Vegan Za’atar Bread (Manakeesh Za’atar): It’s Detox Time

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Detox bread anyone?

I definitely need one. Look at the last two blog posts and you will easily gather the amount of carbs and sugar my body is harboring right now.

In normal times, bakers find happiness in baking, but in trying times, bakers find life in baking.

On my frontiers, baking during the pandemic has been always a sanity saver and sometimes a messy, yet meaningful activity to include the kids in when I am not homeschooling.

Now, that movement restrictions in Singapore are loosened up, and my family is slowly resuming its outdoor social life, within limits, I realize how hard it has become to zip my pair of jeans!

Food anxiety has taken its toll on what I mistakingly presumed a steady weight.

Now and more than ever, I terribly need a detox diet that is detached from deprivation and less likely to debilitate my immune system.

By experience, going vegan proved to be my ideal mental and body detox.

It is a radical diet change for an omnivore like me, yet its positive impact on my mood and health is worthy of all the concessions that come with it.

Generally, I find the hardest vegan meal to compose is breakfast, yet luckily my Middle Eastern food repertoire has got me covered.

Foul Medames (stew of fava bean) or Manakeesh Zaatar can’t be a better substitute to my day starter of sunny side up eggs.

This week’s recipe is Za’atar Manakeesh. Manakeesh is a stovetop bread topped with Za’atar.

Za’atar literally means oregano in English but it has another significance in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Za’atar is a spice mix of dried thyme, oregano, majoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. There are also some other variations that include cumin and coriander.

Za’atar is packed with health benefits as it is rich in antioxidants. Historically, it was used as a medicine to treat infections and inflammation, and geographically it originates in the Levant.

Unlike the regular za’atar bread made of all-purpose flour, this guilt-free version of za’atar is made of whole wheat flour and speckled with bran.

It is a quick stove bread that freezes well and tastes fresh, fragrant, and pungent enough each time you heat it before serving.

The dough is pretty easy to pull together and the za’atar mix is easily available in Middle Eastern store.

I was in the habit of making my own za’atar until I stumbled on Greenfields’ Za’atar that carries the best za’atar, in my book. It is fragrant, moderately salted, zesty, tangy, empty of bitterness, and mildly strong. In my book, it is perfect.  BTW, this is not a paid ad, neither a sponsored blog post.

I do hope that you try this filling, detox, stovetop bread that will improve your mood and health.  If you do, don’t forget to hit like, drop a feedback line, and share the recipe link with others.


Vegan Whole Wheat Za’atar Bread (Manaeesh Za’atar)

 

Makes 6 medium disks of Za’atar Bread

INGREDIENTS

For the Bread 

  • 2 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • ¼ cup bran (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and some extra for greasing

For the Za’atar Garnish 

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons za’atar
  • Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS 

For the Bread

  1. Proof the yeast: Mix the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir until are ingredients are combined. Cover with a plastic film or towel and let it proof for 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and frothy.
  2. Make the dough: Mix the dry ingredients, the flour and salt. In a large mixing bowl, add the yeast-water mixture to the dry ingredients, add the olive oil and keep kneading either by hand (or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook) until a soft dough come together. The dough should spring back if you touch it.
  3. Let the dough rise: Place the dough in an oiled, clean, and deep bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rest in a warm place.
  4. Shape the Za’atar Manakeesh: When the dough is almost double in size, divide into equal pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball, drizzle some oil on top of each, and let them rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Roll out each ball into a ¼ inch dish and spread over the za’atar olive oil mixture.
  5. Cook the bread: On a hot stovetop griddle or a cast iron pan, transfer the discs one by one or two by two’s. It depends on how big is your pan. Once the surface of the bread starts to bubble, remove the bread.
  6. Serve the bread: This bread is better served hot along with a platter of cucumber, cherry tomatoes,  pickles, and cheese.

For the Za’atar Olive Oil Garnish

  1. Mix together ½ cup of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of za’atar, and salt and pepper. Spread a spoonful on each dough disk.

 

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here: https://cheznermine.com/about/

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