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Meniche or Manaaeesh Dough
(Flatbread with Za'atar)
Makes One 10"x12" Flatbread
Ingredients
*1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
*3/4 cup warm water (between 110F to 120F degrees)
*1/4 cup olive oil
*2 cups flour
*1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon for seasoning the top
*4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*4 tablespoons za'atar
Instructions
1In the work bowl of an electric mixer or Kitchen Aid, whisk the yeast into the warm water and let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until bubbles appear at the top. The water must be under 120F degrees or it will kill the yeast.
2Whisk in the olive oil and add the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
3Using the mixer's dough hook, stir on low speed until the flour is combined and it forms dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is still sticky to the touch, but stays on the dough hook in one piece.
4Place the dough in a large, oiled stainless steel or glass bowl. Cover with plastic and chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
5About 2 hours before baking, place the dough and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a heavy baking sheet and cover it with plastic. Let it rest and rise again for 1 1/2 hours. (Prepare the recipe to this point if using dough for the Scallop Pizza with Leeks and Fennel Seed.
6Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
7Press the dough onto the baking sheet - using your hands to stretch and pull it into the corners - into a flat 10"x12" rectangle. Make dimples in the dough with your finger tips (this creates little pockets for the oil and za'atar to collect in), and brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
8Sprinkle the za'atar evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the whole bread with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
9Let the dough rest for at least 20 to 30 more minutes.
10Bake for 15 minutes until golden on the edges and cooked all the way through in the center. Serve warm.
Notes
  • Manaaeesh is a Lebanese name for a flatbread baked with generous amounts of olive oil, salt and za'atar. It's not unlike a very thin foccacia. Francisco Betancourt, from Oleana's kitchen, helped me perfect this recipe.
  • Manaaeesh is best made and served the same day. You can, however, make the dough a day before and let it rise - lightly oiled and covered with plastic - overnight in the refrigerator. The dough needs at least 3 hours to rise before baking, so it's not something that can be whipped up quickly.
  • Source
    Chef/Owner Ana Sortun, Oleana Restaurant, Cambridge, MA from her book Spice Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, Reagan Books/Harper Collins, 2006