Photo Credit: Alexandra Grablewski
Manoush b Zaatar, a classic breakfast dish throughout Lebanon is a filling, slightly spiced, and totally delicious way to start the day. As a child, my mother was told that this tasty bread was good for the memory and would help her perform well in school! Manoush really wakes you up, with its soft fluffy bready center and zesty zaatar topping. Serve it any time of day, though, it makes a great complement to salads, soups, and meat dishes. I love to have my manoush spread with Labneh (Lebanese strained yogurt), a drizzle of olive oil, and topped with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs also make a tasty accompaniment.
MAKES EIGHT 9-INCH FLATBREADS
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup zaatar (Lebanese thyme seasoning)
Unbleached, all-purpose flour, for the work surface
2 pounds Ajin (all-purpose yeasted bread dough), at room temperature
In a medium mixing bowl, blend the oil and zaatar together into a creamy paste that is fluid but not runny. Taste it, it should be zesty and earthy. Make any adjustments as needed.
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Before you begin to roll out the dough, place two baking sheets into the preheated oven. If you have four baking sheets and can’t fit them in your oven, feel free to bake all the pieces at the same time (2 pieces per sheet).
Lightly flour a clean work surface. Place the dough on the floured work surface. Using a dough cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 2 equal halves and then cut each half into quarters for a total of 8 pieces.
Flatten the dough pieces out onto the flour, lightly pressing down with your fingertips. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough piece into a circular shape, approximately 9 inches in diameter and 1⁄4 inch thick. Try to make them as uniform in size and shape as possible, then create an edge by pinching the outer edges along around the dough so that the zaatar filling will not leak out.
Next, spread 2 tablespoons of the zaatar mixture onto each dough round, using the back of the spoon to smear the paste evenly onto the dough, starting in the center and working your way around to the edges until the whole pie is coated. Carefully place the dough rounds on the baking sheets (two to a sheet).
Transfer the baking sheets to the top and center racks of the preheated oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the pies are golden brown and you start to see small bubbles appearing. The edges should be crispy, and the pies will be very aromatic. Repeat with the remaining pies, keeping the first batch warm for serving. Serve hot.
NOTE: You will need a rolling pin, preferably a thin Arabic one (see Julie Taboulie Mediterranean Rolling Pin) and two baking sheets.
Copyright 2017 by Julie Ann Sageer in Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen, St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin. All Rights Reserved.
RECIPE BY JULIE ANN SAGEER (JULIE TABOULIE)
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