Jonathan Cartu Reviews: Flatbread with za’atar recipe - Jonathan Cartu Restaurant, Baking & Catering Services
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Jonathan Cartu Reviews: Flatbread with za’atar recipe

Flatbread with za’atar recipe

Jonathan Cartu Reviews: Flatbread with za’atar recipe

Versions of this flatbread can be found all over the Middle East. Making your own bread is wonderfully relaxing, but the hardest part is waiting for it to be cool enough to eat!

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour 30 minutes rising time | Cooking time: 15-20 minutes


Two large breads


  • 500g white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp easy-blend, dried yeast
  • 2 tsp runny honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling and drizzling
  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp za’atar spice blend
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds


  1.  Put the flour, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl and stir together. Add the honey and two tablespoons of the oil and gradually mix in enough warm water with a wooden spoon, then mix with your hands to make a soft but not sticky dough. You may not need all of the water.
  2. Knead the dough for five minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, mix and knead in an electric mixer with a dough hook.
  3. Put the dough into a large, lightly-oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and then leave in a warm place for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4.  Punch the dough down with a fist, then scoop out of the bowl and knead well on a lightly-floured work surface for two to three minutes until smooth again. Cut the dough in half and roll each half out to a round, about 23cm in diameter.
  5. Put each on to an oiled baking sheet. Slash the top of each bread with criss-cross lines, brush with the remaining oil, then sprinkle with the za’atar and sesame seeds. Cover the top of each bread loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/Gas 8.
  7. Take off the cling film and bake the breads for 15 to 20 minutes, swapping oven positions around after 10 minutes so that they brown evenly. Cook until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped with your fingertips. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then break into pieces to serve.

Home-made za’atar spice blend

Toast one tablespoon of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until just beginning to brown, then pound with a pestle in a mortar. Mix in one teaspoon each of dried thyme and oregano and half a teaspoon of salt. This mix will keep in a jam jar in the fridge for up to a month.


  • If you don’t think you will be able to eat both breads, then wrap one in cling film when completely cold, seal, label and freeze for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature, then unwrap and warm in a low oven before serving.

Recipe from Hummus to Halva by Ronen Givon and Christian Mouysset (Pavilion, £12.99). Order your copy from

Ofer Eitan

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