Arabic Bread + Hummus Recipes with Reem Assil of Reem’s California

Knobz is the Arabic word for bread, as we learned from chef Reem Assil of Reem’s California while cooking with our Youth Radio students.

Reem is opening up a bakery in Fruitvale, and she hopes her bakery will be seen as a gathering space for everyone to enjoy freshly-baked, traditional breads featuring California cuisine-inspired toppings. Before
her bakery opens, you can try her food at one of her stands at various farmers’ markets like Jack London on Sundays and the Ferry Building on Saturdays.

She shared with us her khobz and hummus recipes below!

Basic Khobz (Pita) Recipe


1 ¼ C warm water (90-95 deg)

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tablespoon of sugar

3 ¼ cup of bread flour

2 tsp salt

1 T of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) (can use olive oil to make a richer taste)


1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water and set aside to proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make sure salt is incorporated thoroughly.

3. When yeast is proofed, create a well and add oil to wets and create a well in dry mixture. Pour liquid into well. Slowly incorporate with wooden spoon until workable by hand. If dough is wet or sticky, incorporate 1-2 tablespoons of flour.

4. Knead dough by hand in bowl or on flat surface (about 10 minutes) until soft, smooth, and elastic. There are tests you can do to make sure it’s ready: 1) spring test: push it with your finger and it should spring back, 2) window pane: pull it apart slowly until it’s translucent and you can kind of see the other side without it ripping.

5. Place in an oiled bowl and seal with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1.5 hours at room temperature or until doubled in size. (You can freeze it up to 6 months in saran wrap, and take it out the night before).

6. Punch down and cut into 4 equal sized pieces. Take each piece and form a smooth “round”. Place rounds on a floured surface and cover with a towel or plastic wrap to keep from drying. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.

7. Pre-heat oven to the highest temperature on your home oven, usually between 500-550 degrees and place a pizza stone on the base of your oven. If you don’t have a pizza stone, an overturned baking sheet will work. Leave in for 5 minutes or until very hot.

8. To make the bread, coat each dough round with flour and flatten into a disk. Roll out each disk to ¼” to ⅛” thickness, depending on your preference.

9. Slip each rolled out dough into oven, preferably on a pizza peel, or an inverted baking sheet. Watch bread inflate and bake. Bread is done when lightly golden, about 3-5 minutes depending on your oven.

For Mana’eesh (Bread with toppings, like pizza)

If you want to top your bread with goodies, follow the same process. Before baking in the oven

and add your choice of toppings: zaa’tar, cheese, meat, etc.

For a basic zaa’tar mixture for 4 breads, whisk together ½ cup of za’atar with ½ cup of olive oil.

Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons of zaa’tar onto each bread and spread with the back of the spoon

or your hand to incorporate into dough really well.


Hummus Recipe


1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with ½ tsp baking soda

OR 2 (15 oz) cans of chickpeas

1 cup of water or reserve can liquid (chilled)

Juice of 2-3 lemons, to taste

2-3 garlic cloves

1 tsp fine sea salt

½ cup of tahini


Pre-recipe Prep: Soak chickpeas overnight. The next day, rinse thoroughly with cold water and empty into large saucepan and cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cooking until chickpeas are soft to touch. To test readiness, you can squeeze one chickpea between index finger and thumb. Strain and cool for at least 30 minutes.

1. Set aside ¼ cup of chickpeas for garnish.

2. In a food processor, combine the remaining chickpeas with garlic, salt and lemon and

drizzle in tahini until smooth and creamy, adding more cold liquid and lemon juice until

you reach desired consistency.

3. Transfer to a serving dish and using back of spoon, make a well around the

circumference of the dip, about ½ inch from the edge. Drizzle oil for garnish.

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