Mana’esh – Bread with Zahtar
- Makes 2 large loafs or 6 small
- 10 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour ( 2 cups)
- 1 1/8 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. room temperature water ( 70 F to 78 F)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the breads
- 1 1/2 tablespoons zahtar
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the water and oil and give the mixture a few turns with a rubber spatula until a rough dough forms. Knead on medium speed until the dough comes together but is still a little ragged, about 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or dough-rising container, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. It will double in volume.
One hour before you want to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Turn it onto a lightly floured counter top and use a bench scraper or sharp chef’s knife to divide it into 2 equal pieces for large flat breads or 6 equal pieces for small ones. Shape the dough pieces into loose rounds, sprinkle with flour, and drape with plastic wrap. Let stand until puffy and almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
While the dough rounds are proofing, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baker’s peel with parchment paper. Use your hands to stretch the larger dough pieces into 8-inch circles or press the smaller ones into 3-inch circles.
Place the dough circles on the parchment-lined peel. Press your fingertips into the dough rounds to create little dimples. Brush the rounds liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.
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