Morocco | The bread oven

I noticed the women walking into the house with gigantic trays stacked four, five high with loaves. By gigantic, I mean more than a meter in circumference.

I followed them out - and found them cackling around a bread oven.

 Holy shit!

Firstly, I made the grave mistake of not wearing shoes (my motocross boots were too cumbersome, so I just walked around barefoot). The entire area on the ground around the oven, for approximately three meters is absolutely SCORCHING - I am sure you could incinerate eggs on the ground, right there!

Hobbling around like a cat on a hot tin roof, the women laughed so hard, I thought they might cry.

When I finally regained my composure, I got a demonstration of how its done.

After kneading the dough in terra cotta dishes the size of Mini Coopers, the women flatten big lumps out, and dust them with flour. These then get put in stacks with damp tea towels inbetween each loaf, and carried to the oven.

 Just like a pizza oven, the breads are shoved into the oven with a giant wooden spatula.

 The heat!! The air literally hums with the heat that melts and scorches the air around it.

 A hole is pressed in the top of the bread, to let the steam escape from the wet dough - else it will explode. They bake so quickly.

 It takes about 10 minutes or less, for a loaf to come out golden brown.

The ovens are communal - a few are dotted around the village -  so a fire is started early morning and a procession of families and women will bring their loaves and continue the hellfire bakery into late afternoon, catching up with neighbours. 

Not that they need to, because they probably saw each other this morning at the well, getting water. But nevertheless. There always seems to be much to catch up on at every meet.

Quietly I wonder if tomorrow at the well they will catch up everyone who missed it - the tale of the city woman with bare feet at the bread oven, dancing the hot potato. I knew I'd be famous one day.