Mezze, based in Tramore, are always a popular demo at food festivals. And we were delighted to have them at the Taste Waterford Demo Stage at this year’s West Waterford Festival of Food.
With a passion for Middle-Eastern food, they inspire crowds wherever they go – and their latest recipes were another hit – laffa bread and labneh.
The audience were asking for these tasty recipes – so here they are – let us know how you get on!
You can find these breads being made in the north of Israel by the Druze community at small roadside stalls cooking them to order over an open fire on top of a steel dome like an upturned wok. Once cooked, the laffa is slathered with labneh, sprinkled with za’atar and drizzled with olive oil. Road trips to the north are worth this pit stop.
Laffa is made with the same pita dough recipe but is rolled so it’s thinner and wider. It’s like a fluffy tortilla and is great for wrapping up all manner of fillings. They’re best made just before serving but take no time to cook.
These breads can be cooked on a frying pan or outdoors on an upturned wok (make sure it’s fireproof i.e. no Teflon or plastic) over a fire.
Makes 8 laffa breads
- 14g dried yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 300ml warm water
- 500g strong white/bread flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin rapeseed oil.
For the dough, mix the yeast, sugar and warm water in a jug. In a medium mixing bowl mix the flour and salt together. After a few minutes, once the yeast mixture starts to bubble, add it and the oil to the bowl.
Knead by hand or with a mixer for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth. Leave the dough ball in the mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into 8 and roll into balls. This is easier on an unfloured surface. Place the rolled balls on a floured surface, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
Heat a cast iron or frying pan which is 22cm wide or wider on a high heat.
Lightly flour the work surface and dough ball and, using a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball to about 22cms in diameter (or as wide as your pan if smaller). The laffa should be about 2mm thick. Make sure to flour the surface and ball each time to prevent sticking. Roll a couple of times, turn the dough over and roll a few more times flouring in between if necessary.
Place the laffa in the heated pan and cook for a minute on each side or until the edges start to brown a little.
Labneh is probably the easiest cheese you can make at home. It’s creamy, like a cream cheese, but is also tangy and adds a zing to your meal or spread for a laffa.
Labneh brings us back to Israel, where you can buy it from street stalls in jars rolled into balls and suspended in oil and spices. The oil preserves the cheese and it will keep for months.
- 500g Greek yoghurt
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt.
Extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil.
Line a large, deep bowl or food bucket with a clean muslin or tea towel. Rest a wooden spoon on top of the bowl.
Mix the yoghurt with the garlic and salt and pour it into the cloth. Tie two opposite corners of the cloth together over the wooden spoon, then tie up the other two over the spoon as well. The cloth should hang above the bowl and not touch the bottom to allow the whey (liquid) to strain out. Leave overnight in a cool area or in the fridge.
To serve, remove the labneh from the cloth and into a serving dish. Sprinkle with za’atar and a drizzle of oil. Keep any remaining labneh refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or it will keep for months if rolled and submerged in oil.
The whey strained from the yoghurt can be used to make smoothies or added to porridge.
If you don’t have a bowl deep enough, get in touch with your local café or restaurant. They always
have buckets from olives, salt or mayo that they need to get rid of.