Growing up in Dubai to a Syrian father and an Egyptian mother, this Manakish recipe is very close to my heart. Manakish used to be a part of my daily routine, whether as a snack or a quick breakfast. This Cheese Manakish Recipe (Cheese Flatbread) is a Lebanese flatbread that looks like a small pizza topped with various toppings like za’atar, meat, or cheese that can be enjoyed anytime!
It is a popular middle eastern flatbread; the recipe is similar to pizza dough and sometimes called ‘ Lebanese pizza.’
Reasons To Love this Recipe
The Lebanese cheese manakeesh recipe is a must-try dish for many reasons.
- It’s delicious! The combination of soft and chewy flatbread with a cheesy and flavorful topping is simply irresistible.
- Making your own homemade dough allows you to customize the toppings you like.
- Enjoy it any time by storing the leftovers of baked cheese manakish in the freezer for up to three months and easily reheat for a delicious snack.
- Finally, cheese manakish is easy to make and budget-friendly, making it an excellent option for a quick and satisfying meal.
What is Manakish?
The origins of the manakish date back to ancient times, when flatbreads with different toppings were enjoyed in various cultures throughout the Middle East.
Manakish, also called manakeesh, manakeesh or Lebanese pizza and is said to have originated in Lebanon, Syria, and other nearby countries, where it has become a staple food in households across the country.
In Lebanon, manakish is eaten for breakfast or as a snack at any time of day and served with fresh vegetables or a side of dip such as hummus and a cup of tea, making it a versatile and popular food choice.
Cheese Manakish Recipe Ingredients
with a few simple ingredients, you will have a delicious cheese manakish!
- Flour – I used all-purpose flour for this recipe. You can change it to whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour. (or use bread flour)
- Instant yeast – helps to rise the dough. The instant yeast is ready to be added to the flour mixture without waiting for it to be activated.
- Sugar – to help the yeast to activate.
- Oil – use a neutral oil like extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil; it gives moisture to the dough.
- Salt – adds flavor to the dough.
- Water – lukewarm water binds the dough.
- Cheese – I used a combination of Mozzarella, feta cheese, and queso. The traditional cheese manakish uses akkawi or halloumi (available in most Middle Eastern stores).
How To Make Cheese Manakish Recipe
- Step one – Make the manakish Dough. In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, add the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, and salt). Mix, add warm water and oil, then knead very well for 10 minutes until a smooth and soft dough.
- Step two – Rest the dough. Transfer the dough into a bowl brushed with oil and cover it with a slightly damp towel or plastic wrap. Leave the bowl aside at room temperature ( preferably in a warm place) for about an hour until the dough rises to double its volume.
- Step three – Divide the dough. Preheat the oven. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, roll it into round balls, and place them on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a slightly damp towel and set aside to rest for 15 more minutes.
- Step four – Prepare the flatbread. Gently press a dough ball with your fingers or a rolling pin and shape it into a round ¼ inch thick. Then place it into a baking tray and cover it while you continue the same process for the rest dough ball.
- Step five – Bake and add topping. Cover the dough with a decent amount of the cheese mixture and lightly press the cheese into the dough. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden brown from the bottom and the cheese is melted. Or add za’atar mixture to make manakeesh zaatar. Remove from the oven and cover the manakish with a slightly damp towel so they won’t dry up.
- If the dough is dry while kneading, add water, and if the dough is sticky, add more flour (that depends on the type of flour used).
- Don’t use hot water in the dough. That will kill the yeast and won’t let the dough rise; always use warm water.
- Try to rest the dough in a dark place such as the oven or microwave; that will help the dough to rise faster.
- Cover the cooked manakish with a slightly damp towel to avoid drying up.
Substitutions for the Dough Toppings
- Make it as a pizza and add a thin layer of sauce such as pesto, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, za’atar, and harissa.
- Mix herbs with the cheese, such as parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, or basil; it gives an aromatic flavor to the manakish.
- Make zaatar manakish; zaatar is a blend of dried herbs, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac.
- Add seasoned raw ground beef (lahm bi Ajin) to the dough and bake.
- Any type of cheese you like will work. Use different kinds of cheese, such as ricotta, Cheddar, or cream cheese. Also, you can top it with sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
Cheese Manakish FAQs
What is the difference between Active Dry yeast and Instant yeast?
Active dry yeast is mixed with warm water and sugar, and wait until it rises, then add it to the dough. While instant yeast is already active, combine it with the flour.
What to serve with Cheese Manakish recipe?
- Manakish are enjoyed by themselves with a cup of tea.
- Serve it with fresh vegetables such as sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, etc.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Manakish?
- Storing: store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for five days.
- Freezing: Freeze the manakish in a freezer bag for up to three months.
- Reheating: reheat the flatbreads in the microwave or the oven (250°F) until warm. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat.