Kneading bread dough is a therapeutic experience, and I love the touch of olive oil in it. Baked briefly in the oven, the manakesh, similar to a pizza, can be sliced or folded, and it can be served either for breakfast or lunch. In a pinch, you can use store-bought flatbreads or even pizza dough, but it's really worth the effort to make your own manakesh dough. I just love being able to sample from a spread of olives, cheese, fresh vegetables, and fresh baked bread eaten any time of the day or night.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: dinner, flatbread, lunch, Middle Eastern
Author: Chef Robin
3 1/2cupsall-purpose flour
2tablespoonsgood quality olive oil
1 1/2cupslukewarm water
8tablespoonsza'atar spice blend
8tablespoonsgood quality olive oil
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, then stir in the olive oil and lukewarm water. Be careful not to use hot water. (You do not want to kill the yeast.) Stir together to form a rough ball, then turn onto a floured work surface and knead the dough briefly to form a smooth ball. You do not have to knead more than a few minutes.
Put the dough back into the bowl, sprinkle with a small amount of flour, and cover with a clean, dry towel. Place in a warm spot to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, until double in size.
While the dough is rising, mix the za'atar spice with the olive oil to form a paste and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each piece into a long rectangular shape, roughly 8 inches long by 4 inches wide. Place onto an oiled baking sheet, and spread a few tablespoons of the za-atar-oil paste over each.
Bake for 5-10 minutes, until crisp on the bottom and baked through. Serve warm. The dough can also be cooked on a stove-top griddle, flipping it over to cook both sides.
If using the flatbread as a base for toppings, cool slightly, one option is to spread a few spoonfuls of Preserved Lemon Labneh on it, top with some smoked salmon or smoked trout, and scatter with za'atar or dukkah spice. The combinations are endless.