When I was a newborn, my grandmother and namesake, Tata Wardee, came to live with us. She taught my mom how to cook everything Arabic. That's how traditional pocket bread became a part of my childhood and growing up. My mom, not Arabic herself, embraced the food traditions of the Middle East for her husband and her children (and I suppose for herself, too!).
I grew up on pocket bread. Pocket bread sandwiches loaded with hummus and veggies, yogurt cheese and veggies, falafel and tahini sauce, you name it… I also grew up on manqushah, Middle Eastern pizzas made from flattened pocket bread dough. Fragrant thyme from the za'atar blend and extra virgin olive oil — that's all it takes to make scrumptious pizza! Eat it flat or folded, and unbelievably amazing when right out of the oven.
Today, in my little family, we love to eat heritage dishes year round, but especially on holidays.
Middle Eastern Pizza Ingredients
- pizza crust dough*
- extra virgin olive oil
- za'atar herb blend
For the dough, choose either a pocket bread dough or pizza dough, preferably sourdough for best nutrition and digestibility. Here is Erin's sourdough pizza crust dough, and you'll find my sourdough pocket bread dough in the Sourdough eCourse.
Middle Eastern Pizza Method
Roll out 3″ to 4″ balls of dough to 7″ to 8″ circles. Allow to rise until puffy, covered with towel to keep warm. This takes an hour to several hours, depending on room temperature.
Preheat oven to hottest temperature: 500 or 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Press into the top of the dough with your fingertips, making little wells for the toppings to reside. Leave the edges thick.
In a small bowl, mix about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of za’atar with enough extra virgin olive oil to make a paste. You may need more or less depending on the size of your pizzas, how many pizzas you're making, and how much you add to each.
Spoon the paste onto the top of the dough rounds, and spread it all around with the back of a spoon. Put loaves in the oven to bake for 5 to 8 minutes. Optionally, switch to the upper rack and broil for a final browning. Sometimes this isn’t necessary, so just play it by ear and according to how crispy you want your pizza.
Remove from oven. Eat flat or folded, for a delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.
In the Sourdough eCourse, I share and demonstrate my family's traditional recipe for a triple-rise, soft, bready, chewy sourdough pocket bread. I also show you, on video, how to make the pizzas featured here. Come and join us anytime; you're never too late.
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