Tafernout: Dented Moroccan Flatbread

In the villages right outside of Marrakesh in every direction that takes to the Berber mountains, you’ll find a fantastic bread called tafernout. It is a flat bread made from leavened or unleavened dough baked in a clay oven on a bed of pebbles or medium stones. I have never seen any flat bread like it.

When I lived in Morocco, tafernout was unheard of in cities or anywhere close by; it was reserved to remote villages where it had been secludedly baked for generations. Its popularity has crept up over the years that it is now available as soon as you drive a kilometer or two away from the city at rural joints and roadside restaurants everywhere in the South.

We all know you can bake marvelous flat bread without stones. While they don’t do much to the taste of the bread they do concentrate the heat and distribute it evenly which yields a beautiful texture to the bread and allows for browning throughout, in places where the bread normally stays dull and white.

The result is a bread with dents all over, a toasty aroma, and crispy edges. The bread comes out to your table straight from the oven, often with a burning-hot pebble still stuck inside one of the dimples. Better be careful.

On the road from Agadir back to Marrakesh we stopped at one of the roadside cafes that serves tagines and grilled meats. The smoke from the meats grilling on charcoal smelled so inviting. It was lunch time and we couldn’t resist. As soon as we sat down we ordered tafernout. By the time it was baked the rest of our lunch was at the table too. We enjoyed tafernout with succulent grilled kefta and merguez followed by fall-off-the-bone goat meat tagine. All tasted fabulous.

Hmm, perhaps you and I should try making tafernout at home. I think simply preheating a baking sheet lined with pebbles in the oven will do the trick.  It should be a fun experiment. What do you think?


10 Responses to “Tafernout: Dented Moroccan Flatbread”

  1. 1

    sher — 08/07/2012 @ 9:46 am

    I was thinking the same thing on lining a baking sheet with pebbles to try it out. I lived in Morocco 2007-2010 and loved that bread! If you try it out, please blog it!

  2. 2

    Nisrine — 08/07/2012 @ 12:56 pm

    Sher – I will certainly blog it if I try it out. Hopefully soon.

  3. 3

    Joy — 08/08/2012 @ 1:19 am

    Ah – here’s another incentive to get that wood fired oven built. And I love the idea of using heated pebbles – very likely that I’ll get the pebbles collected long before the oven’s even started! Thanks Nisrine!

  4. 4

    Dawn — 08/08/2012 @ 4:12 am

    OMG I am DROOLING over the flatbread!

  5. 5

    Sue — 08/08/2012 @ 5:51 am

    So interesting. I love reading your blog and the photography is beautiful. Would you please explain the photos at the end. Is that the tagine?

  6. 6

    Nisrine — 08/09/2012 @ 7:26 am

    Sue, the picture with grilled meats has merguez sausage and ground beef. The last pic is the goat meat tagine with veggies.

  7. 7

    Russell van Kraayenburg — 08/09/2012 @ 7:37 am

    So many great shots! I wish I had an oven like that!

  8. 8

    Sue — 08/09/2012 @ 8:21 pm

    Thanks for the reply, Nisrine, but I meant the other pics of all the pottery and is that charcoal?. Some of the cones are double stacked. Is that just for storage? It looks the the tops of the cones are plugged up? Why is the lid a cone and not just a flat pot lid? Maybe in a future post you could explain how they are using tagines at this place and how I might use one in my kitchen.

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    foodwanderings — 08/12/2012 @ 8:29 am

    Beautiful post Nisrine. So happy you introduced this bread to us, What a fabulous little trick, the pebbles and the rocks. I haven’t seen anything quiet like that as of yet! :)

  10. 10

    Thara — 08/19/2012 @ 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the information on this unique bread. I was hoping to see a recipe. Will you be posting one? Great blog!

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