Oh! That is the matter. The Herbie Za’atar flatbread that persuaded Reem Asil to quit her job as a community organizer all those years ago and open an Arab Street Corner Bakery in Oakland. the place of reem’s california Now serves as a commissary kitchen for the chef-restaurateur’s wholesale accounts. But you’ll find all of Asil’s sweet and savory Arabian bread, including manesh (singular, manoushe) at Ream in San Francisco.
This recipe is shown in Asil’s much-awaited new cookbook“Arabia: Recipes from the Lives of an Arab in the Diaspora” (Ten Speed Press, $35), published April 19.
Manesh, or Herbie Zaatar Flatbreads
Makes eight 10-inch flatbreads
1 recipe Basic Yeast Dough (see below)
All purpose flour for kneading dough
Semolina flour for dusting the kadhai
cup extra virgin olive oil
Divide the prepared dough into eight parts. Shape the pieces into rounds, cover with a dry dish towel (or brush the dough with a little oil and cover gently with plastic wrap) and let rest for 30 minutes. If you’re not baking right away, you can shape the dough and set it aside in the fridge until you’re ready to bake.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange oven racks on upper and lower thirds of oven; If you are using a baking stone, remove the lower rack from the oven, place the pizza stone on the floor of the oven and preheat the oven for at least 45 minutes.
Place the dough circles on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle them with flour and pat each round into a 4-inch disc. Working your way around the rim of each disc, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the edges and spread the dough. (If the dough is resistant, cover the round with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.) Once you’ve pinched around the entire circle, sprinkle with a light dusting of flour. Continue the process for the remaining discs.
Using a rolling pin, roll each round up and then down once, shifting a quarter turn and repeating the process, sprinkling flour as needed — until you have a 10-inch disc. Continue the process for the remaining discs. If space is limited, stack your discs on top of each other and dust with a sufficient amount of flour. Let the disc rest for another 5 minutes.
Make the za’atar-oil mixture. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar and oil, whisking or stirring until it becomes the texture of a sticky pesto.
Sprinkle a thin layer of semolina dough on an inverted sheet tray and place a disc on it. Spoon about 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of the za’atar-oil topping onto the dough and, using the back of a spoon, spread it to the edges, leaving about a 1/8-inch rim.
Place sheet tray on upper rack and bake for 2 minutes, until bubbles begin to form and crust forms on bread. Remove sheet tray from oven and, with tongs (or your hands if you dare!), transfer par-baked flatbread directly to bottom rack or on stone and bake until edges and crust are browned, about 3 minutes more. . , Repeat the process with the remaining rounds. Enjoy it by slicing or rolling up like a pizza.
Note: If you’re feeling brave and have a smidge of flour, you can cook the flatbread directly on the baking stone for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the edges and bottom of the dough are browned and golden.
original yeast dough
5½ cups bread flour
2½ cups hot water (about 100 degrees), divided
1½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
semolina flour for dusting
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, add the bread flour and then mix in 2¼ cups water. With the paddle attachment on slow speed or using a sturdy spoon, mix it until it resembles a thick batter. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
Whisk the remaining cup of water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl until the flour and water mixture remains. Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes. At this point, the yeast mixture should give off a sweet aroma and show a bubbly bloom.
To mix by hand: Use your hand to mix the yeast mixture, flour, salt, and oil into the flour. While holding the cup with one hand between your thumb and fingers, sift the dough until it forms a rough and shaggy ball. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth, springs back when dimples are formed and is spread like a window glass. It usually takes up to 10 minutes to knead it.
To mix in stand mixer: Add yeast mixture, flour, salt, and oil to bowl and use dough hook to mix flour on slow speed until everything comes together, scraping down bowl if necessary . Turn speed to medium and mix until dough lifts away from sides of bowl, 8 to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth, springs back when dimpled and spreads like a window glass.
Make the dough into a ball. Coat a large bowl with oil and take out the dough in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and let it rise in a warm draft-free place for 1½ hours or until doubled in size. If you don’t plan to use the dough right away, refrigerate until doubled in size, up to 12 hours.
– Reem Asil’s “Arabia: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in the Diaspora” (Ten Speed Press, $35)