Saj Bread

by Sarah on April 9, 2009

In Israel Saj bread is made by the Bedouins, Druze, Kurds and Arabs. Each group has a different technique but it is usually rolled out or slapped between the hands to produce thin circular bread. A saj looks like an upside down wok which is heated from below, either by a wood fire or gas burner.
In my backyard I make saj bread using a wood fire, making sure my neighbor’s laundry is not hanging out to dry because I am sure she doesn’t want the baby’s clothes to stink of smoke. Once I roll out the dough, I use a pillow to transfer it to the saj. Traditionally the Kurds make the bread on a little round table while sitting on the ground and roll the dough out thinly with a rolling pin, not by slapping it between the hands.
This week end we went on a small camping trip the Negev desert and we brought along a mini saj to use over the camp fire. The dough I prepared before we left was too hydrated and very difficult to work with, sticking to everything, a problem in the desert. Still it was great fun to make the dough, perhaps even as much fun as roasting marshmallows.
Kurdish saj bread consists of only flour, salt and water although other groups sometimes add yeast to theirs.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaya April 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm

What a great photo of the kids with the saj.

I just adore bread made on the saj. Each year the Lebanese community in our city brings one out to their annual food festival. They make it plain or with herbs. It’s the perfect texture, chewy yet crispy.

This blog is so informative, with beautiful photos and delicious looking food. Bravo!

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Sarah April 9, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Shaya, I am having a great time blogging. The lebanese food festival sounds like something I would love. Thanks for your comments!

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Celeste February 9, 2010 at 9:39 am

Ah, I remember that bread in Jordan. In fact, one of my photos was of the cook standing near the saj. He was very please to have his photo taken.
I always wondered what it was called esp. when trying to describe it to my friends.

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