- Course: Antipasto/Mezze
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 6 Times
Francisco Betancourt is a fanner and father of four from Colombia who is the tireless backbone of Oleana’s kitchen. After he works at his day job in an Italian restaurant, Francisco comes into Oleana to wash the vegetables and greens, form the kofte (ground lamb kebobs), peel beets, cook mussels, peel and seed tomatoes, make dolmas, shuck peas, peel fava beans, plate desserts, and make manaaeesh.
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 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 4 hours to rise before baking, so it’s not something that can be whipped up quickly.
Manaaeesh is a great bread to serve with meals and it’s a centerpiece for many mezze-style dishes. It’s wonderful along side Whipped Feta, Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate, Spicy Carrot Puree, or Hot Buttered Hummus.
- 1 package (½ ounce) active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water (110°F to 120°F)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons za’atar
1. In the work bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the yeast into the warm water and let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, or until a gentle foam blooms across the surface. The water must be under 120°F or it will kill the yeast.
2. Whisk in the ¼ cup olive oil and add the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt.
3. Using the mixer’s dough hook or paddle, stir on low speed until the flour is combined and it forms dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is still sticky to the touch but stays on the dough hook in one piece.
4. Lightly oil a large stainless or glass bowl and scoop the dough into it. Cover with plastic and chill for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight; the dough should double in volume.
5. About 2 hours before baking, place the dough and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil on a heavy baking sheet and cover it with plastic, let it rest and rise again for 1½ hours at room temperature.
6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
7. Press the dough onto the baking sheet-using your hands to stretch and pull it into the corners-into a flat 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips (this creates little pockets for the oil and za’atar to collect in) and brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
8. Sprinkle the za’atar evenly over the dough, and then sprinkle the whole bread with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
9. Let the dough rest for at least 20 to 30 more minutes, uncovered and at room temperature.
10. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden on the edges and cooked all the way through in the center. Serve warm.
© 2006 Ana Sortun
Nutritional information is based on 12 servings.