We first came across this recipe when making Baba Ganoush from Paul Hollywood’s recipe book. As you may know, I love aubergine, and no recipe containing this star ingredient was going to escape my notice, so I obviously made it. But listed next to the baba ganoush recipe was this recipe for Maneesh, a Lebanese flatbread. I had never heard of it before, but the recipe looked simple enough. If Paul Hollywood had decided they belonged together, who am I to argue? So I made it. And it was DELICIOUS. Maneesh has quickly become one of our go-to bread recipes, and I am certainly not sad about it.
Maneesh Bread is a circular-ish (depending on your rolling ability) flatbread that you cook in the oven. Honestly – I can’t even describe the perfection of the texture of this bread. It is crispy on the outside, but delightfully airy and soft in the middle, making it perfect for both scooping up thick dips, like the Baba Ganoush, but also for soaking up runnier sauces or soups. Covered on the top with a salty herb and sesame seed mix which adds another dimension of flavour, it’s just amazing.
A warning – in Paul Hollywood’s original recipe, he says to split the dough into 3. As we are a family of 4, we split it into 4. However, this meant we had an entire Maneesh each, and they are quite large. We agreed that 1 Maneesh could serve 2 people easily, so I am going to put that this recipe serves 8. However, if you’re really peckish, feel free to make it intended for 4 people. In reality, you can split the dough into as many pieces as you want. It will just depend on how many people you’re feeding. Obviously, the Maneesh will be smaller the more you split it, but that’s fine. I think this recipe will comfortably serve 6 to 8 people.
It’s a really simple recipe. It does require yeast for that beautiful fluffy centre. You also need to allow a proving time of 1 hour so the dough can rise sufficiently. But the process of making the bread couldn’t be easier. It ends up looking beautiful and seems a lot more impressive than the effort that goes into making it would suggest. If the term ‘crowd-pleaser’ was a bread, this would be it!
Lebanese Maneesh Bread
- 500 g strong white flour
- 25 g caster sugar
- 10 g instant yeast (about 1½ sachets)
- ½ tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 360 ml water
For the topping
- 6 tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp mixed herbs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Add the flour to a bowl, then the yeast on one side, and the sugar and salt on the other.
- Add the olive oil to the bowl, then 290 ml of the water. Stir the dough together with one hand until it comes together a little bit. Then, add up to 90ml more of the water, bit by bit until the dough comes together fully. You might not need all the water. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky. See the method in pictures for reference.
- Lightly oil a clean surface with a little olive oil. Tip the dough out, and knead for 10 minutes until it is smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the sesame seeds, the dried herbs and olive oil to form a paste. You can add more olive oil if it needs it to come together.
- After 1 hour, on a lightly floured surface, and punch the air out of your dough. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roughly roll each into a circle and place onto a baking sheet covered in baking paper.
- Split the herb mixture between the pieces, and spread out to the edges. Leave to prove for another 15 minutes. You don't need to cover it.
- Meabwhile, heat your oven to 230°C or 210°C fan. after 15 minutes, cook the breads on a middle shelf for 11 minutes, or until dark golden brown on top.
- Take out of the oven and serve with Easy Baba Ganoush.
Method in Pictures
Gather your ingredients
Add your flour, yeast sugar and salt to a bowl, keeping the yeast and salt seperate
Add the olive
Add 290 ml water and stir together with one hand
Gradually add up to 90 ml more water until the dough comes together
It should look like this
Lightly oil a surface, and knead the dough for 10 minutes
When smooth, place in a bowl, cover, and leave to prove for 1 hour
Meanwhile, mix the sesame seeds, olive oil, and herbs into a paste
After 1 hour, take out the dough, and knock the air out with your hands
Flour a surface, and cut the dough into 4 equal pieces
Roll each piece into a rough circle around 1/2 cm thick, and place onto a baking sheet
Divide the sesame herb mixture between the pieces, and spread out with your fingers or a spoon
Leave the Maneesh to prove, uncovered, for another 15 minutes
Cook for 11-13 minutes until dark golden brown
Serve with flaky sea salt and homemade Baba Ganoush
Maneesh Bread pairs perfectly with…