Za’atar bread

Delicious and easy-to-make Middle Eastern za’atar bread. Michael Rantissi of Kepos Street Kitchen shares his recipe from his book Falafel for Breakfast.

  • 24 hrs preparation
  • Makes 8
  • Print


Pita bread
  • 500 gram strong bread flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 7g dry yeast sachet
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 millilitre warm water
  • 2 handfuls thyme sprigs, dried and leaves picked or 1 large handful dried thyme (available in middle eastern or greek grocery stores)
  • 2 tablespoon ground sumac
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Za’atar bread
  • 1 quantity pita bread dough
  • 8 tablespoon za’atar
  • 150 millilitre good-quality olive oil


Pita bread
  • 1
    Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre and slowly add the olive oil. Using your hands, combine the flour and oil. Gradually add the warm water until the dough is a little sticky (you may not need to use all of it). The dough will come together when you start kneading it.
  • 2
    Dust a work surface with flour and knead the dough for 3–4 minutes, until it forms a nice smooth consistency.
  • 3
    Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel) or plastic wrap with a few holes pricked in it. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  • 4
    Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball (or whatever shape you like). Dust the work surface with extra flour, place the 8 balls of dough on it and cover with the damp tea towel or plastic wrap with holes to rise again for 30 minutes.
  • 5
    Roll out each ball of dough into a circle about 5 mm thick, or whatever thickness you like. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • 6
    To dry the thyme leaves, preheat the oven to 50°C or the lowest setting. Spread the thyme sprigs over a baking tray and let them dry out in the oven for 1 hour or more if necessary. When cool enough to handle, gently break off the leaves. Alternatively, you can spread the thyme sprigs out on a tea towel (dish towel) and dry them outside in the sun.
  • 7
    Combine all the ingredients and transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
Za’atar bread
  • 8
    Make the dough according to the Pita bread instructions. Once you’ve rolled the balls of dough into rounds and set them aside to rest for 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • 9
    Put the za’atar and olive oil in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  • 10
    Gently stamp your fingers into the dough rounds, making little valleys just deep enough so the za’atar oil won’t roll off the dough. (Don’t press too hard as you want the dough to remain aerated.) Spoon the za’atar oil over the dough.
  • 11
    Put the dough circles on the baking tray (you may need to cook them in batches) and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until a light colour. Allow to cool on a tea towel (dish towel) and use within 1–2 days.