What is Khubz?
Khubz, the Arabic word for “bread” is a version of flatbread enjoyed in the Middle East and Northern Africa. This famous Middle Eastern bread is similar to pita bread, though it is considerably larger. Traditionally, khubz is unleavened bread, which is to say, it is made without yeast, baking soda, sourdough culture or any leavening ingredient.
Khubz originated from the Iranian bread nun and the Indian tandoori bread naan. Khubz can be enjoyed as a delicious wrapper or dipper for other foods. Its shelf life is remarkably longer than one would expect for simple bread. Khubz, like its counterpart naan, is chewier and has more depth than most unleavened breads. Like many other cultural flatbreads, khubz is now enjoyed throughout the world.
As with most traditional breads, part of the enjoyment of khubz is the process of making it. The khubz dough is rolled or flattened into a pie shape. The dough is then attached to the side of a special, hot, stone oven and baked to perfection. By slapping the dough to the wall of the stone oven, it will stick and cook until bubbling and brown. The finished khubz is removed with a long wire hook. Even the process of making khubz is very similar to the technique used to make naan bread, baked in a tandoori hot brick oven.
Though flatbreads have been expressed in every part of the world, each has it’s own unique version that makes it a cultural experience. Many also hold religious significance in the preparation and consumption of them. Flatbreads have been a part of the dietary cuisine in ancient Egypt, as well as Ancient India and China. Most are made in a similar fashion, using hot bricks; stones, iron pans or direct flames to quick cook the breads.
Edward de Bono, PhD posed an interesting consideration in 2000, which noted people in regions consuming unleavened breads seemed to maintain excessively low levels of zinc in their blood chemistry. A known side effect from zinc-depletion is aggression. With khubz being a major factor in the local diet in and around the Arabian Peninsula, Dr. de Bono suggested sending quantities of yeast extract (Marmite) to supplement the people. Though no one questioned his findings, his suggestion received a less than enthusiastic response. In addition, most modern recipes of khubz include yeast as a rising agent.
The appreciation of khubz and all cultural flatbreads continues to be passed down through each generation. Even opposing cultures agree and share the commonality of this staple of life we all share and enjoy.
Does anyone know a recipe for khubz?
The best ways to eat khubz is with hummus or labna. You can make both of these dips at home. Especially labna is so easy to make. Just buy some plain yogurt and strain out the water for several hours until its thick. Add some salt to your liking and pour a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some oregano on top. This is such a tasty dip to have with khubz or any pita bread. My family is from the Middle East and for some reason, we don't enjoy having really heavy meals. We have a variety of cheeses, olives, hummus, labna, tomatoes and peppers with khubz practically everyday, followed by tea of course. Its really great when you're sick too, my mom always makes lentil soup with khubz and I'm better right away :)
Dr. de Bono's claim about flat breads and aggression is interesting, I had never heard of zinc depletion resulting in aggressive behavior before. In fact, I've actually heard that breads without yeast are better for health. I have family members with diabetes and they were warned by doctors to stay away from foods that have yeast because it increases their blood sugar. I always prefer flat breads to others. I hope I won't have zinc depletion!
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