There is one bread that my grandmother, Yeranuhe Nanny, made that was truly outstanding — Banerov Hatz (Cheese-Onion Flatbread) — another one of her labor-of-love recipes.
You knew a special event was just around the corner when Nanny started to chop so many onions. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
If you’ve never heard of Banerov Hatz, picture this: rectangular pizza dough rolled as thin or thick as you like, then smothered with some of the cheese-onion topping, baked until the dough is slightly crisp on the edges and golden on the bottom, the onions are tender, and the cheese is soft and slightly melted. The aroma is heavenly – and the taste, even better! (FYI: My personal preference: thin crust.)
A classic cheese-onion flatbread recipe from Musa Dagh
Prep Time 40 minutesminutes
Cook Time 2 hourshours20 minutesminutes
Total Time 3 hourshours
1pkg.dry, active yeast
15-lb. bagall-purpose floursifted
½cupoilolive oil or vegetable oil can be used
water – about 5 cupsDo not add water all at once!
Cheese-Onion Topping Ingredients:
2lbs.cottage cheesesmall curd
4oz.blue cheese crumbled
½tsp. EACH of cumin, allspice, paprika
3Tbsp.red pepper pasteSold in Middle Eastern stores. 3 Tbsp.Tomato paste mixed with 1/2 tsp. paprika can be substituted
Directions for Dough Preparation:
Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water.
In large bowl combine sifted flour, oil, salt, dissolved yeast, and enough water to make a smooth dough. (The amount of water you use isn’t exact. There may be some trial-and error involved here.)
Knead dough for 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl.
Lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover, and let rise for 30 minutes to one hour.
Punch down dough. Divide dough into 7 balls, keeping them covered until ready to use.
Combine cottage cheese and the red pepper paste to achieve a reddish color.
In a separate large bowl add onions, blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and seasonings, mixing well.
Add the cottage cheese mixture and stir well to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet with one-inch sides. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll the dough into a rectangular shape large enough to fit into the baking sheet. Press dough with fingers to fit, if necessary.
Spread some cheese filling on the dough to about 1/4-inch from the dough's edge.
Bake until dough is golden brown on the bottom and around the edges (approx. 20 minutes).
Continue this procedure until all 7 loaves are done.
Cool each loaf completely on wire racks.
To serve: cut into large squares (roughly 3“x3“).
To store: completely cool, cut each loaf into squares. Wrap several squares in plastic wrap without stacking them, then place in freezer bags, and freeze. When ready to serve, defrost in the refrigerator, then heat in a 350°F oven until warm.
Short on time? Buy prepared pizza dough from your local grocery store! You’ll need several packages, though.The cheese filling can be made a day in advance.