Manakish zaatar is a delicious Middle Eastern flatbread topped with zaatar spice. It's perfect for breakfast or brunch and you can make it with just a few ingredients. Learn how to make this delicious bread from scratch with just a few ingredients.
From Persian barbari and Turkish simit to pide and lavash, bread is a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. This zaatar manakish is one of my favorites because the zaatar spice gives it such a unique flavor. It's perfect for breakfast or a midday snack.
Table Of Contents:
What is manakish?
Manakish, also known as manakeesh or manoushe, is a Middle Eastern flatbread made with a soft dough and topped with ingredients such as zaatar or cheese. Manakish zaatar has Palestinian originality and is commonly found in many Arabic countries such as Syria, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Lebanon.
This flatbread is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or as a midday snack. Many families throughout the Middle East make it on a daily basis. You can find it at many restaurants in the Middle East as well.
What is zaatar?
Zaatar is the name of a culinary herb and also a Middle Eastern spice mix of Palestinian origins. It's a combination of several spices including sumac (mostly common in Lebanese zaatar), thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, marjoram and salt. It has a complex earthy and herbal flavor.
You can use zaatar in different ways - use it as a marinade in this grilled zaatar chicken or as a dressing for Mediterranean potato salad. You can also spice up your baked feta with honey and zaatar for a tasty appetizer.
Ingredients to make manakeesh
To make the manakish dough, you need the regular ingredients such as all purpose flour, water, olive oil, salt, sugar and yeast. I always use instant yeast and add it directly to the dry ingredients. If you're using active dry yeast, you need to activate it in the water and add the mixture to the dry ingredients.
As for the topping, you only need quality zaatar and extra virgin olive oil. There are two types of zaatar you can use: red or green. I have used both in here so you can see the difference in the appearance. You can find zaatar in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean shops.
How to make zaatar bread
- Place the flour, instant yeast, salt, sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the water and olive oil and start mixing until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl and drizzle some olive oil on it. Move the dough around so it's well coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let it rise in a draft free environment such as an off oven or microwave for one hour until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, mix the olive oil and zaatar in a bowl and set it aside.
- After 1 hour, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (take the bowl out of the oven if you've placed it there) and place a pizza stone or a baking sheet on the middle rack. Once the dough is doubled in size, punch it down, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large ball. Divide into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
- Roll out the dough ball into ½ inch thickness and transfer it to a parchment paper. Spread some of the zaatar and olive oil mix on the dough and leave about ½ inch border around. Place the parchment paper with the dough on the pizza stone/baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
- Cover the manakish with kitchen towel to keep them soft. Serve warm.
Manakish zaatar is such a nice addition to your breakfast spread. Serve with some labneh and vegetables such as cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and some feta cheese.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can make the manakeesh zaatar up to 3 days ahead of time and keep them in the fridge.
You can easily freeze these. After they come to room temperature and are not hot anymore, layer them with parchment paper and wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. You can thaw them in the fridge overnight or in the oven at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes.
I recommend you only use extra virgin olive oil since it adds depth and a lot of flavor to this zaatar bread.
You can find zaatar at many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean stores in the spice section. You can also find it online.
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Manakish Zaatar Recipe (Manakeesh)
- 2 ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra to brush on the bread
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ cup zaatar
- Mix the flour with salt and instant yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Add the warm water and olive oil to the flour mixture and mix well until it forms into a dough. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes until the dough is not very sticky anymore.
- Place the dough ball in a clean bowl and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Move the dough around so it's coated with olive oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a draft free place such as an off oven or microwave and let it rise for 1 hour, until the dough is doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the topping by mix the zaatar and olive oil in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a pizza stone or a baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven.
- Punch the dough knead it for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.
- Roll out a piece of dough into ½ inch thick. Place it on a parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of the zaatar olive oil mix on top and leave about ½ inch margin.
- Place the parchment paper on the pizza stone/baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces.
- Keep the manakeesh zaatar under a kitchen towel to stay warm and soft.
- Make sure your yeast is not expired otherwise it won't proof. In this manakish recipe I have used instant yeast which can be added directly to the dry ingredients.
- You can easily freeze zaatar manakish. After they completely cool down, layer them with parchment papers and wrap tightly in a plastic wrap. You can thaw them in the fridge overnight or in the oven at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes.
- These are best served fresh, however, you can store the leftovers in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 7 days.
- You can serve manakeesh with labneh and feta cheese for a complete breakfast.