Mana’eesh Zaatar

Moushira Abdel-Malek , Tuesday 15 Nov 2022

Mana eesh Zaatar
Mana eesh Zaatar


Yields 8-10 x 15 cm round flatbread loaves



3 cups bread flour + extra (for dusting)

1 cup lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2.5 tsp active dry yeast granules

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for oiling

Zaatar Topping:

Equal amounts of:

Sumac + dried oregano + dried thyme + toasted sesame seeds (3 tbsp each)

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

(Combine all topping ingredients to form a paste-like mixture)



In a glass jug, combine water, yeast and sugar.  Allow to stand; covered in a warm place, until frothy.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, salt and olive oil.  Work by hand to incorporate and blend.  Stir yeast mixture gradually to form a soft dough.  Lightly flour a work surface and knead inside-out for ten minutes; until you reach a soft elastic smooth dough.  Form into a ball and place it into a slightly oiled large bowl.  Turn the ball of dough to smear with oil on all sides.  Cover with a damp cloth and then a plastic wrap.  Allow to stand in a warm place, until the dough is doubled in size; approximately one hour.  Divide dough into eight or ten balls;  (according to the size you choose for the flatbread).  Place on to a lightly oiled baking sheet; covered by parchment paper; slightly oiled as well; apart from each other.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow to stand for another 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Place a baking sheet, tray or stone on the middle shelf of the oven; while it heats.  Flatten each ball into a flatbread of 1.5 centimetre thickness.  Press gently by fingertips to make indentations on top of flatbread; in order to hold Zaatar topping on top.  Press one tablespoonful of topping upon each circle of flatbread; leaving a slightly small empty border around each one.  Transfer into preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes; or when empty border turns golden.  Serve hot immediately, or slightly cool upon a wire rack, then serve with black olives, labneh dip, an assortment of fresh cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes aside.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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