Red Bread with Dates

Ark of taste
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الخبز الاحمر بالتمر

The Eastern Region’s red bread with dates is characterized by a brownish-red color, hence the name. It has a distinct, light, sweet taste resulting from the use of dates or date syrup in its preparation, and the presence of suwaida (nigella seeds) and halwa (anise seeds) adds a pleasant herbal aroma mixed with the smell of burning palm trunks used to ignite the oven. The weight of each bread loaf ranges from 100 to 120 grams.

The birthplace of red bread production is Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Al-Ahsa is an oasis known for date palm cultivation for thousands of years, and one of its most famous and finest varieties is the Khalas dates, which are considered a key ingredient in red bread. The locals also engage in cultivating certain grain crops like wheat. Therefore, the essential internal components in this type of bread are locally produced products from the fertile land of Al-Ahsa, known for its goodness and generosity.

Red bread in the past was made from whole durum wheat flour, but now it is made from any type of whole grain wheat. As for the red date bread, in the past, it was common to use Khalas dates in the Eastern region, but now they use any type of dates with the addition of nigella seeds and anise seeds.

Red bread is usually consumed during breakfast or dinner and is often eaten with yogurt, labneh, fried eggs, fava beans, cheese, or shakshuka. One of the preferred special meals is to use it with kawareh (sheep or lamb head broth). Even some red bread bakeries make kawareh to serve with red bread. The use of local products in the production of red bread, including Khalas dates, gives it a distinct sweet taste. This increases the nutritional value of red bread by raising its fiber content, as it is made from whole wheat and dates, in addition to its content of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that distinguish it from other types of bread.

The importance of red bread lies not just in its nutritional value and the use of local ingredients in its preparation, but also in the traditional popular oven used in making it. It is a laborious and costly process that has been inherited by the locals from their ancestors for hundreds of years. This highlights the parents’ concern to pass on this craft to their children to preserve it from disappearing. In the past, housewives were the ones who used to prepare and bake this type of bread on a small scale, serving it to family members and relatives during breakfast or dinner. Sometimes, the head of the household would participate or engage in this profession, but on a small and limited scale. Now, red bread has its own specialized bakeries spread in several areas of the Al-Ahsa region, managed and supervised by experienced Hasawi Saudis (people from this region) who have inherited the knowledge from their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

The presence of alternatives to other types of bread, their abundance, low cost, and ease of production in modern and advanced automated bakeries have made them compete with the popularity of traditional red bread. The nutritional value of red bread, however, is superior to other common types of bread. Based on its healthy components and natural ingredients, it is possible to say that its glycemic index is low, with low sugar levels as well. One of the important steps to ensure its sustainability is education about its nutritional value, supporting its production and consumption by spreading awareness and the importance of supporting local products.

The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia.
In collaboration with Azka Farms, Saudi Arabia.

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StateSaudi Arabia


Production area:Al-Ahsa Oasis

Other info


Bread and baked goods

Nominated by:Dr. Munira bint Qasim Al-Muslim