If you've been looking around for a versatile dough recipe, teta's homemade manakeesh dough is here for the rescue. Ajeen is the Arabic word for dough, and this ajeen recipe works well for pizza, sambousek, za'atar manakish, cheese manakish, and all other sorts of pastries.
I call this teta's homemade manakeesh dough recipe as a tribute to my own grandmother. She has been creating the most wondrous pastries for years using this version. Excited to learn how to make it? Let's dive right in!
What I Love About This Recipe
This homemade manakeesh dough recipe is the best because it's crunchy, crumbly on the outside, and soft on the inside. Secondly, it works amazingly well with all kinds of recipes. From pizza to mana2eesh to rolls or even sambousek. It's just super versatile. Also, you don't need a dough hook to make this recipe because it's kneaded by hand. Finally, it's made by my teta (need we say more?)
- Active dry yeast: You can find this in all supermarkets. It usually comes in a small bag or tin.
- Flour: The key ingredient here. I use all-purpose flour but you can use any kind you have on hand including whole-wheat or brown.
- Egg: This gives the dough a brilliant texture and helps bind it together.
- Vegetable oil: Any vegetable oil works here. Avoid using olive oil because it gives this an overwhelming taste. The key is to use an oil that has a very subtle flavor.
- Milk: I used semi-skimmed milk but you can use any other kind you have on hand.
- Water: Keep some lukewarm water on hand while you're making this recipe and add it in as needed.
- Salt: A pinch is all you'll need.
- Sugar: Just a teeny bit does the amazing job of balancing all the flavors.
How to Make Manakeesh Dough
My grandmother and I make this recipe without using a stand mixer or dough hook, so it will require some kneading by hand. The key to making any dough by hand is following these three tricks:
- Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Create a well in the middle.
- Crack the egg and pour all the liquid ingredients into the well.
- Scrape the sides into the liquid ingredients and combine everything together. Then start kneading the dough. Remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured countertop. Continue kneading for up to 10 minutes.
Once the dough is kneaded, wrap it in plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let it rise for at least 1 hour, or a couple of hours if you can wait. Before using, knead the dough a second time for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure all the ingredients you're using are at room temperature. This is especially important for the egg and milk.
- Give this dough time to rise. Making it a day before you need to use it and letting it rise overnight is best.
- In some Lebanese regions, olive oil is used to create this kind of dough. I don't use it because I feel it gives it a very strong flavor, but this is an existing variation.
- During lent, we skip using milk and eggs in this dough. Instead, we resort to a vegan version of it.
How To Make Dough Rise Without Yeast
Some people don't like using yeast in their baking and ask for a substitute. If you're ever making dough and still need it to rise without using yeast, substitute some baking soda and an acidic element. The acidic element here can be made using some lemon juice, buttermilk, or regular milk combined with some vinegar. Though this is a substitute that works, yeast is the main agent that helps dough rise. I, therefore, recommend it as a first choice if possible.
Recipes With Manakeesh Dough
This manakeesh dough will certainly work great for traditional pastries but you can also get creative with it. You can bake cuts of it in the oven and then top them with some yummy guacamole. Another idea is to layer some olive tapenade on it, roll it up, and cut it into rounds before popping the rings in the oven. You can also fill this up with labneh or cheese.
Delicious Lebanese Recipes
Teta's Manakeesh Dough (Ajeen)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ¾ cup lukewarm water
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Measure out the flour and place it in a bowl. Add dry yeast, sugar, and salt. Combine all the dry ingredients together using a spoon.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Crack the egg in the well. Add in the milk, oil, and a little bit of water (save the rest and use only if needed). Start folding in the flour sides and use your hands to combine everything. If you feel the dough is a bit dry add a little bit of water. If it's too sticky, sprinkle in a little more flour.
- When the dough's texture is pretty soft, form it into a ball. Place the dough ball on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Roll the dough in any shape you want to and cover it with cling film (plastic wrap). Then wrap it up with a kitchen towel and leave it out to rest.
- After a few hours (a minimum of an hour to rise), the dough should rise. Remove it from the wrapping, knead for another 10 minutes, and use it to create any recipe you want.
- Knead the dough really well
- Give the dough plenty of time to rest and rise