Manakish Za’atar (Levantine Flatbread)
Manakish, also known as manaqish, manaeesh or manakeesh is a popular Levantine food consisiting of dough topped with Za’atar Spice ( a mix of dried thyme, oregano, or a combination and mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt and sumac), cheese, or ground meat. The bread is similar to pizza and can be served for breakfast or lunch. Manaqish means to sculpt or to carve out, meaning that after the dough has been rolled flat, it is pressed by the fingertips to create little dips for the topping to lie in. Traditionally women would bake dough in a communal oven in the morning to provide their family with their daily bread needs. Manakish is popular in most Levant Countries, especially Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. (Source Internet)
As mentioned earlier the bread is topped with Za’atar. I love this bread when I saw on google, the beautiful pictures were just wow, but I was not getting Za’atar spice, so I decided to make this on my own. The key ingredient here was Sumac in the spice which was again a bit difficult but I managed to get it.
Sumac is deep red in colour and is one of about 35 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera. The dried and powdered fruits of Rhus coriaria are used as a spice in Middle Eastern and South Asian Cuisine. (Source Internet)
The Za’atar spice added a distinct taste and texture to the bread. Due to the addition of black pepper the bread turned a bit spicy as well as tangy. We paired this with Homemade baked falafel (Recipe coming soon) and Roasted Red Pepper Harrisa sauce (Recipe coming soon) and in all we had a complete meal and were craving for more. This bread can be eaten without any accompaniment in breakfast or just as a side.
I know I have added too many pictures in this post, but just wanted to share.
Recipes in this series of A-Z International FlatBreads
Manakish Za'atar is a Flatbread from the Levantine cuisine where the dough is sprinkled with Za'atar (Spice mix made of sesame-sumac-oregano) and is great for breakfast or as a dinner along with some falafel or hummus.
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour/Plain Flour/ Maida
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 3/4 tsp Salt (or to taste)
- 1/2-1 Cup Lukewarm Water (Do not add extra hot water, it will kill the yeast)
- 1/4 Cup Za'atar Spice
- 1/2 tbsp Dried Oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped Oregano)
- 1 tbsp Sumac
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin (Jeera Powder)
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4-1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
Add Lukewarm water in a bowl. Add sugar and yeast in it and let it bloom for 10 minutes.
Your yeast should bloom, if not please discard and start again, or else your dough will not puff up.
In a large bowl, add the flour, salt,2 tablespoon of olive oil and bloomed yeast mixture.
Using a stand mixer or your hand knead the dough well until it forms a soft round ball and is springy to touch.
Coat the dough with some oil and place it in the bowl.
Cover and let it rest in a warm surface until double in size. About 1 hour +
Mix all the ingredients mentioned for Za'atar spice and store it in an air tight container, if making in advance.
Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in the Za'atar Spice and mix everything well.
Divide the dough into equal portions. (I was able to make 5 equal size breads from this)
Roll each into 1/4 inch thickness disc.
Gently spread the Olive oil mixed Za'atar spice on top of each disc. It should stick to the dough.
Let them rest for 15-20 minutes so that they puff up. Just look how beautifully have they puffed up.
In the meanwhile preheat the oven to 180 C.
Once preheated bake them for 8-10 minutes. I baked at 180 C for 8 minutes and then increased the heat to 200 and baked for another 2 minutes, until lightly brown.
Ideally breads like this are best baked at 200 C, but my oven gets hot very quickly, so I tend to increase the heat only later. You are a better judge of your oven so please check.
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