouTube videos. Does anyone know whether this is a common practice or perhaps something just done for the tourist demonstration?
This is a truly extraordinary video. The text provided by the film maker identifies the bread as follows:
This is on the edge of the Sahara Desert near Zagora, Morocco. The locals make bread by placing the dough on heated rocks and cooking the top with palm fronds. The dough is then buried in the heated sand and left to bake thoroughly. Later it will be dug up, brushed off, and eaten warm.
Note that the bread is set over a very clear bed of hot rocks that seem not to have ash on them so they were presumably brushed off. The rink of rocks is perfect. Burning palm fronds are then being held over the breads to both illuminate the scene, but I also think to help set the to crust before the hot sand is poured over them.
The video does not offer the source of that hot sand. If you know something about this please post a comment. Thank you.