Zaatar bread is a soft, yeast-risen Lebanese flatbread known as manakish. Make this simple manakeesh recipe for a delicious breakfast or snack.
Typical Lebanese Breakfast
Many nutritionists say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Experience just one breakfast in Lebanon and you’ll realize that they take the meal seriously.
A typical Lebanese breakfast usually has an assortment of foods for any size appetite. On the table, you'll find everything from homemade labneh and cheeses to olives, tomatoes, and chopped veggie salad.
Zaatar and other savory spice blends are there for sprinkling onto the food, not only for flavor, but also for the health benefits.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sumac, oregano, turmeric and many other Middle Eastern spices are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties!
Also, because no meal is complete without carbs, there are usually baskets of bread and seeded crackers at the table. It's usually an assortment of warm breads like khubz, naan, and manakish.
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.
- Powdered milk- Using milk in a bread recipe is really just for additional flavor. If you don’t have any powdered milk on hand, you can skip it.
Another option is to replace powdered milk with an equal amount of liquid milk. However, you’d also have to reduce the amount of water in the recipe by the same amount.
- Yeast- Most, but not all flatbreads are made without yeast (unleavened). This zaatar bread is leavened with active dry yeast. Thankfully, the rise time isn’t very long; just under an hour. Also, it only needs to rise one time, not twice like traditional yeast breads.
Substitute for yeast:
If you can’t have yeast or you’re out and in a pinch, you can substitute it with equal parts lemon juice and baking soda. For this manakeesh recipe, you would use 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and lemon juice to replace the 2 teaspoons of yeast.
If you use a yeast substitute, keep in mind that it will activate immediately. This means the dough will begin rising right away, so you can skip the rising step of the recipe.
Za’atar: For variety, I made zaatar bread with half of the batch of flatbread dough. I prefer to make my own za'atar spice blend, but if you’d rather buy it, you can find it at most specialty Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Cheese: For the other half of the Lebanese flatbreads, I used a combination of shredded mozzarella and crumbled feta cheeses. If you prefer a different blend, any good quality, meltable cheeses work well.
Storing and Freezing Zaatar Bread
Like most other homemade breads, flatbreads will keep well for 4 to 5 days. Remember that they do not have any preservatives in them, so they should be enjoyed as soon as possible.
If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, flatbreads freeze well for up to 3 months. Just be sure to freeze them in an airtight, freezer-safe container or storage bag.
Zaatar Bread (Manakeesh Recipe)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp dry powdered milk or powdered buttermilk
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
Zaatar topping (enough for 4)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup zaatar
- 1 tbsp 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.