Akkawi is a mild soft white cheese that you will find in your local Middle Eastern market. It comes in a jar with a brine. Akkawi is also spelled a few different ways like Ackawi, Akawi, Akawieh or Ackawi. You want to crumble up the cheese and rinse it a couple of times to diffuse the salt. It reminded me a bit of mozzarella, a lovely mild flavor.
We really enjoyed the akkawi manakeesh as our appetizer course for our International Cuisine meal. It is often eaten in Saudi Arabia as a snack or for breakfast. I love to cook bread and pizza on a pizza stone, it comes out great every time.
Did you know that Saudi Arabia is known to be the birthplace of Islam? It is home to the religion's two most sacred mosques. Masjid al-haram, also known as the Grand Mosque in Mecca is the destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, it is also the largest mosque in the world, and Medina's Masjid an-Nabaw, is the burial site of the prophet Muhammad.
If you would like to learn more about one of the wealthiest countries in the world, be sure to check out "Our Journey to Saudi Arabia". There you can also find more authentic Saudi recipes like their national dish called Al Kabsa, enjoy!
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Akkawi Manakeesh (Arabic Cheese Bread)
- 1¼ cup Lukewarm Water
- 1 teaspoon Dry Yeast
- 3½ cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil Plus Extra For Greasing the bowl
- 1 pound Akkawi Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Nigella Seeds
- Put the warm water into a bowl or cup. Stir the yeast into the water and set aside for 5 minutes, or until it starts to bubble up.
- Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Gradually pour the yeast water and oil into the dry ingredients. Stir well to bind, then knead for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic when ready.
- Place the dough into a large bowl that you’ve greased with oil. Place a damp tea towel over the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, crumble the cheese into a large bowl. Cover with cold water to soak and help remove the salt.
- Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into four equal-sized pieces.
- Place the dough back into the bowl and let it rest for an extra 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a disc about 10-inches in diameter.
- Drain the akkawi cheese. Sprinkle about 1 cup of akkawi cheese over the dough. Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of nigella seeds evenly over the cheese.
- Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake 20 minutes, or until the crust is baked and cheese is melted.
- Serve warm