Za’atar Flatbreads

I am a very bad author, because I have a serious Amazon habit. They just make it too freakin easy to go batshit mental on there. What with their suggestions and wish lists and things other people have bought together and oh, here’s a deal to get both at a special price. There’s the extremely dangerous ‘one click ordering’ and the stealthy Amazon Prime, which obviously, I have. They’ve made it all so easy, and now the stuff turns up before you’ve had a chance to remember you ordered it while drunk.

I struggled to carry my latest haul of no less than 8 fat cookery books home, in the rain, from the office, which is where Amazon delivered them because I forgot to change the address. Surely telepathic assessment of preferred delivery address is not far off? Anyway, amongst the spoils, a couple of Turkish numbers, from which I plucked this flatbread recipe. I needed something to do with the za’atar  you see, an option other than just eating it straight from the pot in such vast quantities that it makes my mouth pucker and sting.

It’s the house blend at Peckham Bazaar and it’s the best za’atar recipe ever. The word za’atar means ‘thyme’ in Arabic, and I generally find that shop bought blends are way too heavy on the herb; too many dusty green flecks, mixed with some sesame seeds and not enough sumac. This recipe contains poky Turkish chilli, and rose petals, which apart from adding a bit of Turkish delight fancy, also look the bomb. Salt is important too; proper, pyramid-crystallised sea salt and plenty of it.

Mixed with a bit of oil it’s ace smeared onto these breads. Now bear with me when I say they’re brilliant flatbreads because they’re all soft and er, bready. I just mean that they’re not tough and floury as a home made flat bread often can be. The recipe makes 12, which with hindsight was a dangerous move when I’m working at home alone all weekend. Not only does Amazon empty my bank account, it is also trying to make me fat. Don’t let me put you off buying my book from them though; it will cost you money but all the recipes in it are 100% calorie free. Fact.

You can also buy it direct from the publisher and in doing so side step a whole heap of problems. Ta da. 

Za’atar Recipe

150g toasted sesame seeds
20g sea salt
30g sumac
30g red chilli flakes
30g dried thyme
15g dried oregano
1 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 teaspoon rose petals

Toast the sesame seeds either spread out on a baking tray in a low oven or in a dry pan. They will darken slightly in colour and smell all, well, toasted. Keep an eye on them. Allow them to cool and then mix with all the other ingredients.

Flat Bread Recipe

(from Turkey: Recipes and Tales From the Road by Leanne Kitchen)

Makes 12 breads

1 teaspoon caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons dried yeast
600g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons salt

Olive oil and za’atar, for brushing the flat breads.

Mix the sugar with 100ml lukewarm water and add the yeast. Set aside until frothy. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then add the yeast mixture. Combine into a dough, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Cover with cling film and set aside until doubled in size (mine took an hour). Knock back the dough on a lightly floured surface then divide into 12 balls of equal size. Roll each out to a circle (about 9 inches) and cook in a dry frying pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes each side, until just coloured. In a small bowl, mix some za’atar with olive oil, just enough to lubricate matters slightly so you can smoosh it onto the bread. Give each a rub with the za’atar mix while still warm.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Alicia (foodycat) November 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve never had rose petals in za’atar before. It’s so pretty!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Very pretty! Don’t add too many though…hard to resist I know.

  • Avatar
    Reply Catherine November 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Nice. I was going to attempt a flatbread recipe without any yeast soon. Have you ever done them like that? Flatbread desire sated instantly.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Yeah and I’m afraid they produce the kind of flatbreads I don’t like – dry and too hard for my tastes. I think this is as fast as I’m prepared to go when it comes to bread making – an hour and a half isn’t bad.

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    Reply Maunika November 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Love zaatar! Altho never made my own. This is bookmarked for the next Christmas dinner for friends! Love the addition of rose petals x

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      It’s a world apart from the shop blends! Do try it x

  • Avatar
    Reply Ana November 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Your za’atar sounds fantastic!
    What other (than Leanne’s) Turkish book did you buy? 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I bought one called Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan which I’ve not had a proper look at yet. Exciting!

  • Avatar
    Reply Alex November 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    One of the saddest shop-bought za’atar mixes I ever saw had to be Bart ‘s. Dusty, flavourless, and no bloody sumac. And they wanted 4 f’in quid for it.

    I’m still grousing about it, and it was 6 months ago.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Absolutely typical of Bart’s bloody spices

  • Avatar
    Reply Marie Weiss November 14, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I wonder if we garnish it with Spanish Ham to make it sandwich ham it will look more delicious.

  • Avatar
    Reply Mary November 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Just made these flatbreads. Really nice although I needed a heck of a lot more than 100ml water, even taking into account the possibly different ash content of French flour. Also rolling the dough into 9″ circles made far too thin a flatbread, meaning a cardboardy texture; going for 6″ circles resulted in a more toothsome bread. Thanks for publishing the recipe!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      That’s really odd – I found the recipe to be absolutely fool proof. Best I’ve ever used. I couldn’t fault the method at all. I wonder why yours were so different.

  • Avatar
    Reply Mary November 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    different ingredients etc etc. No disrespect to the recipe meant at all. It’s all about tweaking, isn’t it?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      I don’t mind, it’s not my recipe! Ha ha. Thinking about it I don’t think mine were 9 inch circles either – basically I would never actually measure it so I probably just rolled them out and thought ‘that’ll do’.

  • Avatar
    Reply Alex November 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

    My flatbreads always look a bit odd due to the fact I don’t own a rolling pin – my fiancé balked at paying 7 quid for one and conveniently ‘forgot’ to add it to the shopping list. So I’m still using a cylindrical glass vase I found in the back of the cupboard as a rolling pin, which is bound to end in tears and lacerated hands.

    Anyway, the za’atar recipe – it was the BOLLOCKS. Fabulous, fabulous stuff. I made a shitload of hummus just so I could mix the za’atar into it, then sit there in my pants watching ‘Breaking Bad’ and eating it with my glass splinter flatbreads like the glamorous bitch I am.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Ha ha! Brilliant. I read that first as ‘the za’atar was bollocks’. So pleased you like it! Best za’atar recipe EVER. Eating it in your pants – nice touch.

  • Avatar
    Reply Alex November 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I must admit I sat there for minute wondering if I should’ve written ‘THE BOLLOCKS’ 😉

    It’s a fantastic recipe. I was face down in the tupperware box for ages, just inhaling it and muttering filth to myself. Nothing new there (I spend quite a lot of my life face down), but seriously, I was ridiculously happy at just how lovely it was!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen November 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

      I will admit that just last night I was eating it straight from the jar with my fingers. True story!

  • Avatar
    Reply Alex November 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

    It’s okay, I validate you!

    I’m thinking about incorporating it into my falafel mix – yeah it’s hardly traditional, but if it tastes good, personally I couldn’t give less of a shit.

    I’ll need to think of a new way of eating them too. Maybe pants AND socks this time?

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