Cooking with Love

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Za'atar Sesame Pita - without a pocket...

These are wonerful. They hug inside the tastes of the middle east - sesame, za'atar and of course...olive oil.

What is za'atar (from wikipedia):
Za'atar (Arabic زعتر , Armenian զահթար) is a mixture of spices originating in the Middle East. The Arabic term za'atar refers to any of various local herbs of the mint family, including marjoram, oregano and thyme. Alternate spellings include zaatar, zatar, zattar or zahatar.
Green za'atar mixture is traditionally composed of dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris), toasted white sesame seeds, and salt. Some sources also include savory, hyssop, oregano, cumin, and fennel seed. Red za'atar is made with dried thyme with sumac.
In Lebanon, there is a belief that this particular spice mixture makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za'atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam. The mixture is popular in Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Israel and North Africa and is popular within the Armenian diaspora. Palestinians consider za'atar as one of their staple foods. In Palestine, za'atar is frequently sprinkled on hummus or served with olive oil as a spread.
Za'atar is used to spice meats and vegetables, and is mixed with olive oil to make a spread (za'atar-ul-zayt or zayt-tu-zaa'tar), which is used as a dip for sesame rings (ka'k). Za'atar can also be spread on a dough base for the Middle-Eastern equivalent of a miniature pizza, also known as the manakish. It can be sprinkled on labneh (yogurt that has been drained until it becomes a tangy, creamy cheese). It can also be preserved in oil, by mixing with salt and rolling into balls, or by drying in the sun.

Za'atar Sesame Pita Pockets

500 grams all purpose flour
1 TBS fast acting yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1.25 cups warm water
3 TBS olive oil (I use at least 5...)

1 egg
sesame seeds
olive oil

Mix 1/4 cup warm water with the yeast and sugar until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Mix together the flour, olive oil salt and remaining water. Add the foamy water and mix until dough forms a ball. Cover with towel and let ferment till doubles in size.
Knead once more to let out air and roll into pita breads.
Brush with egg. Sprinkle sides with sesame. In the middle make a small "puddle" of olive oil and add za'atar.

Bake in preheated oven 15-20 minutes at 180C.


1 comment:

Cordelia said...

These look wonderful! I just baked my first ever batch of pita bread today, and was really disappointed. I'm going to try your recipe. I'm also going to look through your other recipes and bookmark the blog.

BTW, I'm using my daughter's Google ID because I don't have one, and it won't let me leave a comment just with my name and e-mail or website.