Za’atar Bread Cheese Balls زعتر بولز بالجبنة

Za’tar is a very popular herb that is greatly used in so many recipes in Palestine. One of the most popular is the dried ground za’atar mixed with some spices and sesame and dipped in bread with olive oil, or sprinkled over chicken and salads. That is the one that is becoming so popular in the US.

Spring is the za’atar season, and that’s where all the fresh green za’atar recipes appear. I love these sort of bread balls stuffed with white cheese, they can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. They are light, filling and can be a nice side dish for any gathering, or a snack on the go especially for the kids, my son loves them.

Since we are getting close to Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims, I think these balls can be a nice snack for Suhoor. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal, it is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan is abstaining from eating any food and drinking any liquid from dawn to sunset for a total of 30 days.

So with this recipe, if fresh za’atar leaves are not available, dried ones should work as well. I always store in my fridge dried za’atar leaves and keep them throughout the year. If you end up using the fresh ones, chop them lightly. Dried or fresh, either one should work perfectly well with this recipe. And all you need is about ¾ to 1 cup of the za’atar. As for the type of cheese, I like to use cheese that is lightly salted, what I’m using here is Nabulsi Arabic cheese, which can be found at any grocery store that sells middle eastern items. And since this cheese is more salted than I’d like, I soaked it with water for about an hour to get some of the salt out. Then chopped it into squares.

So here is how to make za’atar cheese balls.

Any dough recipe can work, if you have one that you often use and prefer, I’m sure it’ll be just fine. Here I’m using what is called the 10 minutes’ dough, a recipe that my sister shared with me once, in which she found online. So it is not my recipe and I don’t know who the developer for it to give them the credit. However, I did slightly modified the original recipe, I like this recipe because it’s easy and quick. Mix together 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, salt, sugar, yeast. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. The mix should rise during this time. Then add 3 cups of flour, mix in the flour well then add the oil. Knead the dough well until you get a nice consistent dough that you can work with. Cover and let it rest for another 20-30 minutes. Then add the za’atar (dried or fresh leaves) to the dough, mix well.

Then take a small piece of the dough and place the cheese in the middle and round altogether. Place on a previously greased baking sheet. Continue with the same process until you’re done with the dough and the cheese. Bake on a previously heated oven on 375 F degrees for about 20 minutes. This recipe will make about 40-42 small balls. Store in a zip back in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Here is how to make za’atar bread cheese balls with all the details:

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Za’atar Bread Cheese Balls

Za’atar Bread Cheese Balls زعتر بولز بالجبنة

  • Author: Wafa Shami
  • Yield: 4042 small balls 1x

Description

Za’tar is a very popular herb that is greatly used in so many recipes in Palestine. One of the most popular is the dried ground za’atar mixed with some spices and sesame and dipped in bread with olive oil, or sprinkled over chicken and salads. That is the one that is becoming so popular in the US.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • A 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/41 cup of za’atar leaves either dried or fresh
  • White cheese, preferable lightly salted, cut in squares

Instructions

  1. Mix together 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, salt, sugar, yeast. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. The mix should rise during this time.
  3. Add 3 cups of flour, mix in the flour well then add the oil. Knead the dough well until you get a nice consistent dough that you can work with. Cover and let it rest for another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add the za’atar to the dough, mix well.
  5. Then take a small piece of the dough and place the cheese in the middle and round altogether. Place on the tray previously greased baking sheet.
  6. Continue with the same process until you’re done with the dough and the cheese.
  7. Bake in a previously heated oven on 375 F degrees for about 20 minutes.

Notes

Store in a zip back in the freezer for up to 2 months.

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