Zaatar Bread


Zaatar bread is a soft, Arabic-style bread topped with olive oil and the tangy spice mixture called zaatar. The bread can either be baked in the oven, quickly cooked in a skillet, or baked in the traditional Bedouin manner over an open fire.

A few weeks ago we celebrated a Middle Eastern food week over on my Mediterranean food blog, Hestia’s Kitchen. Along with the chickpea salad, Israeli salad, falafels, and homemade hummus we enjoyed these tangy breads. The recipe is adapted from one found in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Rodin. Yield about 15 bread rounds.

Making Zaatar Spice Mixture

Zaatar spice mix can be found in gourmet, specialty, or Middle Eastern food shops. If you are unable to find it, you can make your own mixture by combining equal amounts of dried thyme leaves and sesame seeds. Add up to ¼ of the total amount of powdered sumac. For example, combine ½ cup each of the thyme and sesame seeds, then up to ¼ cup of sumac. If sumac is not available in your area don’t worry, the sumac is entirely optional. Your breads will still be delicious.

Arabic Bread Recipe

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
2 cups Kamut® flour*
1 ½ tsp instant dried yeast
1 tsp honey
1 ½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 – 2 ½ cups lukewarm water

*I like to use Kamut® flour because of its soft, nutty quality. Spelt, whole wheat, or even additional all-purpose flour would work well here too.

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