Manakish, Middle Eastern Flatbread with cheese

On this page I’m sharing the recipe for Manakish with cheese. Manakish is a Middle Eastern Flatbread popular in the Lebanese kitchen and other Levantine countries. Manakish, or sometimes called Manousheh in singular form, is easier to make than you think. There are several variations of Manakish, on this page I’m sharing an easy Cheese Manakish recipe.

What is Manakish

Manakish (or Manousheh) is a flatbread dish that’s popular in Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon. It’s flat dough in a round shape, topped with thyme, minced meat, or like with this recipe: cheese.
The edges of the Manakish are without topping, or sometimes the edges are pressed up a bit so that the toppings stay in place.
Although you can eat Manakish as a snack or starter, it’s officially a breakfast or lunch dish in Levantine countries. The Levant consists of Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. So in those countries you’ll often see Manakish on the breakfast or lunch menu. But you can also find it in neighboring countries.

Main ingredients Manakish

It’s quite easy to make the dough for Manakish, you don’t need that many ingredients. All you need is flour, oil, water and yeast. The dough doesn’t need to rise long, and the Manakish doesn’t need to bake long in the oven. So you can make it in the morning and enjoy it for brunch!

Sometimes Manakish are topped with minced meat, but I’m a vegetarian so I made a vegetarian version. Luckily Cheese Manakish are also really popular. So I’m telling you how to make a tasty and easy Cheese Manakish.

Another important ingredient for Manakish is za’atar. It’s a Middle Eastern herb mixture, consisting of mainly of dried thyme, oregano and toasted sesame seeds. I used to get my za’atar mixture from a friend from Israel, but luckily it’s now available in most big Dutch supermarkets. It’s often not located with the other herbs and spices, but at the section with non-European products.
Got some za’atar left after making this Cheese Manakish? It’s also great on Shakshuka.

Cheese Manakish

The two types of cheese that Cheese Manakish are made with are Akkawi and Kashkaval. Both cheeses are not widely available in western European countries. But luckily you can easily replace them by feta cheese and mozzarella. For my Cheese Manakish recipe I used a mixture of these two cheeses.

Recipe Cheese Manakish

Ingredients (for 4 Manakish):
300 grams flour (plus a little extra)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
250 ml warm water
60 ml olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
125 grams Mozzarella cheese
125 grams feta cheese
4 teaspoons za’atar herbs
Fresh Parsley

Put 100 grams of flour in a bowl, add the instant yeast, the water and the sugar. Use a spoon to stir the mixture. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the flour, the olive oil and the sea salt. Mix well.
Use your hands to knead the dough for 3-5 minutes. Cover with cling film and set aside for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, crumble the feta cheese and pull apart the mozzarella. Mix together the two cheeses in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Take 1/4 of the dough and put it on a flour covered surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten into a thin round pie. Put the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can probably only fit two on each sheet.
Divide the cheese mixture over the flatbreads. Sprinkle with the za’atar herbs.
Bake the cheese Manakish in the oven for 15-18 minutes. If you use twee baking sheets, switch the bottom and the top sheet halfway through.

Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley before serving. The Manakish are best when served warm. If you made them earlier, you can warm them by putting them in a preheated oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.

You might also like my recipe for the Israeli sandwich Sabich.

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