Mutabaq is the thinner version of the well known, thick and fluffy Middle Eastern dough pastries, fatayir. They are usually filled with cheese, ground meat, or zaatar. I usually stick to my mom’s recipe when it comes to dough, which I will share in a separate post. Today I thought I would try a new one I came across from Maie, the talented cook behind “The Wizard of Yum“. After watching her Instastories I couldn’t stop thinking about making these thin and crispy pastries, and knew I had to try her recipe.

Maie’s Dough Recipe

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water (may need more or less depending on the dough texture)
  • corn oil to spread the dough

Yeast for dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water

Mix yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and set aside until it starts to bubble (5-10 minutes)

Cheese Filling 

  • 1 bag (16 oz) shredded mozzarella
  •  5 oz feta cheese
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pesto

Dried Zaatar/Oregano Filling 

  • 3 cups dried zaatar leaves
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • salt to taste (1-2 tablespoons)
  • sumac to taste (1-2 tablespoons)

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Preparing the dough

  1. Mix the flour, corn oil, salt, and activated yeast mixture (you can do this by hand or with an electric mixer using the hook attachment). Gradually add in the water until the dough starts to form.
  2. On a clean flat surface, knead the dough for several minutes to ensure that all of the ingredients are evenly mixed and that the gluten in the bread is developed which is key for achieving that soft and chewy bread texture.
  3. Cut the dough into equal round parts on a clean tray or surface. Drizzle with some corn (or olive) oil and cover with a tea towel. Set aside for at least 1-2 hours or until the dough starts to rise. The longer you keep the dough out the better your results will be.

While you wait for the dough to rise, you can begin preparing the cheese and zaatar fillings.

Cheese Filling Prep

  1. In a large bowl, combine the three types of cheeses and pesto. Mix well and set aside.

Dried Zaatar/Oregano Filling Prep

  1. Start by soaking the dried zaatar leaves in boiling water for at least two hours. Change the water every hour or so. Doing this will soften the dry leaves as well as ensure they are clean from any dirt and debris.
  2. Strain the zaatar leaves and rinse them under running water. Turn the water off and use your hands to squeeze out any excess water, set aside in a clean bowl. Make sure the leaves are as drained as much as possible.
  3. Dice your onions and sauté them in olive oil until they become translucent. Add the zaatar leaves along with the salt and sumac. Mix well. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. This will ensure all the flavors are fully incorporated.
  4. Place a strainer on top of a clean bowl and pour the zaatar mixture on top of the strainer. This will remove all the excess oil so that your dough does not get drenched in oil while making the mutabaq.

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Preparing the Mutabaq

  1. Preheat your oven to 450℉
  2. On a clean flat surface (you can use a silicone pastry mat if you have one), drizzle some oil (I like to use a mixture of olive oil and corn oil) and spread it evenly. Take one of your pieces of round dough and drizzle some more oil on top. Start by spreading the dough evenly on all sides to maintain a round shape. The goal is to spread the dough until you achieve a large thin layer. You can add oil as needed while spreading out the dough to help you ease the process and stretch the dough.
  3. Once the dough is evenly stretched to your desired thickness, for this specific recipe  the dough should be as thin as possible, add one of the fillings you’ve already prepared down the center of the round dough. Fold the right and left sides over the filling and press the dough gently. You should now have a long rectangular shape. You can add more filling in the center if you’d like.
  4. Fold the top and bottom sides of the rectangle and press the dough gently again. Gently pick up the filled dough and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake on the middle rack for about 10 min or until the bottom of the mutabaq is golden.

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For step by step videos on making mutabaq as well as other delicious recipes, be sure to visit The Wizard of Yum’s IG account, @thewizardofyum, .

You can also check out my IG @motherofpearl91 and click on the “Recipes” highlights where you will find videos on how to make these as well as other yummy treats!

Enjoy & happy baking!

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