In many bakeries and homes in Israel, a pizza-like flatbread with toppings is made for lunch or snacking. The crust is slightly puffed, crisp on the bottom, and the toppings run from white or yellow cheeses, tomato, oil and herbs, or oil and zataar, an ancient spice blend. Zataar is made from ground thyme or marjoram, sesame seeds, sumac, salt and pepper. It has a slightly astringent, yet herbal taste.
My friend Nava taught me how to make them. Come cook along!
In a large bowl, proof 1 package (2 tsp) yeast in 2 cups warm milk. Let dissolve, then stir in 1 Tbs. sugar. Let proof. Add 2 cups flour, and mix to get a sponge. Add 2 tsp salt, mix again. Then continue to slowly add another 3- 3 1/2 cups flour, until you get a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Plop into an oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about two hours.
Punch down, briefly knead, then pull off tennis-ball sized pieces to roll into thin rounds. Don't worry about the shape, you're going for a rustic look. You should get about 14-16 flatbreads. Let them rise for at least 1/2 an hour.
Make some toppings! I used oil with zataar, a mild white cheese topped with zataar or chopped herbs (mozzerella or a very mild montery jack is good), and a fresh, sweet chevre mixed with chopped parsley, coriander, and parsley. Feta is commonly used. Mint is also good, if you have some.
Brush the flatbreads generously with olive oil. Arrange your toppings, and place the breads on parchment on baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 10-15 minutes, or until light brown.
Slice and enjoy! Because the milk in the dough prevents them from getting too hard, leftovers can be reheated and enjoyed the next day.