Monday, February 4, 2013

Kaak: Street Bread in Beirut

food vendors on Avenue de Paris in Beirut, Lebanon. Source:, Photograph: Peter Rayner/Axiom

 As I was searching for photographs of life in Beirut, I came across these ones showing food vendors on Avenue de Paris selling kaak. They reminded me of the vendors selling simit in Istanbul which might be the main reason why I liked the photos and the sesame bread in the photos much better. Anyways, a friend of mine traveled to Beirut a couple of months ago and I e-mailed and asked her about this special kind of street bread to see whether she ever ate them. I learned that she had become a fan of them right away and sent me a recipe advising me to give it a try as soon as possible and I did. 

The purse-like bread was beyond my expectations. It came out puffy with a fabulous smell filling the whole house. We gulped them down warm with cheese and yogurt. I sprinkled some za'atar on some of them along with sesame which also contributed a great deal to the overall taste of the bread. I made them in two different sizes. I sent the photos to the same friend and she replied saying that they looked pretty the same as the ones she saw in Beirut. Since it was my first time with such a specific kind of bread, I was so glad with a big smile on my face after getting that feedback.

For more information and photos of kaak, please visit


1 1/2 cups warm reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1-2 tablespoons more flour for flouring and rolling
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope rapid rise yeast

For topping
1 large egg
1/2 cup sesame seeds (1 tablespoon per kaak)


1. In the pan of an electric bread machine, add ingredients in the order recommended by the yeast manufacturer. Set for the dough cycle.
2. When done, remove dough from pan, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Divide into 8 equal parts, each weighing about 100 grams. With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each part into a large, 6-7 inch circle. Use a small, 2-inch glass to cut a small circle out, near the edge of each large circle:
4. Place rings on two greased baking sheets. Beat the egg and 1 TBS water with a fork. Brush each ring with the mixture and sprinkle with about 1 TBS sesame seeds:
5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
6. Heat oven to 200°C. Bake about 10 minutes, or until golden and puffed. Serve immediately. 


  1. Awesome bread, i made them last week it came out super good. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

  2. :) Glad to hear this! It's really great, isn't it?