3 delicious Egyptian bread recipes, shared by an Egyptian native
Authentic Egyptian breads date back thousands of years ago, and are still popular today.
Egyptian native Abanoub Botros, an avid foodie, originally from Alexandria, shares his favorite Egyptian bread recipes.
BREAD OF THE SUN (Lesh elshamsy)
About the dish:
Lesh elshamsy, or “Bread of the Sun”, is the most popular staple bread in Upper Egypt today.
However, it is depicted on ancient tomb wall inscriptions, and is considered to have first been prepared in ancient Egypt circa 7,000 BC.
It was the main bread on table of food, as well as an offering to gods. It was also placed with the mummies in their tombs, in accordance with the ancient Egyptian belief in the afterlife.
Ancient Egyptians used the bread to denote social class distinctions:
High-level bread was made out of wheat flour; Mid-level bread was prepared with barley flour. The Poor man’s brown bread was made out of wild cereal flour.
In order to make Bread of the Sun, you need to follow the six steps below carefully, and to be patient.
1 kg wheat flour
2 cups warm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon spoon salt
- Place the yeast in a small pot, add flour and warm water, and mix together by hand until the mixture turns liquid.
Cover the pot well and leave to stand until morning.
- Keep kneading the dough again, until you feel it is ready.
- Cut the dough into small balls carefully, ensuring all pieces are equal in size.
- Spread flour on top of a wooden disc, and place the small balls on top carefully.
- Leave it under direct sun to rest for half an hour.
- Finally, Egyptians use a palm leaf to make the bread circular and write “11” on top of it to signify the god of the sun, Ra. Alternatively, make any shape of your liking on top.
EGYPTIAN FATTEER (Meshaltet) Bread
About the dish:
Fatter (Meshaltet) Bread is one of the most popular breads in Egypt. Around the world, it is known as “French bread”, but in fact it dates back to ancient Egypt.
In Upper Egypt, people prepare it with various fillings, either savory, or sweet. In Alexandria or Cairo, it is filled with meat, cheese, or jam and sweets.
In some regions of the country, it has no filling, but it is still delicious (and cheap!).
500 grams wheat flour
1.5 cups of water
Half a teaspoon of sugar
Half a teaspoon of salt
Any filling of your choice
- Mix all ingredients together until you feel the dough has turned into one big soft ball.
Leave it for 30 minus to relax.
- Cutting it into small balls, paint it with oil or fat, then leave the small balls for another 30 minutes to relax.
- Knead each ball, roll it out spreading it out as much as possible.
- Place each rolled out ball on top of the previous one. After packing five of them, place whatever filling you like inside.
- After you finish stacking 10 rolled out balls, try to roll out the one piece to stretch it around, and then paint the top of it with oil, so that it will turn crispy.
- Beak in oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 200-250 degrees, and check if ready.
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EGYPTIAN BREAD STUFFED WITH MINCED MEAT (Hawawshi, or Hewish)
“Hewish” traditional Egyptian bread is extremely popular in Egypt, and specifically in Alexandria. It is a type of pita bread filled with minced meat, pepper, onions, sometimes hot pepper.
Ingredients for the pita bread:
3 cups of milk slightly warmed up. Be careful, “just” warm.
1 kg. flour
If you would like to add extra spiciness, add a teaspoon of oregano.
Ingredients for the filling:
350 to 500 gram of minced meat, preferably fatty beef.
2 onions chopped as small as possible.
Add as much parsley as possible, according to your liking.
Salt, black pepper, spicy pepper, ginger, cumin, according to your preference.
For the filling:
In order for the flavors to be absorbed, prepare and mix the filling a day before preparing the bread, and leave covered in the fridge.
For the dough:
- Mix all ingredients together until bubbles appear, and then leave the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes to expand.
Add 350-500 grams of wheat flour, cover the dough, and leave covered for 15 minutes.
- Cut the dough into two parts, roll the dough out into two circles. Place the meat in the center, on top of one circle, place to second dough circle on top and close the edges. The result should look like a pita bread shape. Careful not to press it too hard so that you do not break or tear it.
- Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 200-250 degrees Celsius.
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Fancy trying out more recipes from around the world? Try Toffee Arepa from Latin America.