Baking is an exact science. It’s exact measurements with little room for experimentation. That’s not to say it can’t be done … there’s just a higher probability of making a mistake and essentially ruining your entire baked good. In conclusion –you guessed it—measuring cups are definitely NOT optional when it comes to baking.
It was a long process, mostly waiting. Waiting for the dry yeast to react, waiting for the dough to rise, waiting for the dough to rise again, and then waiting for the bread to bake. It’s a serious test of patience (I’m speaking from experience, here). I will say, though, that I learned some valuable things during this experience that I’m more than happy to share:
- First of all, if you’re working with dry active yeast (namely the kind in the jar where you can scoop out as much as you need), then you need to keep it refrigerated or in the freezer after opening. As my coworker mentioned, “it’s alive.”
- Second, when you mix your water and dry yeast, wait for it to bubble up. If it doesn’t bubble up, it means your dry yeast isn’t working, which means that your dough isn’t going to rise.
- Keeping your covered dough in a warm, draft-free spot basically means keep it in the oven (with it off), or in the microwave.
In terms of time commitment, prep, wait and baking time took about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I added some cushion time for accidents, needing to get ingredients out of the cupboards and snapping/oogling your creation. All things considered, it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment when the bread is out of the oven and ready to be devoured.
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons zaatar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (1 for bowl, 1 for dough)
- In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer, use a spoon to mix together water, sugar and dry yeast.
- Let stand for 10-15 minutes (it’ll get really bubbly)
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer
- Add 2 cups flour, zaatar, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix on low speed for about 5-7 minutes.
- Use a rubber spatula to bring the sides down, if they get stuck
- Add some more flour if the dough gets too sticky
- Coat your hands in four and shape into an oval.
- Place in a medium bowl coated with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm draft-free place (usually an un-warmed oven works) and wait 1 hour until the dough rises.
- Once the dough has doubled, punch down and divide in half, shaping into two ovals
- Place on a large, lightly olive oil-coated baking sheet
- Cover again with plastic wrap, put back in the cool oven and wait 45 minutes
- Preheat oven to 400
- Uncover the dough, brush with olive oil and bake on an upper middle rack for 18-20 minutes. It should be nicely browned, but not burnt.
- Remove and cool on a cooling rack before serving.