Cheese & Za’atar Flatbread Recipe

Middle Eastern-inspired flatbreads from Arabic chef Suzanne Husseini. "Manaqeesh za'atar is a common snack all over the Arab world and can be eaten anytime of the day. Basically it is a flatbread with a dry za'atar and olive oil topping. There are endless choices of toppings. Manaqeesh is the generic name for these breads. I love to combine fresh wild thyme, green onions and tomatoes as an alternative topping. Caramelized onions, spinach, labneh, eggs and cheese are also delicious options."


3-1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 cup za’atar (spice mixture with dried thyme)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. akkawi cheese, mozzarella or a combination of both (or of any white cheese you like)


Step 1: In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Pour in the 2 tbsp oil and the water gradually. Mix to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until the dough becomes elastic and smooth.

Step 2: Place in a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise in a draft-free place for 1-1/2 hours until it doubles in size.

Step 3: Cut the dough into 8 equal parts and shape into balls. Dust with a little flour and cover with a towel. Leave to rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 5: Combine the za’atar and the 1/2 cup olive oil to make the topping. Shred the cheese and set aside.

Step 6: On a floured surface, flatten each ball and with a rolling pin roll into a circle of approximately 6-8″. Place on greased baking sheets and spread the za’atar/oil mixture on some of the circles leaving a 1/2″ border. Do the same for the cheese flatbreads. Use your fingers to spread the fillings evenly. Pinch and crimp the edges to create a decorative border.

Step 7: Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden, and serve hot.

See more recipes from Suzanne Husseini.

Reprinted with permission from Suzanne Husseini’s Modern Flavors of Arabia (2012 Appetite by Random House).