Back in the days it was a luxury thing to have your own oven or Ferrane at home so for that reason the idea of the public Ferran was born responding to the locals needs in order to make their life easier and practical.
In Morocco, in each district, there are one or more traditional ferrans. The locals cook bread; cakes and dishes (“pastilla”, “méchoui”, “tanjia” and fish) prepared at home and bring them to the Ferrane so they can be cooked.
Some ovens make bread and pastries in order to be sold to local grocers and residents.
The workers recognize and store customers’ bread boards; leaving behind them the big mystery on how they get to remember and recognize each family’s bread board and which bread goes on each board and believe it or not, that mystery is still alive until now days.
“The Ferrane” represents also the place of meetings of women in the area just like “The Hammam”.
The role of The Ferrane was more important since locals used to get their mail from the person in charge of the Ferrane. For decades the postman used to leave most of the mails supposed to be dropped in each home at the Ferrane which shows how close was the relationship between the workers of the Ferrane and the locals of each neighborhood.
Traditional ovens continue to fulfill their role in Moroccan society, despite the competition of modern bakeries.
The activity of the worker is to:
- Fill the oven with wood to obtain the correct cooking temperature
- Bake the bread (bake, control, turn off)
- Place the baked bread on the wooden boards (wasla) or the corresponding baskets.
- At the end of the day, clean the cooking area and remove the ashes
The activity of the assistants is to:
- Greet customers who bring wooden trays (wasla) covered with fabric to protect the fresh dough from the sun and dust, or home-cooked meals.
- Store clients’ bread boards and recognize them
- Recognize the bread of each customer.
- Wait for fermentation: swelling of the bread dough.
- Clean and maintain equipment and premises at the end of the working day
The Moroccan Bread consists of a social, historical and economic importance in every society.
In any neighborhood or in any city, the first thing that is built after the mosque and hammams are traditional ovens because they guarantee the continuity of life and maintain a balance of survival due to the high demand of the Moroccan population.
The architecture of the traditional oven
According to a number of researchers interested in Moroccan heritage, traditional ovens are a cultural heritage that has very fine architectural features. The makers of these ovens have been guided to make them in basement and others in an upper floor, most of which are tiled with zilij material in their entrances and exits, which are only a few distances and meters away from the mosques, and Hammams within each neighborhood.
Popular oven components and features
The firewood material is the engine and the main supplier of any oven in cooking. The temperature ranges between 200 degrees and 250 degrees. The bread is placed on the wooden slabs or the so-called Moroccan colloquial (WASSELA).
The bread that is cooked in the traditional popular bakeries has great advantages that it is beneficial in terms of health and has a special flavor and is free from any substances and chemical elements extraneous to natural materials, because it was cooked on pure firewood.
Lately, the decline in the demand for traditional ovens after profound transformations in Morocco In the early nineties has favored the service of modern ovens over its popular counterpart. Each house has a modern oven with ready-made services, which led to a decline in the demand for traditional ovens.