Dan Leader's Simply Great Breads is a small book, but, true to its title, contains great recipes. Do you remember the pretty bialys and thin grissini featured previously? They came from the same treasured book.
Mana'eesh (or Manakish) is a flatbread (schiacciata) typical of the Middle East. It comes out of the oven hot, soft and smelling heavenly. But before being flattened to go into the oven, it is a nice ball of dough:
The photo above was taken stogether with the sepia one I shared a few days ago. Bread dough holds fascination for the baker in love with the magic of mixing flour, water and yeast (farina, acqua e lievito).
The simple recipe uses delayed fermentation and requires a little planning if you want to serve the flatbread warm out of the oven, something I recommend.
You can find the recipe on this page (though I suggest getting the book, which has truly great recipes).
I usually halve the quantities and make one larger flatbread to share with my husband. I use 1 oz. / 28 g of whole-wheat flour and 4 oz. / 113 g unbleached all-purpose flour to add healthy fiber, and only 1 oz. of olive oil instead of 2 oz. (which seems a bit too much to me).
The freckles you see on the dough's surface are due to the special whole-wheat flour I use, which comes from locally grown hard wheat freshly milled by my friend Rhonda of Beck's Bakery, a bakery with an onsite stone mill (mulino).
In the original recipe, the Mana'eesh is sprinkled with Za'atar and the book includes Leader's recipe for it. I like to sprinkle some Harissa spice mix, which gives the bread a bit of heat and a lot of color. I got the Harissa spice mix as part of a beautiful gift set of spices called Flavors of Morocco. (I don't have a business relationship with the company, but wanted to share the link because if you like spices, this is a very interesting set.)
And I am submitting this recipe, bookmarked in Daniel Leader's Simply Great Breads (the link goes to the website of Bread Alone, which is Leader's bakery) to Bookmarked Recipes #24, an event originally started by Ruth of Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments and now hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:or launch the mana'eesh audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]