The Manoushe: The Middle Eastern Pizza
The manoushe or middle eastern flatbread is the ultimate street food. Made with only the most humble ingredients it is one of the most popular foods you can find it coming out of almost every corner bakery. A good manoushe is crispy on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, and slathered with the most aromatic of spice blends – za'atar.
Many bakeries use a brick oven but the most traditional preparation of cooking manoushe is on an inverted wok-like piece of hot metal. This practice originated around 5000 years ago when bread was flattened and baked on a hot clay hill shaped oven called saj. The Phoenician heritage is still alive in the Middle East until today. A Bedouin pillow is used for the dough to rise on -the baker flips the "pillow" with the dough onto the hot saj and the bread cooks very fast. Walk by one of these manoushe places in the middle east and you’ll see bakers pulling off hunks of dough, working them with their fingers, then tossing and twirling each one round and round, until they were big enough to be stretched over tufted pillows, then flipped onto the saj.