Middle Eastern flat bread topped with beautiful Kashkaval cheese and/or mozzarella, browned to perfection.
I am very friendly and I’ve made friends recently. Well, they’re long time friends, but I didn’t know that they’ve been there the whole time… and when I say ‘there‘, I mean in my brain.
So you know that movie Inside Out? I have some sort of friends inside my brain but they look like more of a food – uh… like pasta, rice, bread, cheese. Yes, I know, because I’ve met them.
So few weeks ago, I’ve been in a pizza kick lately… like I’ve been making pizza for the 2 consecutive weekends and eat 6 slices of them in one sitting. Please, don’t look at me like that! I am still your friend, right? Anyway, let’s not discuss what happened inside my brain during the food war because it was very chaotic. To make the story short, Manakish won on the third weekend.
I’ve been meaning to make Manakish since forever, but I cannot figure out the right cheese the bakery usually uses as a topping whenever I get one. One day, I got a Kashkaval cheese from an amazing friend – kept it inside the fridge for a while until finally decided to use it. I wanted to top it on the pizza, but when I tasted the cheese it was like ‘Aha! This is the cheese the bakery usually uses for Manakish! I need to make one very soon!’ And I said it out loud like it was an emergency.
Excuse me pizza, please make a way for cheese manakish!
I used Kashkaval cheese alone in some and some, I mixed with mozarella. I love the one with Kashkaval cheese alone – it was closer to the manakish I usually get from the bakery. Oh, it was so simple, yet so good! The recipe below makes about 8 x 4 inches round of manakish. Now, do not ask me how many I’ve eaten. I am not telling you this time. 😛
For the dough:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp warm water
- 1 tbsp olive oil (or any flavorless oil)
(You’ll also need additional flour for your work surface.)
For the toppings:
- 1 cup of grated Kashkaval cheese; or
- 1 cup grated mozzarella + 1 tbsp olive oil + pinch of salt
(You can also combine both cheeses (1 cup of grated Kashkaval cheese + ½ cup grated mozzarella, discard oil & salt when you want to combine them.)
- Put all ingredients for the dough in a large bowl.
- Using a wooden spoon or your clean hands, mix the dough until you get all the flour from the bowl.
- Transfer the dough in a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic. This may take about 10 minutes or so.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover using a plastic wrap or lint free towel. Keep it in a warm place and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
- When the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few seconds.
- By this time, you may need to preheat your oven at 375 F. My oven needs about 15 minutes before it reaches 375 F, so I turn it on when I am about prepare for the final steps.
- Divide the dough into eight. Flatten them thinly into about .5 cm or less than. (Optional: You can pinch the edges of the dough as Manakish usually has pinched edges. Most of the Manakish I see are pinched-free so I did not bother… or let’s simply put it this way: I completely forgot to pinch the sides. Haha!) Place them in a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Bake them for 10-15 minutes or until the bottom turns lovely brown. Take the baking sheet out and flip the dough. Now, the bottom is now on top. Place your toppings and put the baking sheet inside the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has beautifully melted.
- Optional: Turn off the oven and turn on the broil (grill). Place the Manakish under the broil and broil until the cheese turns lovely golden brown.
- Enjoy your Manakish warm. They can be kept in the fridge for later consumption and can be reheated beautifully in a microwave.
- The kneading process can be completely done in your stand mixer or even in a food processor. When kneading in a food processor, place the dry ingredients first. While the motor is running, gradually add warm water and olive oil. Turn off the food processor once the dough has turned into a ball. You can now continue with the rest of the steps.
- In my oven, the heat does not circulate that much like in the fan oven. So I have to flip the dough so I will have browned bottom and tops, then turn on the broil later for the toppings to brown, too. You can place your toppings the first time when you place the dough inside the oven. I did flip my dough because I like browned top and bottom – that flipping gives me the texture I love. Do whatever works better for you.
- You can also use your pizza dough recipe or you can get the dough from the store.
- This is just like as if you are making pizza minus the pizza sauce.
I hope you’ll love the recipe!
Always smile and enjoy your weekend! Happy Fiesta Friday! 😉
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