Serves a Crowd

Aromatic Olive-Oil Seed Bread (with Zaatar Paste)

by:
November  9, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by bidoun
Author Notes

This recipe is adapted from my auntie Fariza’s “Ba’aat” recipe, a simple olive-oil village bread from Lebanon that requires minimal kneading and is beautifully nutty and aromatic with toasted seeds. I like it served with a zingy olive-oil-zaatar paste which I included in this recipe. It is guaranteed to take your love of home-baked bread goodness to the next level. You're getting into infatuation territory. —bidoun

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes About 24 mini loaves
Ingredients
  • Bread Starter
  • 1 tablespoon Active dry east
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup Warm water (warm enough to activate the yeast but not kill it!)
  • Main Ingredients
  • 3 cups Whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups Artisan bread flour
  • 1/4 cup Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup Aniseeds
  • 1 tablespoon Sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Nigella seeds - Also known as black caraway, black cumin, or kalonji (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground mahleb (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 1/2 cups Warm water
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil and about a 1/4 cup more for greasing and shaping
  • 1 cup High quality Palestinian blend zaatar
  • 1 cup Olive oil
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Get the starter going by mixing the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large glass cup or jar covered loosely with kitchen towel or small saucer. You’ll know your yeast is active and healthy when a nice thick layer of foam forms on the water’s surface (about 7 minutes)
  2. Dump all of your main ingredients together (except for the water and oil) in a big mixing bowl and give them a nice whisk to incorporate.
  3. To the bowl, add your starter mixture and about 1 cup of water, then use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix well. Once all the dry ingredients are wet, start adding the remaining water slowly and kneading until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball (about 5 minutes). Finally, add the oil and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be slightly less sticky when you add the oil and should come together nicely into ball.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl greased with a dash of olive oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit in your kitchen’s warmest corner for about 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.
  5. Once doubled in size, transfer to a work surface, kneed for no more than 2 minutes, then cut and shape into 24 boules (about 2.5” diameter) and let rest covered with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. Now is a good time to turn on the oven.
  6. Set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Dip your fingers in olive oil and press the surface of each boule lightly so it turns into a moderately-flattened, roughly-shaped circle. It should keep about 1/2" thickness and you should see the marks of your fingers creating an uneven moon-like surface.
  8. Transfer to a baking sheet, and pop in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the bottom is dry and golden, then transfer the sheets to broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the top surface is toasted and golden.
  9. Let cool for a few minutes uncovered.
  10. Meanwhile make the Zaatar paste simply by mixing the Zaatar and olive oil in a bowl.
  11. Enjoy by dipping in or scooping the Zaatar paste. Also try with a hard cheese and some fig jam or honey.

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