Tunisian Spicy Breads-Bread Baking Babes Like It Hot

Tunisian Spicy Breads

I like it hot and this month’s Bread Baking Babes bread is fantastic! I say that despite the fact that I managed to mess it up quite a lot, the bread was too thick and and they didn’t keep together as they should have but we loved every bite of them. I will definitely make them again, both with the aim of improving my poor exhibition and so that we eat these little treasures again! And next time Ithink I will pan fry them just to try it.It was Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies who made this excellent choice for this month BBB challenge and I highly recommend you to join us as a Bread Baking Buddy or just bake it on your own, you can read the details on how to join over at Natashya’s blog. Do take a look at the rest of the Babes´s Spicy Breads so that you can see what they really should look like!

Tunisian Spicy Breads

Tunisian Spicy Breads – Touarits
from Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou

Makes 20-22 small breads


For the dough
3 1/3 tsp (1 1/2 pkg) (16.5 ml) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups (828 ml) fine semolina or semolina flour
1 1/2 (7.5 ml) tsp fine kosher salt or sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the breads
1 whole egg
All purpose flour for kneading and shaping

For the filling
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 heaping cup) (250+ ml)
1 medium bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup) (178 ml approx)
2 small chili peppers, such as serranos, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) harissa
1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine kosher salt or sea salt


– Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water and stir until creamy.
– Combine the semolina and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the 1 1/2 Tbsps (22 ml) olive oil and the egg to the well. Gradually add the yeast and 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsps (188 ml total) warm water, bringing in the semolina as you go along. Knead until you have a rough ball of dough.
– Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest while the filling is prepared.
– Make the filling: Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until golden. Add the tomatoes, chopped peppers, harissa, and cayenne. Season with salt to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is soft and the sauce is very thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
– Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place on a lightly floured work surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
– Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Roll out one ball of dough until it is 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) thick. Using a 3 1/2 inch (8.9 cm approx) pastry cutter, cut out as many circles of dough as possible and set aside. Briefly knead the extra dough together, and place under the plastic wrap, next to the other ball of dough. Turn the circles over and place 1 tsp (5 ml) of filling in the middle of half of the circles. Cover with the remaining plain circles and press on the edges to seal. Flatten the breads slightly by hand and pinch the edges to flatten further and seal well. Brush with olive oil on both sides and transfer to a non-stick baking sheet, or to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone pastry mat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. continue making the breads until the dough, including the scraps, is used up.
– Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly crisp and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Note: To pan-fry the breads, heat a little oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place as many breads as will fit in the pan, brush the tops with olive oil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden on the bottom, pressing on the breads if they puff up. Turn the breads over, brush the cooked bottoms with oil, and cook for 3 minutes more, or until golden all over. Serve immediately.

Tunisian Spicy Breads