How to make Moroccan Mlaouis: recipe and tutorial

Mlaouis (Meloui for one) are done with the same dough used for Msemmens or Rghaifs. They're just shaped differently with a few differences in the dough depending on the texture we're after. 

Mlaouis look a bit like Indian parathas in shape. They also come plain or filled.


I explained the difference between Mlaouis, Msemmens and Rghaifs in this post. You will also find a bit of history for your reading pleasure.


Different Mlaouis: Leavened plain, filled with khlii or
 spiced onion mix or just plain

For better results, we add a bit more yeast than a Msemmen dough or we turn a bread dough to Mlaoui. They're called Mlaoui Mekhtamerine or Mkhamereen (Leavened Mlaouis). They're irresistible.

Even the ratio fine semolina flour to plain white floor may vary from a family to another but good Mlaouis tend to use more fine semolina flour than Mlaouis.


A large Meloui made and sold in a Sunday market in Casa.
This dough has no yeast in it

Mlaouis are freezer-friendly. You just need to heat the batch in a hot oven or individually in a pan. They will find their texture back. Just avoid using a microwave all the way through (when I forget to thaw one, I put it in the microwave for a few seconds only and finish off in a hot pan).

It is important that you use fine semolina flour in the dough as well as during the lamination as it gives an authentic texture and help separating the layers while they puff.


Fine semolina flour, called la'hrech or finot in Morocco, is a bit yellowish with a slightly coarser texture as compared to the usual plain flour.

Left: fine semolina flour, Right: coarse semolina. Not the same.

There are a few ways of shaping Mlaouis. One of them is really so simple that anyone can get started with that . We'll see two of them, the more traditional ones.

This is a basic recipe for the dough and how to shape it. We do serve them plain and filled (more recipes to come).

A French version of this recipe is posted here.


I'm sending this to Susan's weekly event at yeastspotting.



Ingredients
Serves 8 - 10 
Prep: 30 min - Rest and proofing: 90 min- Cooking: 3 min/pancake

Main dough
  • 350 g of strong white bread flour
  • 150 g of fine semolina flour 
  • 1/2 tsp of dried instant yeast (1 1/2 tsp for Mlaoui Mkhamrine)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 260-290 ml of water, lukewarm 
For shaping and laminating
  • 100 g of butter, at room temperature with a cream-like texture
  • 100 ml of vegetable oil
  • 200 g of fine semolina flour

One meloui on the right and one small Msemmna on the left

Preparation

Prepare the dough

In a small glass, mix the yeast with a few tbsps of barely warm water. Stir.

In a bowl, place the flours, salt and yeast (each in one side). Add the water to 3/4 and start mixing either by hand or by machine.

The dough need to be thoroughly kneaded to become smooth and soft without being sticky. It takes about 20 minutes by hands and 10 minutes with a KitchenAid.

The achieve the desired dough texture, gradually add the other 1/4 of water according to the absorption of the flours used.

You could leave the dough, covered, to rest for 15 min (in cold weather) or skip this step if the weather is too warm. For Mlaouis Mkhamrine, let the dough rise for 45-60 min at room temperature.

Shape Mlaouis easy method

Oil your hands as well as the dough. Depending how big or small you want the Mlaouis to be. Form slightly thick sausages and roll them. Their length will define the width of Mlaouis. At all times, you should keep the dough as well as the hands oiled.


Place each dough sausage on a generously oiled surface. We usually use a big tray where we place them all. Roll the dough balls in oil and cover with foil or a plastic. Set aside to rest for 10 min. Usually, by the time you're done with the whole dough, you could go back to the first one you shaped and start shaping a Meloui.

Oil the worktop, try to flatten the dough and stretch it in length at the same time. In this method, your dough does not have to be thin to a see-through condition.

You could also start the Meloui shaping the same way we start Msemmen shaping by folding the outer two thirds of a see-through layer of dough on the middle third.

Smear with butter and sprinkle with fine semolina flour. Avoid tearing the dough.

Now, hold one end of dough with one hand and roll it from the other end with the other while stretching. Keep rolling tight while leaving the edges neat. It should look like this (see pictures below).



Tuck the ends inside and set aside for 10 min.

Second method for shaping Mlaoui

Literally start the same way we do for Msemmen. Once the two thirds of the thin dough layer are folder on the middle one without getting to the square shape. Smear the dough with butter and sprinkle it with fine semolina flour in length. Fold the dough again (3rd picture top right).

Stretch the dough in length again. Again, a tiny bit of butter and a sprinkle of semolina flour.

Shaping Mlaouis second method. 2 rolls in the middle of Msemmen waiting to be flattened to  round-shaped Mlaouis
Like the previous method, hold one end of dough with one hand and roll it from the other end with the other while stretching. Keep rolling tight while leaving the edges neat. It should look like this (see pictures above).


Flatten Mlaoui rolls

Flatten the first roll you made to 2 mm thick round Meloui.

Set aside while you carry on with the rest of the dough rolls. This allows them to proof a bit (15-20 min).

Pan-fry each one on medium-heat for 3 mins or so.

Plain and khlii-filled Mlaouis being pan-fried.

Serve warm with a good glass of hot tea.

Freeze extra Mlaouis once cooled.





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