MANAKEESH, MIDDLE EASTERN FLATBREAD
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.
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 za'atar spice ¼ cup olive oil extra oil for greasing extra flour for dusting
PREPARATION OF THE DOUGH:
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.
SHAPE THE MANAKEESH:
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.
PREPARATION OF THE TOPPING: BAKE THE MANAKEESH:
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
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 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.
COOL AND SERVE:
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.
It is best not to spread the olive oil and za'atar mixture till the edge, outside the oil will drip out.