Manakish are a delicious Middle Eastern flatbread topped with zaatar or cheese or a variety of toppings. It’s an olive oil based dough that comes together so quickly and easily. You’ll love this!
What are manakish?
Manakish are savory pastries also known as manaeesh, manouche, man’ouche or manaqish depending on the dialect you are using. They are leavened Middle Eastern flatbreads, usually topped with toppings but no sauce.
No matter how you say it, there’s no denying how delicious manakish are. They are traditionally made in a wood fire oven, but you can recreate the deliciousness at home.
The dough itself has a prominent flavor of olive oil, and you can top with a bunch of different items. I’ll add a heading below with some topping ideas for you!
What ingredients do you need for manakish dough?
The ingredients for the dough are every day ingredients you’ll probably have right in your pantry.
All you need is:
Flour: I like using a 50/50 mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour. You can do all of either, but the full whole wheat flour will be denser and not as fluffy or light.
You can also use bread flour, or a mix of regular flour and bread flour. This recipe is pretty forgiving!
I haven’t tried this with any gluten free flour or flour blends so I can’t speak to that.
Olive Oil: use the best quality olive oil you can get, because the flavor is really prominent in this recipe.
Warm Water: you want lukewarm water, that’s not too hot that it’ll burn the yeast, but warm enough to activate it- about 110 F or 40 C. I never bother reading the water temperature with a thermometer, I just stick a finger in it. If it’s warm to the touch but not so hot that I want to remove my finger, then that’s what I aim for.
How to make manakish dough:
It’s such an easy and forgiving dough to work with!
You mix together half the flour with the instant yeast, sugar and salt. Add in the warm water and olive oil, and mix to combine. use your hands, and it’ll come right together.
After that, simply add the remaining half of the flour, and give a little knead with your hands until combined and shaped in a smooth dough ball. Drizzle a boil with olive oil, place the dough ball in, and drizzle the top of the dough with more olive oil.
Allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size. I baked these after 30 minutes and they came out great.
I let the dough rise in a bowl inside my washing machine lol. This is one of my favorite hacks! It’s a warm enclosed place away from any drafty breezes.
Once dough is puffy and risen, you divide it into as many dough balls as you want. I did four big manakish, but I’d recommend doing 6-8 more moderate sized ones. Stretch out into manakish shaped oblong circles, by using fingers or a rolling pin, top with your preferred topping and bake in a hot 400F oven.
What can I top manakish with?
I topped these with a zaatar olive oil mix. This is a very traditional topping and it’s delicious! I like doing some plain zaatar, some zaatar topped with sliced halloumi. Usually, when eating the baked zaatar manaeesh, I’ll dip them in labneh. Super yum.
You can do an assortment of cheeses. Try all halloumi, kashkaval, akkawi cheese. You can also do shredded mozzarella, or a mix of cheese.
Nutella manakish are another very popular rendition. To make these, you’d have to spread on half the manakish dough, then fold over the other half of the dough on top, and bake calzone style so that the nutella doesn’t burn in the oven.
If you want labneh manakish, bake the dough until done, then spread labneh on it once it comes out of the oven. You can top with fresh mint, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Leftovers will keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge. Reheat before enjoying.
These also freeze so well. Wrap tightly, and freeze for 2-3 months. It’s so handy to have some in the freezer to stick in lunchboxes or have for breakfast or work lunches.
- 150 g all purpose flour 1 cup + 3 tbsp
- 150 g whole wheat flour 1 cup + 3 bsp
- 2.5 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup warm water 175 g
- plus extra olive oil for drizzling
For zaatar topping:
- 4 tbsp zaatar
- 5 tbsp olive oil
For cheese topping:
- sliced halloumi cheese, or akkawi cheese or kashkaval
- In a large bowl, add half the amount of flour, the yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Add the olive oil and warm water, and use your hands to mix the dough until combined. Add the remaining flour, and knead it in until dough is nice and smooth. Shape into a ball, and lift out of the bowl. Drizzle some olive oil in the bowl you were using, place the dough ball back in, and drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes or until dough is doubled and puffy. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C ).
- Punch dough down, knead a little, then divide into 6 or 8 balls, depending on the size of the manakish you want. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough balls into an oblong manakish shape like pictured. You can use your hands to shape the dough, or a rolling pin.The dough should be very easy to work with, but if it's sticky, lightly dust the top with flour
- Mix together the zaatar and olive oil to make the zaatar topping, and use a spoon to spread evenly on the dough, leaving a border of dough without zaatar. If using cheese, just top the zaatar mix with the cheese, or add cheese without any zaatar underneath. You might find it easier to place the dough on parchment lined baking sheets, and assemble directly on the sheets.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes (the range of time depends on the size of the manakish), until dough is lightly browned on the edges, and if you lift up a manakish the bottom is cooked through and lightly browned. I like to then broil for 1-2 minutes to get a little more crunch and to get the cheese golden brown.
- Let rest for a few minutes outside the oven for the zaatar topping to become a little less wet, then enjoy warm!
Manakish (Middle Eastern Flatbreads) by everylittlecrumb on Jumprope.