Having grown up in the Middle East, we have always had a great influence of Arabic cuisine in our household.
Manakeesh was always the “holiday breakfast” for all the road trips during the National Day and Eid Holidays. I have fond memories of Dad taking us to this Bakery called Fawaris in Hamriya(Oman) and ordering Manakeesh with Zaatar, Cheese or Meat toppings to go . Watching them bake fresh Manakeesh at this Bakery was a whole new level of foodgasm.
I always thought this would be a very complicated recipe but it isn’t. Just a few ingredients and an oven and we are good to go !
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 2½ cups of lukewarm water
- ¼ Teaspoon sugar
- 6 cups of white bread flour/ all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
For the Zaatar topping
- ½ cup dried thyme
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons of powdered sumac (optional)
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
** You can also just pick up a packet of zaatar from any nearby store and use 1 cup of it instead**
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of the warm water. Add the sugar and when it begins to froth, stir in the remaining water.
- Add 3 cups of flour slowly and stir it vigorously. Let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes till it froths.
- Stir in the salt and the 2 tbspns of the virgin olive oil and mix it well.
- Gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour (you may need a little less or more flour)until you have a dough that makes a perfect ball.
- Keep kneading the dough continuously for a good 10-15 minutes till the dough becomes soft, very smooth and stops sticking to your fingers.
- Pour the remaining 1 tbspn of oil on this round soft dough to grease it evenly .
- Cover the doughball with clingfilm and leave for it to rise for 2-3 hours.
- Meanwhile you can take the zaatar topping ingredients (or a cup of zaatar mixture ) and mix it in a small bowl to make it an oily mixture.
- Once the dough has risen , you can roll the dough and divide into either small balls or 2-3 large balls ( we chose to make 2 big 12″ breads. If you wish to serve manakeesh as an appetizer for friends and family , you can make mini manakeesh breads served as small bites to eat.)
- Roll out the ball on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of about ¼ inch and roll it to as big/small as you wish. Take a fork and poke it all over the bread avoiding the dough to puff up while being baked .
- You can now preheat the oven to 250°C (450°F) for 15-20 minutes.
- Place a greaseproof paper on a round baking tray and gently pick the stretched round dough and place it on top of the greaseproof paper.
- Gently spread 1 spoon of the Zaatar mixture on the bread.
- Zaatar bread is ready to bake. Place it in the preheated oven and let it bake for 5-10 minutes or until you can see slight browning.
- Hot yumminess is ready to dive into.