Whole Wheat Za’atar Manakish

Apologies for the travel hiatus! I thought that I’d have some time in Thailand to put up a post, but it turns out I was too busy shoving food into my mouth. I’m currently in the midst of a convoluted journey back to Florida, which means I probably have enough layover hours to get started…but in my previous experience with this new blog (i.e. Greece), travel posts take triple the time and care to draft; I want to do Thailand justice, so I’ll leave you with this filler post for now.

Za'atar Manakish

Well, describing za’atar manakeesh as a ‘filler’ recipe isn’t very fair. Despite the torrential downpour of amazing and unusual foods during the past 20 days, I found myself missing baked bread—one thing that you’d be hard-pressed to find in traditional Thai cuisine. Their main source of carbohydrates is rice (in varying, exciting forms), and ovens were never really a thing, which is often the same case in other Asian cuisines.

Za'atar Manakish

I’ve been on a kick with Arab cuisine, and za’atar (زعتر) is the essence if those flavours. The generic term actually refers to a family of Middle Eastern herbs including the genera Origanum, Calamintha, Thymus, Satureja, but most specifically Origanum syriacum (also known as Bible hyssop or Lebanese/Syrian oregano), but today I mean the dry condiment made from regionally varied blends of the previously mentioned dried herbs along with sesame, sumac, and salt. The blend is then used as a versatile dip, flavouring, filling, seasoning, or topping throughout the Middle East. This one is more in the style of a “typical” Lebanese blend, but there’s not much of a right and wrong; tweak the ratios to your tastes, because I guarantee that’s what the most regional households do anyway.

Za'atar Manakish

Za'atar Manakish

When spread over a dressed baked dough called manakish (مناقيش)—singular man’ousheh (منقوشه)—za’atar can become part of a perfect breakfast. Traditionally baked in communal ovens by Levantine women, it’s eaten like a portable breakfast pizza and can also be found with toppings like cheese, minced lamb, chili, or spinach.

This simple flatbread essentially serves as a canvas for the za’atar. Whole wheat takes to it incredibly well, complimenting the nuttiness of sesame and earthiness of thyme. It’s not a stretch to use whole grains in a chewy flatbread, so I’ll save my breath for the day I have to talk you into a whole wheat croissant recipe.

Za'atar Manakish

Whole Wheat Za’atar Manakish
The Blend
(about ½ cup)

  • ¼ cup thyme
  • 2 T sumac
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 1 T oregano
  • salt, to taste

Place all ingredients into a skillet. Heat gently while stirring to mix all the spices.

Za'atar Manakish

The Manakish
(yields 4)

  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ t sugar
  • 4g (⅛ oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling

To proof the yeast, combine it with the water and sugar, letting it stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and work it in with your fingers. Stir in the yeast mixture.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency. Form into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400°F. Place a lightly oiled baking sheet in the oven as it heats.
Knead the dough briefly and divide it into 4 balls, letting them rest again under a damp cloth.
Meanwhile, prepare your za’atar topping ingredients in a small bowl, having already roasted them briefly for a deeper flavour.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball of dough and roll it into a circle 1/8-inch thick and about 7-8 inches in diameter.
Press each circle with your fingertips, making little indentations for all the spices and herbs to stick in. Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of za’atar topping over each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 minutes.

Za'atar Manakish

Za'atar Manakish


Share on FacebookShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone
This entry was posted in Arabic, Baked Goods, Breakfast, Lebanon, Levant, Side and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Whole Wheat Za’atar Manakish

  1. I love bread of all kinds and this one looks so good! Love all the spices on it.

  2. Hannah says:

    Oh god, these with some fresh made hommus would be absolute heaven! This is beautiful looking bread!

  3. Nabeela says:

    I love zaatar bread, its easy to market-buy it here in the UAE. But your photos look so good I’m definitely saving this recipe for a rainy day!

  4. No apologizing when in Thailand! Can’t wait to hear about your travels.

  5. Andi Houston says:

    I am growing Lebanese oregano in my garden right now. I can’t wait for the plant to get big enough to do something with, because this recipe is going to the top of the list.

  6. Sissi says:

    I don’t know much about food from this region, but a Lebanese friend of mine made me taste zaatar and I loved it. Your breads look like a perfect company for this spice mixture. I am looking forward to reading about your trip to Thailand. I imagine it has been a wonderful experience for your palate.

    • wandercrush says:

      Thank you, Sissi. Lebanese cuisine has such addicting flavours… I bet the more you have it, the more you’ll become as enamoured as me.
      And the first Thailand post is finally up, at long last!

  7. Caitlin says:

    irina- thank you for commenting on my blog so i could find yours! i love your simple aesthetic and beautiful photos, as well ;)

  8. cquek says:

    that would be my favourite, can i go with olive oil

  9. Oh my, these look fantastic, look at all that flavor on them.

  10. Homemade bread is always a winner! Adding that wonderful sounding homemade spice blend sounds even better!

  11. This looks so delicious Irina. I can almost smell it! Happy to see a post from you and really looking forward to seeing and reading about Thailand.

  12. Vivienne says:

    I love the sound of a portable breakfast pizza – just what i need every morning in the rush to work!

    Gorgeous site you have here Irina :) Looking fwd to hear about all that food you inhaled in Thailand!

  13. Oh my word! That looks heavenly! Can’t wait to hear about Thailand!

  14. I wouldn’t have time for a post if I was eating in Thailand either! This looks awesome!

  15. Magda says:

    I love the look of this bread and the spicy za’atar. Such beautiful flavors.
    I can’t wait to read about your trip to Thailand!

  16. Heck, I certainly wouldn’t let blogging get in the way of shoveling food in my mouth! Sounds like you’re having fun. And what a great dish you shared with us! Love the flavors of this – so good. Thanks so much.

  17. Glad to know you had a delicious and gastronomical adventure in Thailand.

    And now, I want this bread in my life. With all the spices, what’s not to love.

    ps: Didn’t know you live in FL!! I’m located in Orlando. Must meet :)

    • wandercrush says:

      Cheeeeers, Kiran! Wow, that crazy that you’re so close! The blogosphere never fails to surprise me. Let me know if you’re in Jacksonville over the next two weeks :)

  18. oiyoufood says:

    You have read my mind Irina! Believe it or not, despite being a middle-eastern this Zataar is a bit of mystery to me. I think in Iran we call it something different or maybe don’t have a name for it. I have ordered some online ! but am sure it won’t be a new taste to me. I’ll try your recipe too, apparently hardly ever two people use the same quantities of the spices in this mixture.

    • wandercrush says:

      Oooh, really? I’d be curious to know the differences between the Iranian varieties and Lebanon’s. Let me know how your online order works out!

  19. laurasmess says:

    BEAUTIFUL. I never have much luck with homemade bread so I usually avoid trying to make it. These are so gorgeous though! I have a huge batch of za’atar that I made so I should probably launch out and take the plunge! xx

    • wandercrush says:

      It’s admittedly a bit more trouble than yeastless recipes, but it’s always so rewarding when you succeed! I’ve have definitely had my share of failed attempts, but one successful fresh-out-of-the-oven bite and you’ll forget why you were intimidated in the first place :) Give it a go.

  20. Looks great, i love all that kind of bread – yeast things…And so delicious spices…thanks Irina for your lovely ideas and thank you for your post in my blog ^^

    thank you = σε ευχαριστώ (in Greek :P)

  21. I have made these before but my photos have never made it to posting. This is an awesome bread. I love drizzling it with olive oil! Need to make this now!

  22. Pingback: Za’atar Manakish | Recipe Archive

  23. Helena says:

    Agreed, this sounds like a great food for breakfast ! We do have a soft spot for Middle Eastern cuisine too at home. Reminds me I got a glimpse of man’oushe in one of my books about street food but never gave them a go, how silly of me !
    Love the whole wheat twist too, right up my alley.
    And I just have a jar of homemade za’atar awaiting in my pantry, think I’m going to get into manakish as soon as I have a bit more time ! Thanks for impetus… and gorgeous photos, as always :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify via Email Only if someone replies to My Comment