Lebanese bread is the generic term for different types of breads native to the Lebanese cuisine, though the term also encompasses popular Australian flatbreads. It is a flatbread and the local meat fillings and spreads used to flavor the bread are extremely enticing. It is quite different from the European breads, as it is not suitable for preparation in a western oven or toaster, but rather cooked traditionally on griddle or mud oven with charcoal. However, modern cooking techniques like electric ovens are now being used to make these breads. Flatbread in Lebanon or in other Middle-eastern countries is relatively similar to the Indian roti that is typically served with gravy as well as dry dishes. Roti is generally prepared with wheat flour, but it is the white flour and yeast dough that makes the Lebanese bread more elastic and puffed.
History of Lebanese Bread Recipe
Fresh bread has been the indispensable part of Lebanese cuisine since 1516 when Ottoman Turks ruled Lebanon and influenced largely the food culture of the country. Since then bread is a staple for Lebanese people and it is served with almost all Lebanese dishes.
Popular Lebanese Breads
- Pita bread – This is a highly popular Lebanese bread that is also known as ‘pocket bread’ due to its meat and spreads holding capacity. Pita bread is a puffed flatbread that is typically prepared with white flour and yeast dough. This bread is normally baked at very high temperature to allow the dough to puff up perfectly. When the pita is deflated, a pocket remains inside the bread that is used to fill hummus, kebabs, falafel and other fillings. This pocket bread is generally eaten in sandwich style.
- Khubz – Also spelled as khobz or khoubz, it is a normal round flatbread in Lebanese as well as middle-eastern cuisines. Special mud ovens or tandoors are used to make this bread and it can be served with almost all kinds of Lebanese dishes.
- Marquq – Quite similar to Khubz, this paper thin Lebanese bread is prepared on a convex grill on the stovetop. It is also a variation of ‘roomali roti’ of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. The ingredients list is exactly similar to the khubz including white flour, yeast and salt.
Health Facts Related to Lebanese Bread Recipe
Lebanese bread is generally made of white flour that is said to be bleached before being used for cooking. The bleaching process removes the chromium from the flour, and chromium-free flour is not recommended for diabetic patients. However, white flour contains double the calcium than whole-wheat flour and it is fortified with iron, niacin and thiamin. Lebanese bread is also a good source of starch and proteins.
Bread eating in Lebanon is extremely crucial for the natives as they call it ‘esh’ that means ‘life’ in Arabic.