It sounds like violent coughing, doesn’t it? Or tropical birds screeching. But don’t let the sound of this bread’s name fool you.
Trust me, kaak is nothing at all like that. It looks great. It tastes great. And it’s ridiculously easy to make!
My first and last day in Beirut is always the same: I have to get some kaak. Kaak is the street bread that Beirutis love more than anything, it is our pretzel, our simit, our croissant; you get my point. This time, my new friend, Hind, took me to a bakery in Basta (the neighborhood in Beirut that no tourist will ever venture in unaccompanied); I was in heaven! […] Kaak is delivered to all the cart vendors throughout the city. They dangle them on a rail in their chariot, covered in plastic for protection. You buy it and they will fill it with a choice of zaatar or picon cheese (a cheese spread similar to cream cheese). I always want mine with zaatar, of course!
– Joumana Accad, Taste of Beirut | Kaak (street bread)
They swing from rods in the rolling street carts, looking like purses except they’re coated with sesame seeds. Take a closer look and you see that they are ka’ak, a Middle Eastern flatbread, popular in Lebanon, often eaten as breakfast or for a snack. From the carts, you can get ka’ak filled with za’atar or smeared with cheese or hummus.
-Gin, Gin’s Kitchen | Ka’ak – Middle Eastern Flatbread
Sesame Galettes, in one form or another are a street staple through the eastern Mediterranean […] In Greece, Turkey, and Egypt they are shaped into rings and in Greece they are made slightly sweet. In Lebanon they are shaped like handbags, and the vendor will tear the fat “bag” part open to sprinkle the inside with a little za’tar. In Tripoli and Syria the galettes are shaped into flat disks and are often sold filled halloumi cheese seasoned with sumac.
-Anissa Helou, Turkish Sesame Galettes Simit, Mediterranean Street Food, p116
I often make Anissa Helou’s Koulouria (Greek Sesame Galettes) on p.118 of her cookbook “Mediterranean Street Food (read more here: sesame twisted rings), especially in the summer. They’re perfect for the barbecue!
So I was thrilled to try this slightly different version of the bread that Karen (Bake My Day) chose for this month’s BBB project. I especially liked that the BBB recipe seems more straight-forward than Helou’s.