Recipe adapted from: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/zaatar-manaqish-recipe/
This dish is essentially a flatbread with Za’atar (a blend of Lebanese spices including oregano, sumac, thyme, sesame seeds) ontop. The za’atar is packed full of flavour from herbs with a lemon-y acidity from the sumac. It may be eaten alone or served with some veggies and hummus. It can be an acquired taste as it took me a few goes to get used to it and now I can’t get enough!
This dish has some sentimental value to it. When I first started dating my now fiancé, he took me to a small Lebanese bakery shop in Werribee called A1 bakery and ordered two cheese pies and an “oregano pizza” as he called it. Between the two of us, I’m usually the one introducing him to good restaurants and new foods. This is the first place he took me to that really impressed me. The halloumi cheese pies were to die for but the “oregano pizza” was just okay for me. As time went on, we’d keep going back to the bakery and the “oregano pizza” really grew on me (which we later learned the proper name was: za’atar manakish). After we moved out of the Werribee area, we had to drive 40mins to the closest A1 bakery in Dandenong to get the cheese pies and manakish. It was magical every time. The bakeries sold a small amount of Lebanese grocery products and at our last trip, Toby surprised me with a packet of za’atar seasoning and suggested we try making it at home during quarantine for some fun. After reading through a handful of recipes online, I made a compilation of them all and combined it into this recipe. We made it for the first time today and it came out A-MAZING! The recipe is a bit word-y but it’s actually super easy once you make it. The dough is also a good base dough for any type of flatbread.
Servings: makes 8 manakish (or 4 large ones)
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups all purpose flour + extra for dusting/kneading
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup za’atar (Lebanese spice blend)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- In a bowl, activate the yeast by mixing together the yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir to combine then set aside and leave for 5-10mins until frothy.
- In your stand mixer bowl, add together the flour, salt and olive oil. Mix on low/knead setting and slowly add in the frothed yeast mixture until the dough forms a sticky ball. (If your dough is too wet and not a ball, add in a bit more flour.) Take out your dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface, dusting with more flour as needed, until you get a smooth non-sticky soft dough ball.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, just mix the dough by hand.
- Once your soft dough ball is done, rub some olive oil over it and place it in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (will take ~1-2hrs).
- If you don’t have a warm place, my favourite way to “proof” dough is to put the uncovered bowl in the oven (not turned on) and place a pan of boiling hot water (~3 cups) on the lowest rack of the oven and leave it for the designated amount of time in the recipe. The heat and humidity from the boiling water will help the dough rise beautifully. Don’t open the oven before time is up otherwise the heat will escape. Check on your dough by using the light function instead.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch and knead it for a couple minutes to release the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and cover to let rise in a warm place a second time for another 15mins (you can use the same oven proofing method as step 3 if you don’t have a warm place).
- While the dough balls are rising a second time, make the topping by mixing the za’atar spice with olive oil until combined.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
- After 15mins is up, roll each dough ball again on a floured surface and knead a few times until you get a smooth ball; then use a rolling pin to flatten it until 3mm thick. Make a few indentations with your fingers in your flattened dough (helps hold the topping better).
- Place your dough on a lightly greased baking pan (I could fit 2 on my pan) and spread the za’atar/oil topping over the dough, leaving 1cm away from the edge. Bake for 7-9mins or until the edges are golden brown. Let the manakish cool a bit before serving to allow the oil to be absorbed into the bread. Serve warm or cold.