Za’atar is a Middle Eastern seasoning mixture that usually contains thyme, oregano, basil, sumac, and sesame seeds. It’s delicious sprinkled over this soft, pillowy flatbread from the chef-owner of Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What to buy: Za’atar can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocers or online.
- 1In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the yeast into the warm water and let the mixture stand until a gentle foam blooms across the surface, about 10 minutes. The water must be under 120°F or it will kill the yeast.
- 2Whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil and add the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.
- 3Using the dough hook, stir on low speed until the flour is combined and it forms a dough. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is still sticky to the touch but stays on the dough hook in one piece.
- 4Lightly oil a large stainless or glass bowl and scoop the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight; the dough should double in volume.
- 5About 2 hours before baking, brush 2 tablespoons of the oil on a heavy baking sheet, place the dough on the sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise again for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.
- 6Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- 7Press the dough onto the baking sheet, using your hands to stretch and pull it into the corners, forming a flat 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Make dimples in the dough with your fingertips (this creates little pockets for the oil and za’atar to collect in) and brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 8Sprinkle the za’atar evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the whole bread with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- 9Let the dough rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes more, uncovered and at room temperature.
- 10Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and cooked all the way through in the center. Serve warm.