Everyone has one food that they are positively addicted to. Zaatar with bread is my downfall. Oh well. Could be worse. So I set out making zaatar crackers, with the special zaatar that a friend gave me in Lebanon. I used a recipe for strudel dough to make the crackers as thin as possible. I used a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum The Pie and Pastry Bible . Here is the result.
For the strudel dough:
- 5 ounces of unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably from King Arthur or Gold Medal, or 1 cup
- salt, a pinch
- 1/3 cup of warm water
- 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 1 can of olive oil spray or vegetable shortening
- A work surface to stretch the dough on. Could be a small round table or a kitchen countertop.
- A cloth ( a towel, or a sheet) to place on the work surface
- Extra flour to sprinkle on the cloth and rub it with.
- Several cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or oiled
MAKING THE STRUDEL DOUGH: Time required: 5 minutes
- Place the flour and salt in a mixer. Mix for a few seconds.
- Measure the water and oil in a small measuring cup. Add it slowly into the mixer on medium speed until the dough comes together in a lump. If it seems too dry add water, one teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the dough from the mixer and place it on a work surface, previously sprinkled with a bit of flour.
- Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until smooth and shiny. You can add a bit more flour if it feels sticky.
- Pour about 1 teaspoon of oil on a small bowl. Place the dough in it and turn it around so that it is coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you don’t plan on using it right then, place it in the refrigerator overnight.
ROLLING THE DOUGH: Time required: 10 minutes
- Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch round. Spray a bit of olive oil on it to keep it moist.
- Slip your hands underneath the dough, keeping your palms down. Let the dough rest on your knuckles.
- Close your hands and move the dough around your knuckles, letting it droop, so that it starts to stretch all around.
- Place the stretched circle of dough on the floured sheet or towel. Stretch the dough gently some more with your knuckles, going all around. Then bring your knuckles to the middle of the dough and stretch some more. Be gentle, so that it does not tear. If it tears, patch it or continue working, it is OK.
- After about 10 minutes, you should have a very well stretched piece of dough, so thin that you can read a newspaper through it. The outer edges of the dough will stay thick, which is normal, cut them with scissors and keep them wrapped in plastic in the fridge for another time.
- Spray the dough all over with olive oil spray.
- Heat the oven to 325F.
MAKING THE ZAATAR CRACKERS:
INGREDIENTS: Zaatar, best if it is your own mix of course, but OK if store bought.
- Cut it in the shapes of your choice.
- Sprinkle zaatar all over. Spray more olive oil on the dough.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and golden.
Mrs. Beranbaum stresses in her recipe that the type of flour is critical here. It has to be unbleached! I used Unbleached King Arthur Bread Flour. It stretches like a plastic balloon, it is absolutely great to work with.
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