This delicious, savory bread is a must-have on kitchen tables in Palestine! It also is a great on-the-go bread to stuff for lunch. Ka’ek (or sesame) bread is a (usually oval) ring-shaped treat that can be eaten by itself or enjoyed with za’atar, eggs, cheese, and even hummus. Its crunchy crust and fluffy inside are enough to come back for seconds!
This bread has a long history in the region, with much of its fame coming from Jerusalem. In fact, many call this bread ka’ek Al-Quds, named after the Arabic term for Jerusalem. This bread’s history in the area goes all the way back to medieval times, and it has evolved into the bread we know and love. Baked with its ring shape in centuries-old ovens, many vendors in the Old City have made ka’ek the famous staple it is today.
This sesame-crusted bread can be enjoyed for breakfast, with tea, and just as a snack to enjoy. And today we’re sharing a recipe so you can make your very own ka’ek!
This recipe is brought to you from the Facebook group Mama’s Palestinian Kitchen, and was originally shared by Sandy Bint AlBireh.
Here's what you’ll need to get started.
For the bread:
- 4 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp salt
For the topping:
- 2 cups raw sesame (untoasted)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp water
- Mix the warm water with the sugar, oil, yeast, then add to the flour and salt. Mix in a bread maker (or kneed by hand) until a ball is formed. Transfer the dough into a floured bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 minutes.
- When it rises it is almost double in size. On a floured surface, knead by hand for several minutes. Then divide the dough into four even parts. Knead each part into a ball shape. Leave on a floured surface, cover and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Flatten each ball into a rectangle, then roll into a long cylinder shape. Attach the ends to each other to make an oval-shaped ring.
- Put each ring in the sesame mixture. Flip them so sesame seeds are on both sides of the dough. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover and let them rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees (while the Ka’ek is resting) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Halfway through, switch the cooking trays so that the loaves all bake evenly. Because oven temperatures can vary, keep an eye on the loaves and remove them once the sesame is golden brown.
Grab some of your very own Palestinian sesame seeds from our Ramadan gift box! Happy baking!