You all know what pitta bread is but you might be asking what on earth is zaatar?! In a nutshell, it's a combination of a few dried herbs and spices mixed together that requires little effort to make. It's one of those things you'd find in every Middle Eastern home, just like us in the UK having peas in the freezer!
It takes about 5 minutes to make and when done gets popped in a jar and then in the cupboard with the rest of your spices for when needed. It may look like bird food but believe me the taste is unreal!
There is not one set recipe for zaatar and depending on where you come from and which recipe you follow it will be different. This is one I like, a bit more of a citrus kick with some extra sumac. Sumac is a spice now available in most supermarkets so check it out if you don't know it...trust me!
Zaatar Mix - Serves Two People
- Oregano, 2 tbs
- Thyme, 2 tbs
- Summac, 2 tbs
- Ground Cumin, 1 tsp
- Sesame Seeds, 2 tbs
- Salt, Pinch
- Olive Oil, 3 tbs
I like to toast the sesame seeds until light brown. Put them in a dry frying pan, on a medium heat, for a minute or two and stir continuously. Once done, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. That's it!
The measurements are for the purposes of the recipe. However, if you want to make more for storage just increase your quantities to scale.
I traditionally eat it at breakfast, dipping bread in olive oil and then into the zaatar mix. However, today I am putting it on top of my pitta bread to then go in the oven and bake at the same time.
Pitta Bread - Serves Two People
The easy bit! Quite a good feeling when you make your own pitta bread, especially when it's as straight forward as this.
- Plain Flour, 300 grams
- Water, 1/2 cup
- Yeast, 1 tsp
- Salt, Pinch
- Olive Oil, 2 tbs
Put the yeast in a small bowl and add half a cup of warm water and give a little mix. Leave it for 10 minutes.
Add the flour, salt and olive oil in a large mixing bowl, give it a little stir and gradually add the yeast and water. Mix with your hands and you will see it all come together nicely. Next step, put some flour on your surface and knead the dough, folding it on top of itself and apply pressure with the palm of your hands.
The dough will take a nice solid form. Mould into a nice round shape and once done put back in the mixing bowl and cover with cling film for 1 hour. When kneading if you feel the mix is too dry add some water, if too wet add more flour.
Final stages now. Divide the round shape into 4 pieces. I just used a dough cutter but a knife is just fine. Use your hands or a rolling pin to mould the dough into a mini pitta bread shape. Put some flour down on the surface as well so there is no sticking. Now its time for the zaatar.
Put the zaatar mix into a little bowl and add some olive oil, about 3 tbs. Apply the mixture on top of your bread. Place on a baking tray, on top of some greaseproof paper, and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 180 C / 350 F.
Finished article below. Great with a cup of black tea with some fresh mint added. I could eat this one all day...actually happened.Enjoy!
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