Lebanese talami (also sometimes spelled talame) bread could be described as a Middle Eastern focaccia. It’s perfect paired with soup, sliced for sandwiches, or simply dipped in olive oil and za’atar. The dough is not your typical bread dough, however – it is much softer / wetter than a typical bread dough, and so I would highly recommend you prepare it using a stand mixer, as it is rather difficult to knead the dough properly by hand.
The dough is meant to be very wet and sticky, which is why I recommend either pouring it onto a parchment lined baking sheet, or oiling your hands really well before handling. You can either form into individual pieces, or you can leave as one large (half sheet pan) loaf, and cut into slices. Here’s what the dough process looks like:
From here, you have a couple of options. You can form the bread into smaller loaves (like in the main photo), or you can form into one large loaf to slice later, as I’ve done here. Either way, coat your hands with oil before trying to handle or shape / flatten the dough:
I like my talami topped with za’atar, but sesame seeds or nigella (black seed) is also delicious. It also makes a fantastic garlic bread! This easy, vegan bread is simple to prepare and will keep for four days or so – though it rarely lasts so long in our house.
Lebanese Talami / Talame Bread
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ cup warm water 105°-110° Fahrenheit
- 2 cups warm water 105°-110° Fahrenheit
- 4¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2½ Tbsp oil any high heat oil (like canola, safflower) works well
- Combine your yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir gently to combine and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. After 10 minutes your yeast should be bubbling / frothy.
- In a separate bowl, combine your flour and salt – stir to combine.
- Attach the paddle to your mixer and add the rest of the water and 2 cups of flour, using low speed to combine. The dough will be sticky, resist the temptation to add more flour!
- Add the remaining flour and beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes. The dough may travel up the hook, or cause the machine to shake – so keep your eye on the mixer during this time.
- Prepare a large baking sheet / pizza stone / pizza tray with parchment. You can scrape the dough out using a spatula onto the baking sheet. Using 1 Tbsp of the oil and your hands (you want your hands to be oily), either flatten as one large loaf or separate the dough into four pieces with your (well-oiled!) hands. Round and flatten each piece slightly and place on the parchment. Take some more of your oil and lightly pat the tops of each dough round with it – this helps prevent the plastic from sticking and gives a nice golden crust at the end.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour and a half.
- Preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit (or 400° if convection).
- After the dough has risen, remove the plastic and use your fingertips to create little divots in the dough. Pat the remaining oil into the tops of the dough and sprinkle with sesame, za'atar, nigella, or whatever herb or seed you choose.
- Place the tray into your preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the bread is risen and golden brown.