Monday, February 20, 2012
I wasn't going to blog about this bread because it's embarrassingly easy to make, as long as you have the za'atar (or zatar--or, for that matter, zaatar, zatr, zattr, zahatar, zaktar or satar).
If you have the spice mixture, however you want to spell it, you can make a close approximation of the bread just by buying pita or other flatbread, brushing it with olive oil, sprinkling the za'atar mixture on top, and baking it for 5 minutes or so. I got my mixture at Penzey's, but it's also available at a number of on-line sources. (When I was at our local Penzey's store, I remembered that I wanted this spice, but I couldn't remember what it was called. I asked if they had any Qatar. The nice man at Penazey's didn't say, "You moron, that's a country, not a spice." Instead, he kindly led me to the za'atar and said, "I think this is what you want." The Penzey's mixture has thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt, but other mixtures may also contain oregano, mint, marjoram, or savory. There are many recipes available via the internet, the source of all knowledge.
I simply used the master recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I halved the recipe, and used about two-thirds of that to make the flatbread. (The other third is being made today into a mini-boule that will be sliced and used to top some onion soup).
The dough is spread out flat, punched with your fingers, and doused with olive oil. Then you liberally sprinkle on the za'atar mixture and a little more salt (there is already some salt in the za'atar, so you want to be careful not to overdo the added salt).
I baked it for about 25 minutes at 425 in a convection oven, cut it into small wedges, and served it with hummus. Now za'atar is my new favorite taste sensation. It's salty, a little sour, herbal, and nutty. Artisan Bread in Five suggests using it in a kabob marinade or in fattoush--both sound great for summer cooking. Alas, summer is not yet here, but I hope the zatar will keep for a few more months.
Posted by Marie at 12:13 PM