Warning: You will be tempted to take a bite out of the whole round without slicing it first. I say do it!
I don’t know why, but I’ve been feeling very mezzey lately. Maybe it’s because we are headed to Israel in so I have it on the mind, although usually I become obsessed with a cuisine AFTER we visit a new place. This kind of falls into the “mezzes” category. Mezzes are the little Mediterranean appetizer things, kind of like tapas but at the same more substantial. You can have one or two as an appetizer, or have a whole mess of mezzes and make a meal out of them.
This flat bread is kind of a meat-infused take on Za’atar bread, which can be anything as simple as warm pita, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of the Za’atar spice blend or a nice thick flatbread completely coated with the spices. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that usually involves oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes other additions like marjoram, sumac or cumin. A grocery store with a really good bulk spice section (like Central Market) should have it, you should be able to find it online for pretty cheap or you can make it at home. It really is a lovely spice blend, and is great to sprinkle into a dish of olive oil for dipping bread, on some hummus, season grilled meats with it or even sprinkle it on your morning fried egg.
I really don’t know what flies up my butt when I decide making bread from scratch is a good idea. I cannot lie, it is not a quick process, what with the kneading and the double rising. This will take you about two hours (mostly waiting) before you roll everything out. I got the recipe from another flatbread recipe I found but clearly made the toppings my own. I really wanted to do my own take on Za’atar bread. You know what though? This dough was incredibly easy to work with once I was rolling it out. It wasn’t so sticky that I needed a gallon of flour just to roll it out and the whole rolling/topping/baking process went pretty swiftly even though the recipe made four flat breads. You roll out and prep the next one while the first is baking, then repeat, etc. I bet you can refrigerate the dough for a day or two, or even freeze it, which would be nice if you want to make this for entertaining. I will definitely be keeping this dough recipe in my back pocket for other flat bread adventures. Because I mean, clearly we need to do this again with cheese.
These are great served hot or at room temp. If you have leftovers, just set it right on the rack and broil for about 3-4 minutes so it will be crispy.
Meaty Za’atar bread
- 1/4-1/2lb ground venison
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 5 tablespoons za'atar seasoning (or more if you like)
For the bread
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast (1 1/4 oz)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups All purpose or bread flour
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little more to oil the bowl)
|Add the sugar and yeast to 3/4 cup warm (but not too hot) water. Let it rest for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble. Mix the flour and salt, and create a little well in the middle. When the yeast mixture is ready, pour it in and mix until a dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it's nice and elastic, about 6-10 minutes. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap, and let it sit until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour. After it's risen, punch the dough and separate into quarters, rolling each quarter into a ball. Put the balls on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rest another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the meat, garlic, and one tablespoon of za'atar spice and set aside until ready to make the flatbreads.|
|Preheat the oven to 475, and put a pizza stone in there to preheat that as well. On a sheet of parchment, roll out the dough into a thin disk. Scatter small chunky crumbles of the meat mixture on top, sprinkle with at least 1 T of za'atar spice, and drizzle with 1 T of olive oil. Move the piece of parchment onto the preheated stone and bake until the edges are brown and crispy and the meat is cooked, about 6-8 minutes. Repeat with the other four balls of dough.|
Non game substitution: Ground lamb
Vegetarian substitution: No meat at all still makes a wonderful snack!