EVENT: BREAD BAKERS
THEME : MIDDLE EASTERN BREADS
I find that Middle Eastern Breads are so different from the other breads and I love them. So when Karen who blogs at Karen’s Kitchen Stories suggested Middle Eastern Breads, I knew I’d take part. However time was running out for me as I had to travel in September and I also had committed to doing 26 Indian Flatbreads. So it was like my kitchen was full of breads..though flat, but it was screaming ‘make something different like rice’ and I had to reassure it that soon all this flour work would be over. I had a few days left before the travel date approached and was in a dilemma, should I participate, shouldn’t I! The pull was definitely the phrase “Middle Eastern breads.” Hubby kept on saying no don’t bake, I’ve had enough of flatbreads. But I had to, so just 2 days before I travelled, made Manakeesh and convinced hubby that soup is a good light option before we travel. So cheeky of me 🙂
Did I mention that Karen is a fantastic fantastic bread baker? Oh yes she is and if you don’t believe me please check out her blog.
Manakeesh, manakish, Manaeesh, Manaqish or in singular form manousheh is the Middle East’s version of a pizza. It is usually topped with herbs, cheese or minced meat and can be served for breakfast or lunch. Very popular in Syria, Lebanon and the Arab Peninsula. Traditionally the women would bake them in a communal oven early in the morning in time for breakfast. Manaqish is the plural word of the Arabic word manqūshah which means to crave out or sculpt. The dough is rolled into a flat shape and then pressed by fingertips to create dips in which the topping lies in.
The cheese usually used for the topping is a soft white cheese called Akawi. I decided to use a popular topping, zaatar. Zaatar is a spice mixture consisting of thyme or oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt. Sometimes chili flakes are added. I had some ready made zaatar so I used that.
These flatbreads can be served with a main dish, soup or enjoyed on their own with a variety of freshly sliced vegetables like cucumber, onion, or tomatoes and olives or even meat. Modern day version of manakeesh has a topping of chocolate and banana.
As I was leaving soon for India, I decided to make a small batch. Its the first time that I’ve made a dough for any bread that is so little! However, it was much easier to handle and knead.
For the dough:
1½ cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
½ cup warm water
1¼ tsp instant dry active yeast
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
For the topping:
3-4 tbsp zaatar spice
¼ cup olive oil
extra oil for greasing
extra flour for dusting
- Mix flour, salt and yeast in a big bowl.
- Add oil and rub it into the flour.
- Add water and make a soft dough.
- Dust the worktop with little flour and knead the dough for 5 -7 minutes till it becomes smooth and silky.
- Grease the bowl with oil.
- Shape the dough into a round ball.
- Rub oil over it.
- Place in the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel or a lid.
- Let the dough rise for 45 minutes or till it is double the size.
- Grease your hands and gently punch down the dough using your knuckles.
- Knead the dough gently and divide it into 4 parts.
- Roll each part into a ball.
- Cover with a tea towel and let it them rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Grease a baking tray with some oil.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Mix the zaatar and olive oil together.
- Dust the worktop with some flour.
- Take one part of the dough and roll it out or shape it into a circle using your hands. Make it a circle about 5 inches in diameter.
- Place the rolled dough on the baking tray. Using your fingertips, make small indentations all over the rolled dough.
- Take about a tbsp of the zaatar and olive oil mixture and spread on the rolled dough. Don’t spread the mixture till the edges.
- Repeat steps 16 to 19 with the remaining dough.
- Place the tray in the hot oven and bake the flatbread for 7-8 minutes or till the edges turn light brown.
- Take the Manakeesh out of the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve it with cheese, soup, minced meat, vegetables, olives,eggs etc.
- make the manakeesh as small or big as you like.
- Serve it with a topping of salad to make it a light lunch option.
- You can pat it into shape with your hands or use a rolling pin.
- Its best not to spread the olive oil and avatar mixture till the edge, outside the oil will drip out.
A little request:
If you do try this recipe then please either
- add a comment below,
- send a picture to my email firstname.lastname@example.org
- tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
- or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962
Check out what kind of Middle Eastern Breads other Bread Bakers have made:
- Baked Pita Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Eggless Challah Bread from Cook with Renu
- Fatayer Jebneh (Arabic Cheese Pie) from Food Lust People Love
- Garlic Butter Glazed Talami Bread from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Jerusalem Bagels from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Kaak from Ambrosia
- Khobz Al Khameer (Traditional Emirati Bread) from Ruchik Randhap
- Kubaneh from Gayaythri’s Cook Spot
- Laffa from Sizzling Tastebuds
- Manakeesh from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Maneesh from The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen
- Nan-e-Barbari from Anybody Can Bake
- Rose Shaped Dinner Rolls – Turkish Pogaca Pastry from Sneha’s Recipe
- Tahinli Ekmek | Turkish Tahini Bread from Bread and Dreams
- Vegetarian Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza Snack) from Cook’s Hideout
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to email@example.com.