Ikras Al-Za’atar – Oregano Pies

I’m not sure if it’s just a Palestinian thing, but the word “za’atar” can be used for both “thyme” and “oregano”. It’s also used to refer to a mix of ground herbs usually eaten with olive oil and pita bread.  In this recipe, when I say, za’atar I am specifically referring to oregano.

When I was still studying at UC Davis, it was always a treat when my mother would give me a batch of ikras al-zaa’tar. I would throw them into the freezer and whenever I craved a nice snack with a cup of mint tea, I would simply grab one of the pies out of the freezer and pop it into a toaster. 

Many people also choose to enjoy these pies alongside of traditional middle eastern cheese such as Nabulsi or Akawi.

***NOTE: I use “Mugs” as measurements in this recipe. By this, I mean your typical coffee mug. 1 Mug usually measures out to be 1 1/2 cups.***

3+ mugs chopped fresh oregano

5 mugs all purpose, unbleached flour
5 tablespoons dry milk or Nido
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 mug, olive oil
1/4 mug, vegetable oil
2 cups warm water


Step 1: In a large bowl or mixer, combine flour, dry milk, yeast, sugar, salt and chopped oregano.

Step 2: Slowly incorporate oils and warm water. Knead until a large ball is formed. You will have a dough with a sticky consistency. If you feel like the dough is too dry, you may add a little more water. And if you feel like you’ve added too much water, try adding additional flour as the dough mixes.

Step 3: Cover the dough and wrap up the mixing bowl in a blanket or towel. Set aside for at least 1 hour.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 450-500°F. The temperature you choose depends on your specific oven.

Step 5: Uncover the bowl of dough. Using your hands, scoop out dough and create 2 inch-sized balls. Set in a lightly greased pan and allow to proof for at least 20 minutes.

NOTE: If the dough feels super sticky and you feel like you can’t work with it properly. Dip your fingers in vegetable oil and then begin working with the dough again. 

Step 6: Lightly grease or lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray. Flatten each ball of dough to about 1 cm thickness.

Step 7: Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Step 8: Serve with a nice cup of tea. Cheese and tomatoes.






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