Saj Bread: خبز الصاج

 

Over the last few years, I have tried an endless number of flat bread recipes, some were ok but none was good enough to tick all the boxes.  

In my book, an ideal flat bread:

  • Is pliable enough to make wraps
  • Doesn’t get soggy when it is spread with sauce (such as hummus, toum, etc,)
  • Gets perfectly crispy when toasted in the panini machine
  • Stands the test of both the fridge and freezer
  • Could be baked on the stove top

Funny enough this recipe is the product of mere coincidence, as I forgot one of the ingredients, which was baking powder. And, I am glad I did, as this misstep lead to a better result than the one I wished for. 

I knew the difference when I baked another batch with baking powder, yet it didn’t turn out as good as the first one.

This recipe is pretty straightforward, freezer friendly, and good for many purposes such as:

  • Shawarma or falafel warps 
  • Wraps for school lunches 

I make a big batch of the dough disks and freeze them unbaked. To bake them, I put the dough disk straight from the freezer on the preheated cast iron pan.


Saj Bread: Flat Bread: خبز الصاج

Recipe adapted from Ms. Manal Alalem

Makes 8 bread pieces

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cup white flour 
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat bread 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast 
  • 3/4 water, warm  
  • 1/2 cup milk, warm  (for non dairy, use almonds or cashew milk)
  • 1/4 oil, warm  

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or regular deep bowl.
  2. Add all the wet ingredients to a small pan and warm it either in the microwave or on the stove stop. The wet ingredients shouldn’t be hot or cold, just warm. 
  3. Make the dough: Slowly drizzle the warm mixture of wet ingredients over the mixture of dry ingredients while running the machine. When the dough comes together, remove it from the mixer. Knead it a few times on your kitchen counter and place it in a big enough bowl brushed with olive oil. Cover it with plastic film, a tea towel or both and let it rise in a warm place. 
  4. Shape the dough: When the dough is doubled in size, cut in eight equal pieces. Pinch the ends together and use the palm of your hand to shape them into small balls. Cover them again and let them rest for at least 30 minutes (see notes). Fold out each ball into disks using a rolling pin (the thickness is optional, yet I like mine pretty thin). Pile the dough disks on top of one another, separated by squares of  parchment paper. Let them rest at least one hour. At this point you can either freeze them or proceed to the next step.
  5. Bake the bread: Lay the bread disk on the preheated domed back of a wok in a cast iron pan. When you see the bubbles on the surface of the bread, flip on the other side. Don’t over bake the bread so it doesn’t loose its softness.  
  6. Make Manakeesh: If you will use the same bread for manakeesh or lamaju, put the dough disk on a cast iron skillet on middle-low heat and add immediately the olive oil and then the Zaatar. When it starts to bubble, remove it from the heat and don’t flip it on the other hand. 
NERMINE S NOTES
  • To break the work load on two days, you can leave the dough to rest in the fridge after it proofs. The second day, remove it from the fridge and let it proof again.
  • To freeze the bread disks, store them in a ziplock with squares of parchment paper separating them from one another. 

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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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