Thursday, July 20, 2017

Za'atar Bread


Za'atar is a Middle Eastern herb blend containing dried herbs as well as sumac and sesame seeds. It's ever popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, namely Lebanese as well as several other nearby cultures. It has a slight sourness to it (from the sumac), and is excellent sprinkled over labneh (a thick yogurt cheese), and is particularly lovely as a topping for freshly baked flatbread.

Before baking

This za'atar bread is easy to make, and bakes pretty quickly. It's a bit fluffier than a typical flatbread, but the dough itself is squishy and light, and beautifully spiced with za'atar, and cloaked with extra-virgin olive oil.


Za'atar Bread
Makes 6
(Adapted from Soframiz)

Dough:
1 cup warm water, plus more as needed
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Topping:
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons za'atar
Kosher salt or sea salt for sprinkling

Combine the water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand. Set aside until foamy, 5 minutes.

Add the flour, salt, and olive oil. Using the dough hook, knead on low speed until a smooth dough is formed, 5 minutes. If the dough is a little stiff, you may need to add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons water.

Remove the dough from the bowl and, using your hands, knead into a smooth ball. Place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into six equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Lightly flour a work surface and place the balls of dough on the work surface to rest. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.

Lightly flour a work surface. Brush a large baking sheet (18-by-26-inches) with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Roll each ball into a 5-to-6-inch circle and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each dough circle with olive oil, sprinkle with a generous 1/2 tablespoon of za'atar, and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Lightly salt each za'atar bread.

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 20 to 30 minutes. The dough should spring back when you touch it with your finger.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the breads until they just start to brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. These are best served warm.




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