Ka’ek Al-Quds and Eggs

A beautiful bread to use to dip into olive oil and zaatar, to cut open and enjoy with some eggs, a pinch of salt and sumac, or to create your own elaborate sandwich.

Fadi says…

As I was growing up in Bethlehem and going to school in Jerusalem – way before the segregation wall was built by Israel, when you could drive there within 30 minutes – the most delicious guilty pleasure would be to stop by a street vendor and buy a still-warm ka’ek, with its zaatar mix in a wrapping, and swear and promise that I would not make a mess in the back of the car. Have you ever seen a kid eat something with sesame seeds on it and be given a small, crumpled old newspaper filled with fragrant zaatar and not get a kick out of it?

The scent of this hot sesame bread emanated from small, wood-oven bakeries across Palestine every day, balming the mornings with its comfortable, familiar aroma. Even if you weren’t lucky enough to pass a bakery, you couldn’t miss the street vendors’ call of “Ka’ek! Ka’ek! Ka’ek!” as they pushed their recognisable green-and-red carts along the alleyways of the cities of Palestine.

Even though the recipe originates from and is linked to Jerusalem (Al-Quds), and seems to be exclusively sold on the streets with the eponymous newspaper as a wrapping for zaatar, I wanted to share this recipe not only for its delicious taste but also for its potent symbolism within the Palestinian diaspora. In my career I have seem people cry at the sight of a ka’ek. I have taken people who have barely landed in Palestine from long distance flights, in the middle of the night, across Bethlehem to find a ka’ek bakery to satisfy their longing for that bread: crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside.

A beautiful bread to use to dip into olive oil and zaatar, to cut open and enjoy with some eggs, a pinch of salt and sumac, or to create your own elaborate sandwich. I personally love some creamy labneh, soft boiled eggs and a spoonful of spicy shatta, all mixed together then garnished with fresh mint.



Ka’ek Al-Quds and Eggs

Serves 4

400g/3⅓ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
60g/¼ cup powdered whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for shaping
120ml/½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons water
1 egg white
40g/4½ tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
8 eggs
1 tablespoon zaatar spice blend


To make the ka’eks, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered milk, salt, baking soda and yeast. Make a well in the middle and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the warm water. Mix well by hand until you have a homogenous dough. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.

Flour the work surface, place the dough on the surface, and cut into four pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With oiled hands, working with one piece of dough at a time, form the dough into a ring. Slowly stretch it into the oblong shape of the Jerusalem ka’ek. Place the ka’ek on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Cover the ka’eks with a cloth and leave to rise for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the water and egg white together and brush over the tops of the dough. Mix the sesame seeds with the remaining 1 tablespoon water, and sprinkle evenly onto the ka’ek.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the breads are golden. You may have to rotate the baking sheet to get an even colour.

Once the breads are baked, decrease the oven temperature to 180°C.

To make the eggs, place them whole, in their shells, in a muffin pan, one egg per cavity. Bake for 30 minutes.

To serve, slice each ka’ek open as for a sandwich. Peel the eggs, mash them with a fork in a bowl, add the zaatar and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and mix to combine. Stuff the ka’eks with the egg mixture and enjoy!