Arab Bread Comes in Different Shapes and Tastes
By: Yaseen Rashed/Arab America Contributing writer
The Arab World is a region that is rich with culture and heritage. One of the most prominent staples of the region is its food, which is always paired with bread. The Arab world and Arab Americans love bread and you can find it being baked and sold seven days a week to satisfy the demand. However, different Arab regions have different ways of making bread. The following are some of the different kinds of Arab bread: f
Pita Bread–Khubz ‘Arabee
Pita bread is perhaps the most famous of the Arab bread. Found conveniently in most middle eastern restaurants here in the US. It has become synonymous with Middle Eastern food. It’s relatively easy to make as it only requires a few ingredients: flour, yeast, olive oil and a pinch of salt. The end result is a beautiful flatbread that pairs well with dishes of the Levant region, such as hummus, falafel, baba ganoush, and many other stews that are scooped with Pita bread. This type of Arab bread, Pita, is also convenient as it’s easy to store in the fridge or freezer for a long time. Another simple way to accommodate pita on the go is making cheese sandwiches with harissa or hot sauce.
Saj Bread–Markook Shrek
Saj bread originates from the Levant region of the middle east dating back to the 9th century. Saj bread is a large flatbread that is far thinner than pita. Specifically made in the southern parts of Syria and Lebanon, this bread pairs well with shawarma and soups as well as rolling it up as a sandwich. It is baked on a domed or convex metal griddle, known as saj. The dough is unleavened and usually made with only flour, water, and salt, therefore giving it its iconic flat look.
What makes this bread unique is that it is layered and folded with butter or ghee inside which makes it very tasty. You will most likely find this bread in the many restaurants in Sanaa, Aden, Hodeidah or other parts of the country. Its thick crunchy crust allows this bread to be enjoyed with sweet stuff like honey or halva as well as a cup of tea. This bread versatile use can make it a classic for the region.
The Chebab bread is traditionally from the Gulf and is very similar to the typical American pancake. This Dish is enjoyed mainly in celebrations like Eids, Christmas, and weddings, as its mainly a sweet bread. This type of bread gets its name from “cheb” meaning “turning over,” or flipping it till it’s brown on both sides. The bread is made from yeast, flour, melted butter, saffron and other ingredients that add to its flavorful taste. Chehab is traditionally served with chammi, a cheesy dish that is prepared by boiling yogurt with salt.
Sphynz is fried bread that was originated from the bedouin regions of northern Africa. This bread consists of flour, water, and yeast. It’s separated into little chunks and fried to a golden crisp. This is usually prepared for breakfast alongside eggs, cream cheese, or even honey. This is a staple of the region, especially in the harsh winters.