Zaatar kaak

May 27, 2012  •  Category:


What goes by kaak is usually either a dry bread or roll or a biscuit, more often than not covered with sesame seeds. This kaak includes some zaatar in the batter and is savory and can be made in a jiffy in a mixer or processor. Perfect for something to nibble on with a drink and some olives, perhaps.

INGREDIENTS: Makes about 40

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/3 cup of zaatar mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup of lightly toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
  1. Place the flour, zaatar,  salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Mix to combine; add the orange juice and oil and mix for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well until a dough forms. Gather and transfer to a sheet of foil and set aside for 30 minutes in the fridge. 
  2. Form walnut-sized balls of dough and line them up on a sheet of wax paper. Place the sesame seeds on a plate. Dip the balls into the sesame seeds and shape into a finger, tie the finger at both ends into a ring and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 12 minutes or until the kaak is golden and dry. Serve when cooled with a drink and other nibbles.


34 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Kalyn says:

    Very interesting, and this sounds delicious!

  2. Rosa says:

    Delicious looking biscuits! I am a big fann of za’atar.



  3. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    I agree with Kaylyn! I love breads with sesame seeds added as well. The recipe looks straightforward and the photos, as usual, look very inviting. I’m a little terrified of baking–something I have to get over one day–I’m bookmarking this to make in the future.


  4. bananawonder says:

    I love the savory snacks! What a great recipe!

  5. Astheart says:

    Don´t know zaatar so I have googled it and found out it´s a mixture of spices but you can find several recipes, each one is a mixture of different spices. Could you please write me what the content of your zaatar is?

    • Joumana says:

      @Astheart: Indeed, zaatar is a mixture of spices varying from one country in the Levant to another; in Lebanon, it is a mixture of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. I would encourage you to sample a mix and see if you like it, it is always mixed with olive oil and usually eaten with yogurt cheese (labneh) and bread. The Aleppo zaatar, for instance, has cumin and a mixture of ground nuts in it.

  6. Angie@Angiesrecipes says:

    They make a great afternoon snack!

  7. Belinda @zomppa says:

    A plate of these around the house could be dangerous!

  8. Jeannie says:

    Sounds delicious! Would love to try one of these donut shaped zaatar kaak but the spices are difficult to get here!

  9. Chiara says:

    Looks delicious Joumana ! have a good week…

  10. T.W. Barritt says:

    Very cool – a savory snack that’s baked! My first instinct, was “oh that looks time consuming,” but not at all. Glad to see that zaatar can be found online.

  11. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Awwww, honestly I love you like family and would not be at all surprised to find that we are indeed Lebanese family somewhere in the past. 🙂

  12. Trisha says:

    I’m hosting a giveaway over at my blog and would love for you to stop by and participate.

    Looking forward to seeing you there.

  13. Moira says:

    I used to eat kaak many years ago when I lived in Damascus and I love za’atar. So the combination of both sounds heavenly. Thanks for the recipe. I am definitely going to make it.

  14. Susan says:

    They look so tasty! I love snacks with sesame seed.

  15. Kathy says:

    Joumana, These look so appetizing…I love zaatar! Something else to put on my to make list!

  16. domi says:

    Excellent pour un apéro avec un ” cercle ” d’amis…

  17. Lluïsa Simón i Gispert says:

    Je ne trove plus dans votre web la recette du “Zaatar and olives bread”. C´est dommage, car je l´avais fait il y ha quelque mois et on a aimé beaucoup à la maison.
    Merci pour votre generosite, j´aime bien vous lire dès îles Canaries.

  18. Jessica says:

    I’m trying this right now, and 1/3 of a cup of zaatar makes the dough greenish. No problem with that except yours doesn’t look like that at all….

    • Joumana says:

      @Jessica: There are many different varieties of zaatar mixes; for example, the zaatar mix from Aleppo is reddish and contains ground nuts or the Jordanian mix are more green than the Lebanese ones; I would simply use less next time if the taste is too powerful. I am assuming you have tasted your zaatar before using it for the dough?If you tasted it and liked it, then chances are you will like it mixed with the dough and baked, don’t worry. 🙂 If the taste is too much then next time use less. Personally I can eat zaatar with a spoon! but then the only mix I really like is the lebanese one and preferably the one I get from someone i know who makes it with zaatar that she forages here in the Chouf Mountains.

  19. Jessica says:

    I must be doing something wrong. Mine are smaller in diameter than yours, and haven’t really gotten golden after 20 minutes or so. I double-panned to keep the bottom from getting brown too fast, which is working, but the kaak are …well, I’m giving up. They arent crunchy, they aren’t golden, but they taste great. Maybe they will crunch up after they cool, like some cookies do.

    How long are the “fingers” you roll out?

    • Joumana says:

      @Jessica; mine were about 4 inches long, if I remember correctly. You can bake a few some more for a few minutes if you want to get them drier and more crunchy, the same technique used for biscottis. you know, bake once and then bake again in a very slow oven say 275F for 15 minutes or so.
      The temperature of the oven varies, I would say your oven is probably calibrated on the low side if the cookies did not get some color after 20 minutes so I would bake them for longer; the main thing is they taste good. next time, you can also use a brush or the back of a spoon and glaze them with an egg yolk and a teaspoon of milk (whisk with a fork first); brush them with the glaze for a nice sheen. and raise the temp of your oven a tad.

  20. Jessica says:

    Oh, I love zaatar and have legitimate zaatar from Kalyustans with actual hyssop in it – but it is the greenish style – I envy you your sources for the real fresh zaatar! I love the taste and will try the Lebanese style blend next. The rings came out great tasting, just a little greenish. Only 30 of the 40 are left, and there are two people in the house now, so they’re a success. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Jessica says:

    I think you’re right – my oven does run low at lower temps and more accurate at 425 or so. How did I forget that?

    I’m spending today making crunchy things. After the torta d’aceite I’ll lower the temperature to 200 and put the kaak back in for a while…if there are any left by then.

  22. Jessica says:

    Just to close the loop – I took them to work, and people who knew what zaatar is gobbled them up and people who didn’t were intrigued and mostly liked them. I’ll make them again, with a different zaatar blend if I can find it. .

  23. Dana says:

    Just curious as to what the function of the orange juice is, is it purely to provide sweetness? Or is it for the acidity?

    Also, is it necessary to toast the sesame seeds before applying? I would have thought the baking process took care of that.

    • Joumana says:

      @Dana: The orange juice makes the dough flakier, at least this is my experience (with my olive roll for example, I use fresh orange juice as well in the dough), I also use citrus juice when making pie crust. The citrus juice keeps the dough from shrinking, it just seems to make it more stable. As far as the sesame seeds, you can forget toasting them beforehand, I like to do it because I am a tad fastidious! 🙂

  24. Irem says:

    My dough is liquidy, I should add more flour right? I think I put more orange juice than I should have.
    Thanks ☺️

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