Around the World in 18 Breakfasts: Lebanon

Lebanese breakfasts - manakish zaatar and labneh

Week 5: Manakish zaatar with homemade labneh

For our fifth Around the World breakfast, we made manakish (lebanese flatbread) topped with zaatar (a Middle Eastern herb and spice mix), served up with homemade labneh (yoghurt-based soft cheese), olives and cucumber. The labneh has to strain overnight so we made it the night before but it was super easy (and super tasty!). We also made the zaatar the night before so all we had to do on Sunday morning was make the manakish – which is essentially like a pizza base. The manakish was a bit time-consuming because you need to leave the dough to rise, but it was very easy and very hands-on for my mini chef.

Around the world in 18 breakfasts - Lebanon - mannish and labneh

This recipe makes 8 flatbreads (approx. 15cm diameter).

What you will need:

For the labneh

  • 500ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • a large square of muslin or fine-weave cotton
  • a strainer
  • a deep container for straining

For the zaatar

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dry-fried sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the manakish

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 7g packet of dry yeast
  • 3 cups unbleached plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • olives and cucumber for serving (optional)
  • baking paper

1. Prepare labneh by mixing the salt and yoghurt in a bowl. Place a strainer over a deep container and line the strainer with muslin. Put yoghurt on top of the muslin and leave in the fridge overnight.
how to make labneh
2. Prepare zaatar by mixing all of the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container until ready for use (this will keep for up to two weeks).
3. To make the manakish, combine the water, sugar, and yeast, and let stand for about 10 minutes until frothy. Then combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add olive oil and work it into the flour to form a breadcrumb-like consistency. Make a well in the center, add yeast and water mix and stir into a soft dough.

how to make manakish
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 mins or until smooth. Form dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave it to rise in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour until it doubles in size.
5. Preheat oven to 200°C.
6. Knead the dough briefly and divide it into 8 balls. Place the balls on a lightly oiled piece of baking paper, cover with cling wrap, and let stand for about 15 mins.
7. On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball of dough and roll it into a circle about 1/4cm thick. Make small indentations with your fingers for the zaatar. Sprinkle zaatar over each piece.
8. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 mins.
9. Cool on racks.
10. Serve with labneh, olives and cucumber (flag optional!).


Join us on our journey!
This is the fifth of our ‘Around the World’ breakfasts. Each week we’ll be making something from a different country as part of our ‘Around the World in 18 Breakfasts’ series. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest
 to be part of the journey. Next stop: Indonesia!

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