For most Mediterranean cultures, bread is as much a part of the whole meal ritual as sitting at the table. The bread, delicious and plentiful, is there to mop up the juices, cleanse the palate between mouthfuls, and help the food onto the fork.
Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend, is as versatile that it can be used on meats, vegetables, rice and breads
Dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar or honey in 1 cup warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tsp. active yeast over water and stir until it dissolves. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes, until a layer of foam forms.
In a large bowl, combine 3 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp. salt. Make a well in the center and pour in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and the yeast mixture. Mix flour into into wet ingredients; add more water if it is too dry. On lightly floured surface, knead dough for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Shape dough into ball and put in a well-oiled bowl (using about 2 Tbsp of olive oil). Cover with moist towel and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1½ hours).
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Roll out 6 equal circles of dough. In small bowl, mix 4 Tbsp. za'atar with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and ½ tsp. lemon juice. Pour mixture equally onto dough circles and smooth it over surface. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
Variations 1 - with sun-dried tomatoes
Prepare the basic recipe above, then press 2 or 3 chopped sun-dried tomatoes into the surface before spreading on the za'atar.
Variations 2 - with olives
Prepare the basic recipe above, then scatter a handful of chopped, pitted olives over the pizza before spreading on the za'atar.
Variations 3 - with fresh tomato
Prepare the basic recipe above, then scatter 6 chopped ripe tomatoes over the pizza before spreading on the za'atar.