Saj Bread is a think dough disk cooked on a hot iron surface to come up fluffy and delicious. Homemade Saj bread is fairly easy to make and takes less time than going all the way to the grocery store to buy it.
What is Saj bread
Saj bread is of 1/4-inch disk that is use as a warp for shawarma (chicken or beef) and falafel. Saj bread should be thin yet sturdy enough to be spread with toum (vegan garlic sauce) or tahini, lined with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and then topped with either the shawarma or the falafel.
To glue everything together, the Saj warp gets a light press in the panini machine.
What is the Epic Saj Bread
In my book, an ideal flat bread should be:
- 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
How To Make Saj Bread
Funny enough this recipe is the product of mere coincidence! I tried so many recipe before one worked perfectly one.
I actually forgot adding baking powder and surprisingly it came up just fine with yeast. This recipe is so simple and easy to make and takes minutes to make the dough in the stand mixer.
Start by proofing the yeast. Until the yeast water mixtures becomes frothy, Mix the dry ingredients in the container of the stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, and then add the frothy yeast mixture slowly to the dry ingredients.
Let the dough rise, and then start dividing the dough into equal size balls. Let each ball rest for 20 minutes and then start by rolling out into a think dish of 1/4-inch.
Saj Bread is Freezer Friendly and Make-Ahead
Saj bread is an excellent freezer asset. You make the dough, roll it out and then separate with the different dough disks with parchment paper.
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Saj Bread: Flat Bread: خبز الصاج
Recipe adapted from Ms. Manal Alalem
Makes 8 bread pieces
- 2 1/2 cup white flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 3/4 water, warm
- 1/2 cup milk, warm (for a non dairy option, use almonds or cashew milk)
- 1/4 oil, warm
- Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer or regular deep bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake the Saj 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.
- 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.