With a history of 90 years and a recipe perfected by four generations, Yousef Shokri Bakery in Jeddah continues to appease one’s love for food and culture
n the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, bread is a must have. However, for those seeking a healthier alternative to traditional white breads or wheat bread, there is flat wheat bread. It is preferred all across as it is soft and pliable enough to scoop up hummus.
Bread, in all its various forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world. Recent scholarship suggests humans started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago. Egyptians, between 2000-3000 BC, also created various types of breads. These breads became so popular that even the salaries of workers who built the pyramids were paid in bread, a testament to its high value as a regional staple.
One example of wheat bread’s popularity in the region is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and dates back to one bakery located in Al-Balad. Youssef Shokri Bakery, first opened in 1930, and
is currently owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Shokri family.
“My father brought the original recipe for our famous wheat bread with him to Jeddah from Turkey. The recipe is based on Ottoman traditions and is altered slightly to satisfy local tastes,” Mokhtar Youssef Shokri, the son of the bakery’s founder said.
Speak to anyone who has lived in Jeddah about what life was like when the modern metropolis was a small seaport, and you are sure to hear about the wonderful smells and aromas from Shokri’s Bakery.
Shokri believes that the bakery is not only nostalgic for Jeddah residents, but also caters to customers across the Kingdom and Middle East. They even have clients who come from Egypt and other countries in Africa for a taste of Shokri’s delicious wheat bread. “We currently produce between 2,000-3,500 pieces daily. Besides this, we also supply special orders for consulates and embassies on a weekly basis.” Shokri said.
Despite selling thousands of flat breads everyday, the bakery’s history of nearly 90 years isn’t due to high profits, but due to the shared family values of carrying on his father’s dream for the future generations. “We want to teach each generation about the values that the original families of Jeddah upheld and continue to uphold. We want to continue my father’s legacy. We will continue to make our wheat flat bread as long as customers keep lining up at our door after the dawn prayer every day.”
Words: Sarah Abdullah