Saj Bread: A Delicious Middle Eastern Delicacy Straight from the Griddle

Saj bread, also known as markouk or shrak bread, is a traditional Middle Eastern flatbread that holds a special place in the hearts and palates of those who have tasted it. This unleavened bread is beloved for its thin, soft, and slightly chewy texture, making it a versatile accompaniment to a wide range of dishes. In this article, we’ll explore the history and significance of saj bread in Middle Eastern cuisine, followed by a simple and delightful recipe to recreate this flavorful bread in your own kitchen.

The History of Saj Bread

Saj bread traces its roots back centuries to the Levantine region, which includes countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. The word “saj” refers to the traditional dome-shaped griddle on which the bread is cooked. Historically, these portable griddles were a common fixture in Bedouin and nomadic communities, allowing them to prepare fresh bread while on the move.

Over time, saj bread became an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine, served with various dishes such as hummus, falafel, shawarma, and other regional delicacies. Today, it remains a beloved staple in Middle Eastern households and restaurants, as well as popular street food throughout the region.

Recipe for Saj Bread


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Extra flour for dusting


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix well with a whisk or fork to evenly distribute the ingredients.

  2. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the olive oil and warm water.

  3. Gradually incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, stirring with a spoon or your hands until a sticky dough forms.

  4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic. You may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.

  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

  6. Preheat a saj griddle or a large, flat skillet over medium-high heat.

  7. Divide the rested dough into 6 equal-sized balls.

  8. On a floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a thin circle, about 8-10 inches in diameter. You can use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch the dough gently.

  9. Carefully transfer the rolled dough onto the hot griddle or skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until it puffs up and develops light brown spots.

  10. Remove the saj bread from the griddle and place it in a clean cloth or a breadbasket to keep it warm and soft.

  11. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls.

Serve your freshly made saj bread with your favorite Middle Eastern dishes or use it as a wrap for your favorite fillings, and enjoy the authentic flavors of the Levantine cuisine!

Saj bread, with its rich history and delectable taste, holds a special place in Middle Eastern cuisine. Its simple yet delightful recipe allows you to recreate the flavors of this traditional flatbread in the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether enjoyed as a side with hummus or as a wrap for falafel, saj bread is sure to transport your taste buds on a delightful journey to the heart of the Middle East.

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