Are you in a hurry having no time for “big deal” breakfast stuff? Then, this recipe is a great way to start your day with minimal fuss. The Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake is a nutritious, one-dish recipe that can be prepared ahead of time.
This ready-to-go meal is your ultimate choice if you want to start your day with a healthy but fast dish. Just fetch some flour and eggs, and mix them with zaatar and cheese to enjoy the morning vibes with this dish. Because it is no-fuss, and no-mess, then the Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake will make it all together into a family breakfast meal.
What Is Za’atar?
Native to the Middle East, our star ingredient, zaatar or wild thyme, is a favorite breakfast choice for many Middle Easterners. It also forms a delish idea of a lunchbox snack for work or school.
Za’atar is available in almost every grocery store in the Middle East. Want to know more? Well, zaatar is basically an aromatic herb that is dried and ground into a thick powder. This powder is eaten plain, sprinkled over dishes, or mixed with sumac and olive oil.
This last mixture forms the base of manakish, the popular baked buns. What makes these zaatar manakish so yummy is the addition of extra olive oil which transforms it from being a dry powder to a spreadable paste that compliments these baked buns.
In this recipe, I have used the almost-powdery, dry, authentic blend of dried wild thyme leaves, or zaatar, leaves, tangy sumac powder, and crunchy toasted sesame seeds. That’s why you might notice sesame seeds among the baked pieces in the images.
Follow the Pro Tips for the Best Results!
You can prepare the baking dough ahead of time and keep it refrigerated, let’s say overnight, but make sure to cover and seal it tightly. Later next morning, you can get it out of the fridge, let it rest to room temperature for 20-30 minutes, and then bake it.
Also, make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature for the bake to rise and become soft.
To enhance the zaatar flavor even more, you can sprinkle the cut pieces with the dry zaatar paste. This is a mix of dried zaatar, sumac powder, sesame seeds, and salt combined together.
Akawi or Nabulsi cheese is originally salty. So for this kind of cheese to be stretchy and melt, it has to be desalted. This can be done by chopping the cheese into large pieces, soaking the cheese pieces in water for at least 3 hours, and changing the soaking water every hour. By the end of the 3 hours, you just drain the soaked pieces of cheese and let them dry before using them in the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can substitute it with any kind of stretchy or gooey cheese, such as mild cheddar, Ques Blanco, Gouda, American cheese, etc..
You can use a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead.
Enjoy gobbling this yummy bake with a cup of your favorite hot drink. Also, you can pack the pieces of this savory bake to eat at school or work, so it’s a great lunchbox idea.
The Ingredients of Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake
To bake this delish breakfast, you need to put these ingredients all in one bowl.
Flour: You can use all-purpose wheat flour.
Baking Powder: It helps give the bake a consistent texture.
Zaatar: This is a main ingredient that will fill the house with its aromatic odor. Check out the section about za’atar above for more info.
Ackawi or Nabulsi cheese: Since this kind of cheese is salty, you have to get rid of its saltiness first so that it gives a gooey texture to the bake. You can replace it with panela or quesco fresco.
Fresh zaatar leaves: While the previous ingredient is a dried, ground powder, these have to be the fresh leaves of the original plant. You can use oregano in case such leaves are not available.
Eggs: Choose ones that of a large size, or you can use small eggs but in double number. Make sure that they are at room temperature.
Yogurt: This adds extra moisture to the bake. You can use sour cream instead.
Olive Oil: You can use any vegetable oil, but the distinct flavor of the olive oil is super amazing.
Salt: It is a must to balance all the flavors.
Sumac: This dried, sour powder makes it all into tanginess and savor.
Lemon zest: Grate a bit of lemon zest to remove the smell of raw eggs and reinforce the relish of this bake.
How to Prepare Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake?
As simple as it could be, this baked breakfast can be easily prepared in one bowl. You can also prepare it ahead of time and then bake it later on.
After desalting Akawi or Nabusli cheese (Refer to the Tips section to know the method), bring a large mixing bowl, and crack the eggs in it. Then, grate a lemon peel, and add the lemon zest to the eggs in the bowl.
After that, drizzle the olive oil over the eggs, add the yogurt, and whisk them all manually until you get a smooth mixture.
In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, zaa’tar, fresh zaatar leaves, sumac, salt, and cheese. Add the previous mixture to this dry combination, and blend them all together to get a sticky dough.
Cover the floor of a baking pan with parchment paper, and spray it with a greasy substance. Once done, pour the sticky dough into the pan, and fix it all equally in the pan. Bake it in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.
Finally, take the pan out of the oven, and leave the bake to cool off for 10-15 minutes. Then, cut it into pieces, and enjoy eating them with a cup of hot tea.
Check out the recipes below for other savory breakfast recipes:
Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup zaatar
- ½ cup fresh zaatar leaves or oregano
- 500 grams Akawi or Nabulsi cheese
- ⅔ cup yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- In a large mixing bowl, crack the eggs, grate a lemon peel, and add the lemon zest to the eggs in the bowl.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the eggs.
- Add the yogurt and whisk them all manually until you get a smooth mixture.
- In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, zaa'tar, fresh zaatar leaves, sumac, salt, and cheese.
- Add the previous mixture to this dry combination, and blend them all together to get a sticky dough.
- Pour the sticky dough into the pan, and fix it all equally in the pan.
- Bake it in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.
- Wait till it cools off, cut it into pieces, and sprinkle it with dry zaatar mix.
- You can prepare the baking dough ahead of time and keep it refrigerated, but make sure to cover and seal it tightly.
- When you get it out of the fridge, let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, and then bake it.
- Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature for the bake to rise and become soft.
- To enhance the zaatar flavor even more, you can sprinkle the cut pieces with the dry zaatar paste.