Naan Bread with Za'atar. My soft and fluffy homemade naan bread is so easy to make and seasoned with flavorful Arabic Za'atar spices.
My Naan Bread with Za'atar is:
- Easy to make
- Soft and fluffy
- Perfect Arabic dinner bread
I started making home made flat breads about 3 months ago when I was reading the back of a package and realized how much junk was in it! I looked up a recipe for naan bread and thought, this is so easy to make! And, I know exactly what is going into it.
WHAT IS ZA'ATAR?
Za'atar is a flavorful blend of a few simple ingredients: sesame seeds, salt, thyme, oregano, and sumac. Za'atar bread originated in the Middle East.
WHAT IS ZAATAR NAAN MADE OF?
My naan bread recipe is a simple mixture of milk, yeast, baking powder, water, olive oil, salt, and flour. My naan is topped with za'atar. Za'atar is an Arabic spice made from a blend of sesame seeds, salt, thyme, oregano, and dried sumac. Za'atar is a simple spice blend but adds a massive amount of flavor.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST EVER ZA'ATAR NAAN RECIPE
MAKE SURE MILK IS JUST ROOM TEMP. Hot milk will kill the yeast. Cold milk will not activate it.
THE WARMER YOUR KITCHEN, THE FASTER YOUR NAAN BREAD DOUGH WILL RISE.
KEEP A TOWEL OVER ROLLED BALLS OF DOUGH WHILE YOU PAN FRY NAAN. This helps them not dry out while you are cooking the bread.
ROLL THINNER DOUGH FOR A CRUNCHIER NAAN BREAD AND THICKER FOR A CHEWIER NAAN BREAD.
START ON MEDIUM HEAT AND THEN REDUCE TO LOW HEAT. Since the iron skillet holds heat, I usually reduce the heat to medium-low after the first bread.
Frequently asked questions about how to make my zaatar bread recipe.
WHAT IS THE ENGLISH NAME FOR ZAATAR?
Za'atar pronounced in English is simply "zahh-tar."
WHAT COUNTRY EATS ZAATAR?
Za'atar is often used to season meats and vegetables, but you will most likely find it served on hummus with olive oil as part of a traditional Arabic breakfast. Similarly to hummus, za'atar can be served on top of labneh. Za'atar is most commonly used in the levant regions of Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon.
HOW DO I MAKE CHEESE ZA'ATAR NAAN?
Cheese za'atar is a completely different recipe, called manakish, which is baked with cheese instead of pan fried bread.
WHAT DO YOU EAT WITH ZAATAR BREAD?
Za'atar bread can be used to scoop up hummus, labneh, or really anything that you are eating! If you are eating a traditional Arabic meal, be prepared to eat your meal with your bread instead of a fork or spoon!
More Arabic recipes you might like:
WATCH HOW I MADE NAAN BREAD IN MY STANDING MIXER
HOW TO MAKE SOFT AND FLUFFY HOMEMADE NAAN BREAD WITH ZA'ATAR SPICES
Step 1: Activate Yeast
Activating the yeast is really important. If you don't "wake the yeast up" you will not get that soft risen dough.
To activate the yeast, mix warm milk with ½ tablespoon of sugar and 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast. I used plain soy milk for this recipe. But, you can use any type of milk that you have.
Mix the yeast, warm milk, and sugar until dissolved. Set it aside somewhere warm.
While the yeast activates, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
You can tell that the yeast is activated when there is a foamy layer on top. See the picture below.
Step 2: Add Remaining Ingredients & Form a Dough
Once the yeast is activated, stir in the water and oil.
Pour your yeast mixture into the center of your flour mixture. Begin to combine it first with a fork. Once you notice the dough is coming together, you can use your hands to fully incorporate the flour. Or, use the hook attachment on your standing mixer to knead the dough.
Knead the dough until is is very soft and there is no more flour left.
Step 3: Rise
Coat a medium sized bowl with about a tablespoon of oil. This helps the dough from sticking in the bowl after it has risen. Place your dough in the oiled bowl and turn once so the top of the dough is oiled.
Place a towel over the and put it somewhere warm to rise.
Usually it takes my naan dough 45 minutes to double in size.
Step 4: Shape Naan Zaatar Bread
Once it has risen, divide it into 10 equal portions. Roll each of the balls into a small disk and put a towel over them.
Heat an iron skillet with a splash of high heat cooking oil. The oil helps the dough to not stick the first time you cook a naan. I found that after the first naan is made, a layer of flour will be on the pan and prevent the other naan's from sticking. So, you don't really need to keep adding oil each time.
I start my pan on medium heat. Since the iron skillet holds heat, I usually reduce the heat to medium-low after the first bread.
Sprinkle flour over a clean kitchen counter top. Using a rolling pin, roll the bread into a rough oval shape.
Step 5: Fry Naan and add Za'atar
Shake the excess flour off the rolled naan dough. Place the dough flat on the heated skillet. Once bubbles have formed on top, flip it over. Cook the other side until it is golden brown and then remove it from the pan.
You will see those gorgeous golden brown bubbles on top of your naan bread and that is how you know that you have made perfect naan!
Get the iron skillet I use to make naan in here on Amazon:
Different naan topping ideas:
Brush the naan with some melted butter or olive oil.
I like to sprinkle mine with Arabic za'atar spices.
But, you can also use:
- Fresh herbs
- Fresh minced garlic
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder
- Even some cinnamon & sugar for a dessert naan!
NAAN ZA'ATAR BREAD HOW TO EAT
Serve naan za'atar bread alongside any Arabic meal. It can be eaten on its own, to scoop up dips, or even be filled as a wrap!
Looking for a slightly healthier naan bread? Try my whole wheat naan:
If you make this recipe and love it, please be sure to tag your photo #thehintofrosemary and leave me a rating in the recipe card!
Naan Bread with Za'atar (خبز بزعتر)
- Olive oil or melted organic butter
- Za'atar spices
- Fresh minced garlic
How to make naan bread dough:
- Heat milk so it is slightly warm. You want it to be just warmer than room temperature, but not so hot to kill the yeast.
- Mix the yeast and sugar in with the milk until it dissolves. Cover and set in a warm place to activate the yeast ~10-15 minutes. You can tell the yeast is active when a layer of foam forms on the top.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Form a well in the center.
- Once the yeast is activated, stir in the water and the oil.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the center of the flour mixture. Begin mixing with a fork. Once the dough starts coming together, you can knead the remaining flour in with your hands. Knead until a soft dough forms.
- Grease a medium sized bowl with ~1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the prepared dough to the bowl. Turn once to coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and place somewhere warm to rise until double in size ~1 hour. The warmer the temperature, the faster it will rise.
How to cook naan bread:
- Heat your iron skillet over medium-low heat with a splash of oil to prevent the dough from sticking. You don't need to keep oiling the pan after this. The flour from the dough & oil will protect the other ones from sticking to the pan.
- Once your dough has doubled in size, divide it into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a disk. Lightly flour the surface of a clean counter top. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each disk ~⅛" thick. You can make it thicker/thinner depending on how you like it.
- Shake the excess flour off your dough.
- Lay your dough flat on the heated iron skillet. Flip it once bubbles have formed all over the surface.
- Cook the other side till it is golden brown. Remove the naan from the pan. Brush it with melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs, spices, or fresh minced garlic.
How to store naan
- These are best eaten fresh. If you want to store them, keep them in an airtight bag or container in the freezer.