If there’s one thing that my mother always has on hand when we go to visit, it would have to be these sweet breads.
When I first started making these my daughter immediately said, ‘these remind me of Tata (Grandma).’ They love them and I love them, especially when they’re soft and fresh.
In Arabic these breads are known as ka’ik كعك or baa’at (as they’re sometimes called in the part of Lebanon where my parents originate from). The word ka’ik literally translates to cake, which is why in different parts of Lebanon you will find different types of things that people call ka’ik.
Now let me point out, they aren’t traditionally made as bread rolls. They are made as round flat breads (as in the image above, probably thinner), usually with a pattern pressed into it using a wooden mould.
In my recipe video you will see me make it the traditional way using my sister Nadia’s recipe, but the rolls are my own little twist because…well, just because zataar adds oomph to everything!
I hope you really enjoy these as much as we do. They are just perfect warm with a cup of tea and some labneh on the side!
- 4 cups plain flour
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 7g of dry yeast (one sachet)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon daka spices*
- 2 tablespoon zataar
- 1 200g tub of cherry bocconcini balls
- Olive oil
- Sesame seeds for top (optional)
- In a bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and set aside until it activates and becomes frothy.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour.
- Add the sugar, spices, milk and yeast/water mixture to the flour.
- Combine until it begins to resemble a dough. You can use an electric mixer with dough attachment to do this or you can do it by hand.
- Remove dough from bowl. Place on a floured bench top and knead until it becomes a soft, smooth dough (about 10 minutes).
- Set aside in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest for about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, roll bocconcini balls in the zataar and set aside.
- Once dough has rested, knead for a few minutes to let out air bubbles and roll out into a thick log about 40cm long and 3cm thick. Then divide the dough into 14 one inch thick pieces.
- Flatten each dough piece onto an oiled wooden mould to create the more traditional patterned flat bread and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- If making bread rolls, then flatten each piece (by hand or using a rolling pin).
- Place a zataar coated bocconcini ball onto a flattened piece of dough. Wrap the dough around the bocconcini and roll with hands to make a dough bread roll shape.
- Repeat and place each roll onto a baking paper lined oven proof tray.
- Preheat oven to 170ºC.
- Brush each piece of dough roll with some olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and a tea towel and set aside for another 1/2 hour.
- After 1/2 hour bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
*daka spices are used specifically for making this type of bread, also known as ka'ik or baa'at. You should be able to find it at most Lebanese or Middle Eastern grocers. If you can not find, then a perfect substitute (that I've tried before) is Allspice.