Best Za’atar Manakeesh


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Za’atar manakeesh is a bread lover’s dream come true! This manakish with za’atar is a soft, fluffy flatbread topped with a blend of traditional Middle Eastern spices called Za’atar. Za’atar on manakish is a classic combination. The aromatic spices are slightly subdued and perfectly complemented by the light-tasting flatbread.  

What is Manakeesh? 

Manakeesh, also known as manakish, is a baked open-faced flatbread made with a simple dough. It is baked until the outside is slightly golden brown and crispy. Manakish is a popular street food because of its simplicity. Sometimes it is even served rolled up almost like a sandwich to make it easier to eat. It is also similar to another Middle Eastern baked good called fatayer, but they can be found in different shapes and look more like meat pies. If you go to the Middle East, you can find manakish in every corner bakery. 

What is Za’atar? 

Za’atar is a mix of spices found in many dishes in the Middle East. The spice blend is made with a variation of thyme, dried oregano, sumac, and sesame seeds. Each za’atar blend tastes slightly different. Za’atar is also commonly paired with Zeit (olive oil). The olive oil has a somewhat spicy, earthy flavor that compliments the za’atar. The za’atar and olive oil mix can help form a more binding paste that can easily stay on the manakeesh. Other popular ways to eat za’atar include a traditional breakfast spread of eggs, halloumi cheese, pita bread, and olives.  

When Do You Eat Manakish?

Manakish can be eaten at any time of the day. You can make manakish with eggs and other breakfast toppings for breakfast or eat one with ground meat for lunch or dinner. It also makes an excellent addition to any party or get-together. This is because manakish is a wonderful dish to start with for anyone who has never had traditional Middle Eastern food. It is a delicious bread with basic ingredients that would be easy for even the pickiest eaters to love. Manakish is also easily shareable. You can slice the flatbread into triangles like a pizza or roll them up and cut them into pieces to make them smaller. My husband likes cheese Manakish, while my son likes it with tomatoes. Luckily, manakish is easy to make, so I made both today to make everyone happy.

Is Manakish Pizza? 

Manakish is similar to pizza. It can be considered a Middle Eastern pizza since it is cooked open-faced with plenty of toppings, including cheese. However, one important difference is that manakish can be eaten for any meal, including breakfast. Breakfast manakish usually has toppings such as scrambled eggs and cheese.

Ingredient List


Test your yeast to make sure it is alive. Add the yeast and sugar to the stand mixing bowl with the dough attachment. If it’s alive, you can proceed with the recipe. If not, you need to get another more yeast so that you do not have dense bread.
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Mix the flour with salt and the olive oil into a separate bowl using the tips of your fingers to incorporate the oil with your fingers. Then add the flour oil mixture into the bubbly yeast mixture and mix at a low speed for two minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for another 5 minutes until the dough comes together. The dough should be semi-soft but not wet.
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Place the dough in a greased bowl, rub olive oil all over it, and cover it with a cloth or oiled plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for about an hour and a half until it doubles in size.
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When it is ready, keep the dough in the same bowl and punch the dough gently with your fist to release all the air. Gently knead the dough for another 2 minutes. Cover with a towel and let it rest for another 15 minutes.
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 C.
When the dough has risen for the second time, divide it into equal-sized balls depending on the size of manakish you want to make. Then, place the cut dough on a greased surface and let it rest for the third time for 10 minutes.
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Working with one ball of dough at a time, flatten the dough into a circular pizza shape. You can also use a rolling pin to get the dough into the circular shape but then work mostly with the tip of your fingers. Use your fingertips to punch small holes in the dough and make beautiful dimples with a spoon. Drizzle some olive oil, and sprinkle za’atar on top to cover the bottom of the dough. Press gently so the zaatar stickers to the dough TIP: You could also make a mixture of olive oil and the zaatar and scoop it into the dough.
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Place the prepared manakish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes until the bottom and side are brown.
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What Other Toppings Can You Put on Manakeesh?
Manakeesh is a flatbread that is always made with delicious toppings. My mom made us Manakeesh at home with zait and zaatar as the toppings. Every once in a while, if she had extra dough, she would mix eggs with herbs and make an extra-large manakish with eggs. Other popular toppings include plain cheese, usually Akkawi cheese, cheese and herbs, minced lamb, eggs, and tomatoes.
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Adjust Servings
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon active yeast
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 cup Lukewarm Water
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup Za’atar
¼ cup olive oil

Rana’s Notes!

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