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ISO Lebanese Pizza Dough Recipe

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I've got a mania to make Lebanese thyme (zaatar) pizza and am looking for the optimum dough for the crust. The only stipulation is I don't have a mixer with a dough hook. Please fire away with your suggestions.

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  1. Lebanese pizza dough is essentially a flat bread (Mankoushe) preparation. Here's something that might work for you.

    Ingredients:

    200 grams AP flour
    14 grams yeast
    2 tsp sugar
    1 1/2 tsp olive oil
    1/8 tsp salt
    Water at approx. 98 - 105 degrees.

    Mix dry ingredients with whisk, slowly add enough water to produce a dry dough that is not sufficiently developed to come together. Knead 3 - 5 minutes (don't worry that it doesn't come together as other types of dough might be expected to do). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in warm place for about 10 minutes. Add olive oil, knead until all oil is absorbed into the dough. Add enough additional water and knead to bring the mixture together in a dough ball that begins to come away cleanly from the side of the bowl. Do not use too much water.
    Roll into a ball and place into lightly oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for about an hour.
    Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently to form a firm dough. Press the dough ball flat and either stretch it or roll it into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Place the circle of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet and crimp the edges of the circle to crease a raised border.
    Add toppings and bake in preheated 375 degree oven, 15 - 18 minutes or until bottom is browned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      That sounds terrific, todao. Thanks.

    2. With the dough also make lachma b ajeen. Lebanese meat pies. Zaatar bread in the morning with lebneh is fantastic

      2 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        Truthfully, what attracted me to this "pizza" is the thyme. I adore this herb and am always on the lookout for dishes that make liberal use of it.

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          in that case, try oven- or pan-roasted tomatoes with thyme, garlic, s&p and a splash of sherry vinegar. dee-licious. (i adore thyme with tomato...and sherry vinegar with tomato.)

      2. Flat breads, regardless of the culture from which they're derived, not only hinge on a good recipe, but on a good oven setup. Extend the bake clock and flat breads fail.

        If you want to do Lebanese pizza justice, get the bake time to less than 5 minutes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scott123

          Hmmm. That sounds quite the challenge given that todao's recipe (which I intend to use someday) calls for a cooking time thrice that.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Joseph, no offense to Todao, but I can direct you to countless online mediocre pizza recipes that fail to recognize the importance of bake time. Same thing for Naan. In commercial settings fast bakes serve two purposes. The first is economic- you're not going to sell much naan if it takes 10 minutes to bake. The second purpose, as discussed, is the superiority of the end product. Fast heat transfer translates into better oven spring. It produces a flat bread with an inner and an outer 'life.' As you extend the bake time, you end up with a dense, dry, lifeless product.

            Every professional baker in every culture understands the impact that bake time has on flat breads and goes to great lengths to build ovens to achieve these means. The home baker, and, more importantly, the cookbook author that writes for home bakers, generally has no clue about what makes great flat bread. Instead of looking at these ancient techniques that produce breads that people adore and finding ways for the home baker to achieve those same ends, they just settle for complete and utter mediocrity.

            And I'm not talking about cutting the lock on your oven so you can use the cleaning cycle to bake flat bread, building your own wood fired oven, or something else as dangerous, time consuming and/or costly. There are proven methods and proven materials for home bakers to safely and cost effectively achieve commercial flat bread bake times and results. You can't walk into Williams Sonoma, Bed Bath and Beyond, or Walmart and buy a stone that will give you fast bakes, but, with a little more effort, you can get a stone that will achieve these ends. The first piece of the puzzle is your oven. Different types of ovens (electric, gas w/ a top broiler, gas with a separate compartment for broiling) require different approaches.

        2. And another point - you really don't need a dough hook to make bread unless you're physically unable to knead it. And even then there are recipes that don't cll for it. The dough hook is nice but not necessary. Good luck.