Sara Ozeri’s Chubzeh (Yemenite Sabbath Bread)

I love Maggie Glezer’s book A Blessing of Bread. Every recipe from it has been stellar. If I could change the book, I would add in more pictures, especially of the Sephardic bread. I know what Eastern European challah is supposed to taste and look like, but Yemenite Chubzeh? I am not so sure . . . .

That being said, the recipe for Chubzeh (p. 258) produced a wonderful loaf of bread.

The dough is lean–just water, flour, salt, yeast, and a tiny speck of sugar to aid browning. The dough is very well mixed to fully develop the gluten and baked at a very hot temperature. The result is a dark crusted bread with a large open crumb. It felt strange to serve this kind of bread as a challah, but Glezer explains that the heavily egg/oil/sugar enriched challot of Ashkenzi tradition is not always acceptable to non-Ashkenazi Jews because it is more like cake than bread.

I had problems with the recipe, which calls for making four loaves, letting them triple, and then gently flattening them to make 6″ rounds. My dough balls were about 6″ in diameter before proofing! So, I wasn’t sure how much to proof or flatten after proofing. My kitchen was cold, and I let the dough proof longer than suggested. Even so, I think the dough needed to rise more, and I needed to flatten the bread more before baking.

The resulting bread had an interesting interior: large holes on the sides and on top, but a denser crumb inside. Was the underproofing and wrong shaping the problem? I’m guessing so. The crust was supposed to soften after cooling and be thin, but my crust was thick and hard, even after cooling.


Also interesting: each loaf “blew out” in the same place and in the same way as they baked. Each loaf has a little bit of bread that has pushed out from the side:

Sending this over to YeastSpotting.

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10 Responses to “Sara Ozeri’s Chubzeh (Yemenite Sabbath Bread)”

  1. Mia Says:

    That book sure sounds wonderful!
    well the lovely bread sure doesnt look like it had probs , glad it turned well!
    Happy sunshine new year to ya!

  2. Joanne Says:

    The inside of that bread looks a lot like Italian bread! Love the texture!

  3. Chavi Samet Says:

    I love that book! Even though I own it, when I spotted it in a bookstore in Israel (I was so surprised!) I wanted to buy it again!!

    Guess I should try the non Ashkenazi breads for Shabbat now…. a good excuse to bake bread..

  4. Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) Says:

    Laura – responding to your question about Bodek veggies on my blog (hope you don’t mind my responding here): I used to be like you and only used the kosher stuff. But then I read through the instructions on Star K website and it’s pretty easy to check your own. I have really good lights in my kitchen and I find that I save a lot of money and eat a lot more varied produce this way. You should give it a try!

  5. Bejma: Tunisian Challah « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] challah recipes: Moroccan Challah (Joan Nathan) Yemenite Challah, Chubzeh (Maggie Glezer) Sarah Schecht’s Challah (NYT) Stollen-style Challah Food Processor Challah (Charles Van Over) […]

  6. Leah Says:

    These delicious-looking loaves resemble good crusty bread more than Khubzeh. Khubzeh is a thick, dense, yet soft, pita. The top outer layer comes out thin; it bakes unevenly, with some burnt spots where there were large air sacs. The crumb here looks drier than Khubzeh’s.

    To achieve desired results, flatten the dough with wet hands before baking. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on top of the baking stone/sheet and lay the dough over it. Yemenite bakers keep a bowl with lukewarm water next to work area to wet their hands. Khubzeh requires less proofing time than other yeast breads, such as Hallah.

    You have inspired me to bake it for the coming Shabbat.

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