Where did it Come from?

Am doing a project at work on bakery products, and it really hit me! why don’t I write my next article on popular breads in #Saudi? In this article you will learn where the bread we daily eat came from! A delicious #sensorial #history

If you spent your childhood in Saudi, you must remember going with Daddy to this small yet heavenly aromatic shop; has a “built in the wall” oven.. on the other end of the oven is a crowd of people (just like you, Daddies and children) looking at the oven! waiting for the brownish beauties to come out, the happy ending to this story is just a joyful fight over picking your freshly baked and warm breads and fill them in your bag. Dose this pleasant fight bring you any flashbacks? Are you thinking of Samouli? Ever asked yourself where did it come from?

First things first, how to say bread in Arabic: Khobez (Kho’ Be’Z) خبز. This is the most common name in Saudi. Common name in the Western region is: Aish عيش.

Samouli

60 years ago, a Somalian baker came to Jeddah and opened his “Al-Somali bakery shop” introducing this long spongy brown colored, easy to tear by fingers from the middle breads. He never thought this bread will be Saudi Children’s favorite take to school snack! (there is a casual Saudi rab song says: The kids wants Samoli!العيال يبون صامولي yes it is this popular). Stories says the name came from Essa AlSomali who brought it to us (Somali – Samouli) and some say it comes from the Italian Semolina bread – Either way we are super grateful to Mr. Al-Somali. In Kuwait & Iraq they call it Samoon (might be from the Turkish or Greek name SOMUN), in Egypt: Feno.

Super moist and soft (nothing like Baggett despite the similarities), Though the top layer looks brown, but it is not a hard crust. Spongy sweet with hints of milky flavor. The bestie of this bread is Spreadable cream cheese, or as we call it cheese in cups (جبن كاسات). It goes from children’s snack to adults snack by adding a cup of Tea with mint to the mix

One of the greatest innovations that satisfies millions of Saudis is L’usine cheese sandwich. Traditional L’usine Samouli moist soft bread, filled with Almarai spreadable cream cheese. Convenient choice for all ages honestly. Give it a try and share with me your thoughts!

Tamees

Tammez in Farsi (means clean), Came all the way from Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia ages ago through Pilgrims, and became very popular ever since and never left our breakfast table. Tamees bakery shop is designed to sell only Tamees bread, opens at 5 AM with a long cue of people from all society classes waiting already. Tamees is the best companion for Foul on breakfasts- Specially Friday breakfasts (our official weekend), it is also a common breakfast in Ramadan in the Western region – like daily ritual meal.

Fun Facts: Fact 1- it still hold it’s price as 1 SAR despite all the tax changes happening in the country. Fact 2- It never arrives home in one piece (whoever is brining it home, has to have few bites)

Tamees is a wide flat bread, that has small holes all over it; it’s randomly shaped. The texture is a mix of Crunchy crust and moist crumb. It puffs in certain areas of the surface forming big empty bubbles. Very basic bready taste, with hint of low sweetness. The crunchy texture when it’s a little bit dry makes it taste like unsweetened biscuits. What makes it distinguish in my opinion is the size; Among the many varieties of flat bread around the world, it is the only one blessed with such a diameter. Originally, no many ingredients are added to it; very recently new variants are becoming popular, such as: Biscuit Tamees (dry extra crunchy version), Sweet Tamees (rock sugar, sesame & ghee are added), Cheese Tamees (filled with shredded orange cheddar cheese)

Flat Breads

Flat breads are very common in Saudi regardless if its made in the middle eastern way (from Levant cities or Egypt) called Arabic Bread (Pitta), or the Asian (Indian) way – Naan thin breads. Usually used as the carrier for vegetable stocks, and to accompany most of our meals. Thicker flat breads are more common in Saudi. Every house in Saudi has its own preference for the flat bread consumed on daily basis, usually there is a bakery shop in the neighborhood that the family deal with for +10 years. These breads are not intense in flavor, as their usual consumption is with food, not sweet, not bitter weak bready flavors present.

Future Trends for Bakery Companies

Zaatar & Sumac Babka from @Baking10_

Bakery segment is growing radically in the past 5 years. It is an area that Saudi consumers are always curios to discover more about, whether it is a renovated local product or completely a new non local product (such as Babka – very trending in Saudi now!). Try @Baking10_ shop on Instagram

Saudis are experimenting at this stage of their lives! Go crazy as much as you can: put out new flavors, new blends, unexpected ingredients (and you will find yourself all over social media)

With the increased awareness among Saudis, the more demand for products to meet their needs; such as: Gluten free, High fibers low carbs, Vegetarian/ Vegan options, fortified products. The key here is AVILABLE + AFFORDABLE, and I promise you; you’ll sell like you never did!

It’s time for you to share below, which breads have you tried in Saudi, do you know other types other than the listed in this article?

This Article is dedicated to my manager who inspired me with the it, thank you very much Mr. Mark McCormack. Special thanks to Rashodkhon Nasirov who is always looking forward reading my articles, and encouraged me to write again after a very long time. Elham Mohammed, my sensory panelist and the woman I relay on for all the historical references. And My Mentor all the way from New York Dr.Howard Moskowitz

References:

  1. The oldest cuisine in the world cooking in mesopotamia – Book
  2. http://www.alwasatnews.com/news/1063747.html
  3. https://bit.ly/3foLoIP
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_bread

Companies/ Brands mentioned in this article: Almarai, L’usine, canyon bakehouse, Perfectly Crafted, Dave’s Killer Bread

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