MANAKISH WITH CHEESE AND ZA’ATAR
By folding this Middle Eastern-style pizza along the equator, each bite delivers gooey mozzarella cheese and tart-herbal za’atar. While they are best eaten freshly baked, they can be cooked, wrapped and frozen then reheated straight from the freezer in a 300°F (150°C) oven.
2 tbsp (30 mL) sumac
5 tsp (25 mL) dried oregano
1 tbsp (15 mL) toasted sesame seeds 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
¼ tsp (1 mL) fine sea salt
1 cup (250 mL) lukewarm water, divided 1 tsp (5 mL) dry active yeast
½ tsp (2 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
½ tsp (2 mL) fine sea salt
2½ cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil 1½ cups (375 mL) grated mozzarella (about 5 oz/150 g)
Parsley, whole leaves or coarsely chopped
1 For the za’atar, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until evenly distributed. Transfer to an airtight container. (Za’atar will keep in a cool dark place for 6 months.)
2 For the dough, stir together ½ cup (125 mL) water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let stand until mixture begins to foam, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ½ cup (125 mL) water, olive oil and salt. Gradually stir in flour until a shaggy dough forms—you may not need all the flour at first. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Knead, dusting with more flour if sticky, until dough is smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl large enough for dough to double. Place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 3 Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line 2 heavyduty baking sheets with parchment paper.
4 Stir together za’atar and ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil.
5 Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 6 equal portions. Form a portion with your fingers into a disc and place on lightly floured work surface. Dust with flour and roll a circle approximately 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with 2 more portions of dough to get 3 rounds on a tray. For each round, smear half with 2 tsp (10 mL) za’atar mixture and sprinkle other half with ¼ cup (60 mL) mozzarella.
6 Bake on bottom shelf until bottoms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. While manakish are baking, repeat with remaining 3 portions of dough.
7 Garnish with parsley if desired, and eat by folding it in half so each bite gets some cheese and some spice mixture.