Lebanese Zaatar Bread, or manakish, is a Middle Eastern flatbread that’s mild, soft, and great for a light breakfast or easy snack! Enjoy with savory, smoky zaatar seasonings or top it off with creamy, tangy cheese. Both are delicious!
The Arabic name for zaatar bread is manakish, or sometimes spelled manakeesh. Many enjoy it as a simple, mild breakfast. It has a gentle sweetness and pillowy texture that is easy on the stomach.
The dough is very simple and easy to make: the secret to its soft texture and comforting flavor is powdered milk, which may be the only ingredient you don’t already have.
In my manakeesh recipe, I’ll show you how to make a robust spice topping made with my curated Zaatar Spice blend, as well as a tangy feta and mozzarella cheese spread. However, you can truly top this with anything you’d like. Treat it like a Middle Eastern pizza flatbread and customize it to fit any craving, meal, or occasion.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sumac, oregano, turmeric and many other Middle Eastern spices are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties!
What is manakish?
The delicious breakfast staple is an easy-to-make Lebanese flatbread. While it can be eaten plain, the bread is usually topped with a combination of meat, spice blends, and/or cheeses.
Oh, and there SO many different spellings for it, including manakish, manakeesh, manaeesh, and manaqish. If you're referring to one piece of flatbread, the singular is manousheh.
Of all the varieties, zaatar bread stands out as my favorite manakeesh recipe! Soft yeast-risen flatbread has a topping of olive oil and Lebanese za’atar. It’s most popular for breakfast, but it sure does make for an amazing snack or appetizer too!
Video: How to Make Zaatar Bread
This manakeesh recipe is pretty simple to make, even if you don’t normally bake your own bread. To see the process from start to finish, just watch the video in the recipe card below.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Dough - A simple dry yeast dough made with granulated sugar, warm water, all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and olive oil. There is one somewhat unusual ingredient in the mix, though veteran bread makers are likely used to using:
- Powdered Milk - It will tenderize the bread and make it incredibly soft, as well as add a gentle, mildly sweet flavor. You can also use powdered buttermilk.
- Zaatar Topping - Olive oil and water mixed with zaatar spice, a Lebanese spice blend containing sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, and salt.
- Cheese Topping - A combination of shredded mozzarella cheese and crumbled feta cheese. For a stronger, tangier flavor, you could add goat cheese as well or in place of the feta.
HOW TO MAKE ZAATAR BREAD DOUGH
- Proof the Yeast. Mix the yeast and sugar into a small bowl of warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Sift the Dry Ingredients. While the yeast mixture proofs, sift the flour, dry milk, and salt into a separate mixing bowl.
- Knead the Dough. Pour the proofed yeast mixture and olive oil into the mixing bowl with the flour. Knead for roughly 10 minutes, using the dough hook attachment for your stand mixer, adding the warm water bit by bit all the while.
- Let Rise. Once the dough reaches a smooth consistency, cover and let rise for an hour.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE ZAATAR BREAD
- Prep the Oven and Pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare the Toppings. While the oven preheats, prepare the zaatar topping by mixing all of the ingredients with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine the cheeses for the cheese topping. Set both aside.
- Divide the Dough. Move the dough ball to a floured surface and cut it into 8 pieces of equal size. Roll each piece into a ball. Set one ball aside, and cover the rest.
- Shape the Manakish. Roll the ball into an 8” circle on the floured surface, coating the circle with flour during the process. Repeat with the other 7 pieces.
- Add the Toppings. Arrange the flatbreads in sets of 4 on each baking sheet. Spread the zaatar topping on one set of circles, and sprinkle the cheese mixture on the other. Take the toppings all the way to the edge of each piece.
- Bake & Serve. Pop the pans into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Once the bottom of the flatbreads brown, they’re ready! Serve right away, while they’re still warm.
What is zaatar bread made of?
Manakish is made with a slightly sweet yeast dough, made soft and fluffy with the addition of powdered milk. Olive oil makes it moist and chewy as well, giving the flatbread a very pleasant consistency and flavor.
Is zaatar manakeesh healthy?
There are quite a few calories in manakish: 419 in this recipe, which yields 8 servings. While not exactly healthy, you could lower calories and carbs by using whole wheat and opting for low fat toppings.
Can you freeze zaatar bread?
Absolutely! You can freeze dough for up to 4 weeks, so I definitely recommend making this manakeesh recipe in bulk if you love to eat flatbread. Thaw in the refrigerator before proceeding with baking.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend freezing after baking. If you choose to do so, thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat in an oven at 300°F until the dough becomes firm and fluffy.
This recipe first appeared on Silk Road Recipes in April 2021 and has been updated with new content, photos and/or video.
Zaatar Bread (Manakish)
- 2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon dry powdered milk (or powdered buttermilk)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
Zaatar topping (enough for 4)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup zaatar spice
- 1 tablespoon water
Cheese topping (enough for 4)
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Combine yeast, sugar and ½ cup of the warm water in a small bowl and stir. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
- In a mixer bowl, sift in the flour, dry milk and salt.
- Add the yeast mixture and olive oil to the flour and using the dough hook, knead for 10 minutes adding the remaining ½ cup water little by little until a nice consistent dough is formed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size or for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets (enough to hold two 8" circles) with silicon mat or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, blend the zaatar mixture, then set aside. In another small bowl, combine the cheeses and set aside.
- Lightly flour work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each into a ball by rolling it on the work surface in a circular motion.
- Working with one ball at a time (cover the rest with plastic wrap) roll the dough ball into an 8" circle, lightly dusting with flour as you roll.
- Arrange 2 dough rounds per baking sheet. Divide the za’atar oil mixture on top of 4 flatbreads and the cheese mixture over the remaining 4 dough rounds, spreading the toppings to edge of each flatbread.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the bottom of the manakeesh turns a golden brown. Serve immediately.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.