flatbreadHappily locked away in Cornwall, it’s a wine and ‘pick and lick’ menu at lunchtime. For my contribution at the table it needs something easily made (I am on holiday), and great for dipping or holding food that someone else expertly prepares: in this case spicy chicken, dips, sausages and a varied amount of food that tastes great and makes the lunch. So here was my contribution, a classic Middle Eastern flatbread, with a dough spread with homemade za’atar – herbs and sesame seeds. It really is quick to make with a crusty top with soft dough inside. This makes three breads, or break into smaller amounts if you want more individual sizes.


  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g/¼oz salt
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • 10g/¼oz instant yeast
  • 20ml/4 tsp olive oil, plus extra for kneading
  • 360ml/12fl oz tepid water

For the topping

  • 6 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 4 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • a little olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8.

  2. Simple and straightforward, like making bread: Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then add the olive oil and about 270ml/9½floz of the water.

  3. Using your fingers mix the lot together. then gradually add the remaining water until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft dough (you may not need all the water; a soft not sticky dough).

  4. A little oil onto your work top drop the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes, and once itssmooth dough is achieved, put it into a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to double in size.

  5. Line baking trays with parchment paper.

  6. Dough out onto an oiled work top, knock the dough back by folding it on itself, repeating this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth, then split the dough into three and roll into large circles.

  7. Put them onto the lined baking trays and cover each tray with a carrier bag to encourage the proving. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

  8. Mix the topping ingredients with a little olive oil until you have a thick paste.

  9. Just before baking, brush the of the breads with olive oil and spread topping paste over each of the breads.

  10.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


About Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home. Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here. Food is fun, it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it; but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in. Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument. Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour - and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone. Most of all, have fun making a meal of it! Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.
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