Simply Lebanese

Manakeesh

Manakeesh
  • Prep Time
    2 hrs
  • Cook Time
    12 mins
  • Serving
    6
Manakeesh is a Lebanese flatbread topped with a variety of possibilities such as za’atar, cheese, an onion and tomato mixture, or keshek.
Manakeesh

Manakeesh are a Middle-eastern flatbread typically eaten for breakfast. Delicious and crispy homemade dough is topped with a za’atar topping or a blend of cheeses for two different variety of Manakeesh. 

Manakeesh are a very popular breakfast food based in the Levantine region of the Middle-East. Manakeesh are pretty much a flatbread topped with a variety of possible toppings. A few of those toppings are za’atar, a blend of cheeses, an onion and tomato mixture, and keshek. Most often, Manakeesh are made the size of a personal pan pizza and folded in half like a sandwich for easy consumption. 

While there are many different varieties, za’atar and cheese are the most well-known manakeesh. In Lebanon, Manakeesh are known as the go-to breakfast. It is very similar to how in America, we consider an egg and cheese sandwich as our go-to breakfast. 

What is Za’atar?

Za’atar is a traditional spice blend of a combination of Lebanese oregano, a few other herbs, sumac and toasted sesame seeds. In Manakeesh, the za’atar blend is mixed with olive oil and spread onto the flatbread and then baked in brick oven.

I just came back from visiting Lebanon a couple of weeks ago. While I was there, I ate my fair share of Manakeesh from numerous bakeries. Most were quite delicious, however, occasionally others didn’t have enough za’atar on them, or the dough was chewy/too doughy, or the za’atar on hand was not the freshest. This is why in local bakeries, you will find that some people like to bring their own za’atar mix/shredded cheese from home for the baker with specific instructions for making them to their personal preference i.e. making the manakeesh thinner or thicker, etc.

The Dough

The dough recipe I use for these homemade manakeesh comes from my mother. The only difference I have adapted overtime is using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. You most definitely can use all-purpose flour if you prefer, I just love how fluffy the dough comes out using bread flour! I bought the za’atar spice blend freshly made in my village from Lebanon. You mix an even ratio of the Za’atar with olive oil (Vegetable oil can be substituted.)

The cheese most often used in manakeesh is a white salty cheese known as akawi. Occasionally a milder cheese called Nabulsi is used. I have also used queso blanco mixed with mozzarella (and a pinch of salt!) as a delicious substitute.

Manakeesh or a Manoushe (singular) is delicious served with olives, labneh, some freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and some mint. This recipe is enough for approximately 6 servings, 2 manakeesh per person. I prefer the manakeesh about medium sized, however, you can divide the dough into 6 instead 12 balls and make 6 larger manakeesh if you prefer.

STEP 1 - Dough Preparation

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar and ½ cup of the warm water. The water should not be too hot or the yeast will not proof. Mix together and set aside for about 10 minutes until foamy.

STEP 2

Add the flour, remaining water and salt to the proofed yeast. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, begin mixing on low speed.Slowly add the oil and increase the speed until fully combined. If the dough is sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.

If you find the dough wont combine, add water, also a tablespoon at a time.The dough can be made without a stand mixer and kneaded by hand.

STEP 3

Lightly flour the bowl and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area for an hour, until doubled in size.

Manakeesh
Manakeesh

After an hour or so, divide the dough into 12 balls. Cover with a towel and let rise for an additional 30-45 minutes.

Manakeesh

STEP 4 - Toppings

Soak the akawi cheese in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes to let out some the salt.

STEP 5

Shred the soaked akawi cheese using a large box grater. Combine the shredded akawi cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese in a medium sized bowl.

Combine the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl.

Manakeesh

STEP 6

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP 7

On a floured surface, roll out each dough ball into 6 inches in diameter. Place the flattened dough on the prepared baking sheet.

Top 6 of the flatbreads with cheese and 6 with the za’atar spread, leaving a little bit of room on the edges for spreading (like a pizza).

Manakeesh
Manakeesh

STEP 8

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown the bottom.

Manakeesh

Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps well for about a week in Tupperware or sealed baggie (Place the cheese Manakeesh in the fridge).

Manakeesh
Manakeesh

Manakeesh (Zaatar and Cheese)

Manakeesh is a Lebanese flatbread topped with a variety of possibilities such as za’atar, cheese, an onion and tomato mixture, or keshek.
4.67 from 51 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Lebanese
Keyword: manakeesh, thyme pie, Zaatar and Cheese
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 246kcal

Ingredients

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups Bread Flour
  • tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tb. White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Warm Water
  • cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Za’atar / Cheese Toppings

  • 6 tb. Za’atar
  • 6 tb. Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Akawi Cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar and ½ cup of the warm water. The water should not be too hot or the yeast will not proof. Mix together and set aside for about 10 minutes until foamy. 
  • Add the flour, remaining water and salt to the proofed yeast. Using the dough hook of your stand mixer, begin mixing on low speed. Slowly add the oil and increase the speed until fully combined. If the dough is sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If you find the dough wont combine, add water, also a tablespoon at a time. The dough can be made without a stand mixer and kneaded by hand.
  • Lightly flour the bowl and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area for an hour, until doubled in size. After an hour or so, divide the dough into 12 balls. Recover with towel and let rise for an additional 30-45 minutes. 
  • Soak the akawi cheese in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes to let out some the salt. 
  • Combine the za’atar and olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Shred the soaked akawi cheese using a large box grater. Combine the shredded akawi cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese in a medium sized bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • On a floured surface, roll out each dough ball into 6 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet. Top 6 of the flatbread with cheese and 6 with the za’atar mix, leaving a little bit of room on the edges for spreading (like a pizza).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown the bottom. 
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps well for about a week in Tupperware or sealed baggie (Cheese Manakeesh in the fridge). 

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.7g | Sodium: 190.3mg | Potassium: 0.1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1.4g | Iron: 1.5mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • EVGENIA PAPAMAKARIOY

      5 stars
      Very nice recipe and easy!Thank you!

      • Iman

        Thank you!

    • Daniel

      5 stars
      For how long can I store the dough aside for other time of use?
      Should I store it in fridge or freezer?

      • Iman

        You can freeze or refrigerate the dough. I wouldn’t leave it in the fridge for more than 3 days!

        • Alia

          5 stars
          I tried the recipe and it was super good, i would recomend this for a party bcs its so yummy;)

    • laura da silva solis

      4 stars
      i tried this recipe tonite and it was very good, but i did need to modify a few things. i had to add about to add about 2 tablespoons more water to the dough because only one cup water left the dough a bit dry. also, 10 minutes in the oven was too much, the first 2 were dry, so i started only cooking the pies 5 6 minutes in the oven. (i used a cast iron flat pan instead of my pizza stone.) i used to bake breads all the time and rarely ever bought store bread. oh, and i cut the bread flour with AP, 50/50. anyway, thank you for posting the recipe. im very glad i tried it.

      • Iman

        Depending on how much flour is packed into a cup, yes, sometimes more water is needed. And the oven temperature differs from oven to oven so I am glad you were able to adjust it to work out for you, thank you!

    • Sama Abbas

      5 stars
      Hello! I am on a diet and I want to make it with whole wheat, will that affect the outcome of the bread or will it be the same? (I ask because I once made a whole wheat bread loaf and a white bread loaf and the white one was more fluffy and had more air bubbles, while the whole wheat barely fluffed up).

      Just to put it out there, the whole wheat flour I am using has a picture of bread and a muffin on it, so I think it is usable.

      Thank you so much for this recipe, can’t wait to try it out!

      • Iman

        Whole wheat flour will make the dough less soft and fluffy but, should still be tasty. For the best texture, I would recommend mixing regular flour with whole wheat. Maybe 2/3 whole wheat flour and 1/3 white flour. I have done this many times and the texture is wonderful. Enjoy!

    • Lilly

      5 stars
      Very delicious. I used the last bit of my Akawi cheese. What can I use as a substitute for the Akawi cheese next time?

      • Iman

        Any firm white cheese should work. I have tried queso blanco and queso fresco and they were delicious.

    • Liyana

      Can the dough be made in advance and refrigerated a day in advance.

      • Iman

        Yes, you can definitely make it in advance and refrigerate it! Just let it come to room temperature for at least 3o minutes before working with it.

        • Liyana

          5 stars
          Thanks. Have tried this recipe before and its always been a hit.

          • Iman

            Awesome, so glad!

        • Katherine Sumner

          Will this recipe works at high altitude 8000 feet snouts sea level? And can I freeze after cooking bread then unfreeze and add cheese or Zatar?

        • Rona

          Can the dough be left on room temperature overnight? Or need to be refrigerated?

          • Iman

            It needs to be refrigerated. Take out about 30 minutes before using to let it come back to room temperature!

    • Gigi

      Best 3ajine recipe and very easy! I normally have dough that is too elastic, making it hard to roll out for a thin manoushe. I didn’t have to adjust anything and my non Lebanese boyfriend loved his first manoushe za3tar!

      • Iman

        Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed it..

    • Christine Palmer

      hi there,
      just wanted to know what .33 cup mean?

      • Liyana Advani

        1/3rd cup

    • Johnson

      May I know for your 3 cups of flour is equivalent to how many grams?
      Thank you.

      • Iman

        Hi! I have never weighed it myself but, according to google 1 cup of flour is equal to 120g. So, 3 cups should be 360 grams.

    • Sofia

      Thank you for the reply, Iman.

      According to my local bakery (where I bought cheese manakeesh), they use unsalted akawi. Will try adding mozzarella next time (I completely forgot this the last time I made manakeesh).

      Have a nice day!

    • Sofia

      5 stars
      Hello Iman

      I made cheese manakeesh using Akawi cheese. The cheese was really salty (I soaked it in water for 30 mins). Will try with Nabulsi next time. Oh, I bought zatar but forgot to use it! The dough was amazing. Another great recipe. So glad I found your website! Thank you.

      • Iman

        Add some mozzarella cheese to akawi next time to tame down saltiness! Nabulsi should work wonderfully as well. Im so happy you enjoyed them!

      • Liyana Advani

        5 stars
        Try getting unsalted akawi. And i found that if i soaked it in water for 8 hours and changed the water every 30 min, it was a lot less salty.

    • Suzanne

      5 stars
      I made both Zaatar and Cheese (Akawi and Mozzarella) manoushi with this recipe for breakfast today. My family loved it. The dough is soft and not doughy and I baked them in my oven on 475C using my pizza stone. Cooked in 4 minutes. Great way to start a rainy Sunday.

      • Iman

        Thats wonderful, glad they enjoyed them!!

    • Leena Mathai

      How can I do this without an oven?

      • Iman

        You can bake manakeesh in a toaster oven, or even in a skillet stovetop. You’d have to roll out the dough fairly thin so it cooks through in a skillet and over medium-low heat.

    • Yola

      Cover the floured balls in a dry towel or wet towel? I read wet towel in a different recipe

      • Yola

        2 stars
        Also you should mention which oil goes into the mixing bowl for the dough as you have 2 different lots of oil . Maybe seperate the “zaatar ingredients” from the “dough ingredients.”

      • Iman

        Definitely a dry towel, if it was wet, I would have specified. I also edited the directions and ingredients to differentiate the two oils for you. Hope that helps!

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