Man’ousheh is a essentially a Middle eastern pizza, traditionally eaten as a street food for breakfast or lunch. The thickness of the dough can vary from one bakery to the next but the toppings are fairly commonplace. Cheese or Za’tar (a blend of thyme, sumac, toasted sesame) Man’ousheh are the popular breakfast choices, enjoyed sliced or folded with lashings of creamy, thick strained yogurt, slices of tomato, fragrant baby cucumber and fresh mint. This is my Levantine twist on the Neapolitan Pizza Margherita. I’ve substituted the San Marzano tomato base and basil elements, for a more traditional Za’atar oil base, topped with creamy, Mozzarella cheese instead of a saltier halloumi, finished off with a few cherry tomatoes, but slithers of sun-dried tomatoes would be equally delicious!
30 Minutes plus time to allow the dough to proof
4 mins per pizza
For the dough:
500g unbleached strong white flour
240ml lukewarm water
15g Olive oil
6g fresh bakers Yeast (or 3g dry yeast)
For the topping:
125ml olive oil
400g fior di latte (cows milk Mozzarella)
16 cherry tomatoes
Handful wild rocket leaves
Pinch flaked sea salt
In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. In a separate bowl add the sugar, yeast and half the water. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Once dissolved add the remaining water and olive oil and mix well. Add this mixture slowly to the flour until it’s all incorporated stirring in one direction to develop the glutens. Once the dough has come together and is too stiff to stir, turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes. Clean out the large bowl, wipe dry and brush lightly with oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 1.5 – 2 hours, until its approximately doubled in size.
While the dough is proofing, prepare the toppings by mixing the Za’atar with the olive oil in a bowl, cut the mozzarella into 1cm cubes, slice the cherry tomatoes in half, wash and spin the rocket leaves.
Gently punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 8 evenly sized pieces and work into balls. Leave to rest, covered for 15 mins.
Whilst the dough is resting, preheat the oven to your hottest setting. Ideally around 300°C. If you’re making this at home, I recommend buying a pizza stone. Place the pizza stone in the oven before switching on the oven to allow it to come to temperature slowly to avoid it cracking.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the rest of the dough covered. Flatten the dough ball out with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ball to approximately 6 inches in diameter.
Evenly smear the Za’atar olive oil mix over the flatbread base leaving a ó inch border around the edge, scatter with mozzarella cubes, 4 cherry tomato halves on each pizza and sprinkle with a pinch of flaked sea salt. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until the edges are crisp and golden.
Remove from the oven, garnish with a few wild rocket leaves and serve immediately.
Recipe by James Walters, self-taught chef and founder of Arabica.