Traditional bread (khamir) was made from sorghum flour of two local varieties, Bayadh and Hamra. The bread was prepared by mixing the sorghum flour with water and spices (onion, garlic, lemon juice and fenugreek) in a 1:0·8 (w/w) ratio and fermented for 24 h at 30 °C. Two other fermentations were carried out using an inoculum from the previous fermentation. The micro-organisms were isolated from different plates and identified using different characterization systems. Both total bacterial populations and lactic acid bacteria increased with fermentation time and reached the highest number at 16 h (first fermentation) and at 8 h (second and third fermentation). The content of lactic acid was increased with time to reach 1·2%, but the increase was higher for the second and third fermentations (1·6% each). The pH dropped with time from 6·77 to 4·35 in the first fermentation and from 6·65 to 4·18, and 6·57–3·93, in the second and third fermentations, respectively. The micro-organisms, which were isolated and characterized during the 24 h fermentation, included: bacteria (Pediococcus pentosaceus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lact. lactis subsp. lactis, Lact. cellobiosus, Klebsiella oxytoca, Kl. pneumoniae, Enterobacter aerogenes, Ent. sakazakii, Serratia marcescens and Ser. odourifera), moulds (Penicillium sp., Rhizopus sp., Aspergillus niger, Alternaria sp., Fusarium sp. and Mucor sp.) and yeasts (Candida parapsilosis, C. orvegnsis and Rhodotorula glutinis).