Ka'ak ib Milch

If there was one taste that could sum up the amazing experience I have had since starting this project it would be the taste of Ka’ak ib Milch. Quite literally ‘cake with salt’ ka’ak (or kahqa) is actually more like a breadstick. It has been offered to me in almost every house I have visited and even with a few variations it has reminded me of home, comforted me, and replaced more than one meal on my marathon interviewing trips when I woke up too late for breakfast or got back too late and tired for dinner.  It is quite fitting then that my uncle requested that I upload the recipe for this particular version while he is living far from home.  So here you go, the ultimate and eternally versatile taste of home! 

60 Pieces

Ingredients
2 tbsps fennel seeds
600ml water
500g strong white bread flour
250g butter or margarine
1 tbsp. nigella seeds
½ tbsp. ground mahlab*
7g instant dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
50g lightly toasted and cooled sesame seeds
1 egg for glazing

Method

  • Boil the fennel seeds in a pan with the water until a very dark yellow colour, then strain the water into a jug and set aside to cool.
  • Combine the flour and fat into a crumble and then mix in the nigella seeds, yeast, salt and mahlab
  • Make a hole in the crumble and pour half the water into the mixture. Combine into a dough by hand, gradually adding more of the water until the dough is relatively wet and soft 
  • Cover and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size
  • Shape into rings on a lined baking tray. Do this by rolling a sausage as thick as a pinkie finger and 10cm long. Join the ends together using a fingernail to secure the dough
  • Leave to rest for 10-15 minuteGlaze with the egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 160°C for 30 mins, until golden brown
  • Transfer all to a large oven tray, turn the oven off and leave to cool in the oven

* A traditional ingredient made by grinding the stones of the St Lucie cherry, it can be omitted if it’s too hard to get hold of but it gives the ka’ak a distinctive flavour

talesofjewishsudankaak

...and another version for good measure

Ingredients
500g plain flour
300ml lukewarm water
150ml sunflower oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 ¼ tsp nigella seeds
14g fast action dried yeast
1 egg for glazing
50g sesame seeds

Method

  • Add the yeast and sugar to the water and leave to bubble up
  • Add the flour, nigella seeds, salt and cumin seeds to a bowl, then mix in the oil and water
  • Knead into a wet dough
  • Cover and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size
  • Shape into rings on a lined baking tray. Do this by rolling a sausage as thick as a pinkie finger and 10cm long. Join the ends together using a fingernail to secure the dough
  • Leave to rest for 30 minutes
  • Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes
  • Transfer all onto a single large oven tray and bake at 80°C for three hours