Merahrah bread is one of many types of Egyptian bread and is mainly found in Delta region. It is easily made in rural Egyptian houses, people use it as a base for everyday meals, and can be preserved for fairly long periods of time.

The word Merahrah in Arabic means that is has been spread by hand or by an item called Matraha (A circular tool with short or long handle that is made of wood or palm leaves, used for throwing the bread in the oven). Its main components are flour, yeast, water, salt and oil (optional).

Process of making it:

  1. Al-‘Agn  (Kneading): flour, yeast, water, and salt are added together in a bowl, they are mixed together, while adding water bit by bit until the desired elasticity is achieved. When kneading is finished, a little flour is added to prevent air from entering the dough, and sometimes oil is used instead.
  2. Al-Takhmeer (Leaving the dough to rise): The dough is covered and left to rise. This process takes a couple of hours depending on the sun and how hot it is.
  3. Al-Taqrees (Shaping/Cutting the dough): The dough is cut to small pieces and shaped in round shapes, and then put on a surface covered with Raddah (Bran) to prevent it from sticking. Afterwards, it is covered again, and left to rise for another fifteen minutes. This allows the bread to rest, making it easy to be spread to its desired shape before baking.

When the cut dough is ready, the Matraha is sprinkled with bran, and dough is rocked and shook to encourage it to spread and flatten. It could also be patted by hand to reach the desired thickness and size.

  1. Al-Tasweyah (Baking): The dough, now formed into discs is thrown on the base of the oven, and when done, it is drawn out again using the Matraha.

The bread making is the responsibility of the women of the house with the help of children, and it shows the level of cleverness of each lady. The more skill she has, the more uniform the bread is, in terms of size and shape.


Samih Abd al-Ghaffar Sha’lan, Bread in folklore, A study in Folkloric Atlases, Ain for human and social studies and researches.