Rima's saj bread

The Recipe Hunters in Lebanon

We venture to Ramliyeh, Lebanon where Rima Massoud invites us into her home to teach us her artisan bread making of Saj! Watch Rima in action and be mesmerized by her bread making ability! Below, we added her recipe for making the bread dough! Enjoy! 

Rima's Manaeesh Recipe

The Recipe Hunters

in Lebanon

Manaeesh is a savory Lebanese flatbread topped with either za'atar (a blend of Lebanese herbs and spices), white cheese and sesame seeds,  kishk (fermented yogurt and bulgur) or tons of other homemade toppings. Saj bread or "Markouk" uses the same dough as manaeesh but the bread is thinner and much larger in diameter than manaeesh. Both breads are staples of the Lebanese breakfast spread and is the perfect bread for a mezze meal. Enjoy!

spreading zaatar on manaeesh, reem'as manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon

Manaeesh Recipe

Manaeesh ingredients

  • 4 cups of fine whole wheat flour

  • 1.5 Tbsp salt

  • ~ 1.5 cups of spring water

  • .5 cups of extra fine semolina flour to cake the bread balls when resting 

serves: 10 

Prep time: 1 hr

Rise time: 1 hour

bake time: ~ 15 min

 

Kitchen Tips & Tricks:

  • Feel free to top the manaeesh with your favorite toppings. 

  • Coat a thin layer of olive oil on your hands when rolling the balls.

1. Forming the Dough

 

Add the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour the water into the flour, incorporating the water little by little. Knead with your hands until the dough is wet but not sticky and homogenous throughout.

flour, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
salt in hand, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
adding water to the flour, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
mixing the wate rinto the dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
pounding the wet dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
kneading the dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
ripping the dough into partions, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon

2. Forming the Dough Balls and Letting Dough Rise

 

After the dough is homogenous and has an elastic-like texture, flour a working surface and partition the dough into 10 pieces. Form the partitions of dough into balls, by rolling them in your hands to the size of a clementine. Cover the balls in the semolina flour and place them side by side in a bowl or tupperware. Cover and let sit in a warm place for about 6 hours. 

reema and her daughter rolling manaeesh balls, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
rolling the manaeesh dough into balls, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
dough rising, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon

3. Forming the Manaeesh

 

When ready to bake, flour your work surface and flatten out the balls of dough into discs using your hands. Sprinkle the dough with flour if it is sticking to your hands. Press your fingers down into the manaeesh to create grooves in the dough which will eventually allow for little pools of cheese or za'atar to form in the final product. If using za'atar, blend 8 Tbsp of za'atar with 12 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and use this as a paste. 

forming the dough into a disc, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
reema's daughter making dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
pressing out the dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
forming dough, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon

4. Baking the Manaeesh

Place the manaeesh on a Saj grill or on an a oil-greased cookie sheet in the oven at 220°C (450° F).  When the dough begins to turn a golden brown color (approx. 15 min),  remove it from the oven, spread the toppings across the surface and allow it to bake for an additional 2 -3 minutes.

spreading kishk and red pepper paste, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
spreading za'atar of the manaeesh, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon
spreading za'atar of the manaeesh, manaeesh recipe, beirut, lebanon

Written by The Recipe Hunters: Anthony Morano and Leila Elamine