Kaak al-Quds

2 hours
25 minutes
3 hours
6
Kaak al-Quds is the most delicious sesame-packed bread in the shape of a very long oval! This Palestinian breakfast delicacy is fluffy in the center, crispy on the edges, and filled with so much flavor from the sesame seeds.
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Kaak al-Quds

Kaak al-Quds is the most delicious sesame-packed bread in the shape of a very long oval! This Palestinian breakfast delicacy is fluffy in the center, crispy on the edges, and filled with so much flavor from the sesame seeds.

A BIG thank you to everyone who filled out the Google Form and my dear friends Heifa Odeh (@fufuinthekitchen), Hadeel Maadi (@roamingarab), and Jacqueline Rafidi (@thebitewithjackie) for helping with the recipe and sharing their stories.

What is Kaak al-Quds?

Kaak al-Quds is a Palestinian bread that is commonly sold by street vendors in the city of al-Quds. Kaak just means cake or biscuit and al Quds translates to the city of Jerusalem.

Kaak al-Quds is a very popular breakfast item but it can definitely be enjoyed at any time of the day. It tastes similar to a regular bagel but with so much more flavor and texture from the toasted sesame seeds. It has a crunch on the exterior from the sesame seeds but then it’s still so soft and fluffy in the center.

In current-day Palestine with the Israeli occupation, it can be difficult for a lot of Palestinians to cross into Jerusalem. Jerusalem is home to Al Aqsa masjid, a holy site for Muslims, so Palestinians from different cities often made the trek to Jerusalem to pray there. However, with all the checkpoints and visa/permit requirements by the Israeli government, it can be very difficult to make it into Jerusalem for Palestinians. If a family member was able to make it in, it’s very common for them to buy a bunch of Kaak al-Quds to take back home for the family. They’re often stacked up so high on a wooden cart attached to a bike so it’s a movable shop through the streets of the old town.

A Palestinian member of our community was really kind enough to share this beautiful memory:

“I have an old teta (family friend) from al Quds so growing up I used to love eating it at her house. When I went to al Quds last year they love to sell it on carts early in the morning and it’s paired with falafel. Either classic falafel or diamond shaped where it’s stuffed with sumaq and onions… so delicious. Or it’s paired with roasted eggs. They look all strange from the outside but they straight up roast the eggs so very unique flavor! And every morning the men go pray in masjid al Aqsa then bring their breakfast spread that usually includes all of these items. They lay them out in the courtyard of al Aqsa and have breakfast together before starting their day and they literally offer everyone food/coffee/dates. so special.

-Yara Marouf

A lot of Palestinians living in Palestine do not actually make the bread from scratch in their homes now. They just buy it from the shops in the early morning and bring it home to have with their meals. Many Palestinians, if lucky enough to be able to enter Palestine again, bring back the bread to the States with them and freeze it so they have a taste of home with them.

Making Kaak-al-Quds

The dough is pretty easy to make and comes together quickly! You can even make it the night before to save some time but it’s actually super simple. Nothing to be intimidated by. It’s not much different than any other dough you might have made.

To a large mixing bowl, add the following ingredients:

  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • instant yeast
  • lukewarm water
  • warm milk
  • sugar

Bring the dough together using a hook attachment on a stand mixer or use a wooden spoon/rubber spatula. You CANNOT knead it by hand because the dough is a lot more sticky than other breads. Mix together until you have a soft and elastic dough. It should be a bit sticky but not too difficult to handle.

To a bowl, add a generous amount of olive oil, transfer the dough, cover, and then it’s time for it to rest in a warm place for about an hour or until double in size.

While the dough rests in size, prepare two shallow wide bowls. In one bowl, add the toasted sesame seeds. In another bowl, add half and half. Set aside for now.

Once the dough has proofed, punch it down and transfer to a cleaned surface. Shape the dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Divide into 6 to 7 long strips of dough. Take each strip and roll it out into a long log and bring the two ends together to form a long oval shape.

NOTE: If the dough is resisting stretching, let it rest for 10 minutes covered, and try again.

Dip each shaped dough first in the half and half and then into the sesame seeds. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and let it proof again, this time only for 30 to 45 minutes, or until risen.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Once the shaped dough has proofed, pop in the oven to bake for 10 to 14 minutes until golden brown all around.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying warm!

How to Eat It

There are a few ways to traditionally eat Kaak al-Quds. One way it is commonly enjoyed is by cutting it open and stuffing it with falafel.

A more simple way to eat this bread is by dipping it in Palestinian olive oil and za’atar. Zaatar is a tangy herb mix made with lots of oregano and thyme along with sesame seeds and sumac. This combo is the equivalence of bread and butter.

If you want to serve up a traditional breakfast, you would enjoy the bread with some eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, Arabi cheese, olives, olive oil, za’atar, hummus, and labneh.

Craving More Bread? Try These Recipes Out!

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Kaak al-Quds

Kaak al-Quds is the most delicious sesame-packed bread in the shape of a very long oval! This Palestinian breakfast delicacy is fluffy in the center, crispy on the edges, and filled with so much flavor from the sesame seeds.

Kaak al-Quds is the most delicious sesame-packed bread in the shape of a very long oval! This Palestinian breakfast delicacy is fluffy in the center, crispy on the edges, and filled with so much flavor from the sesame seeds.

2 hours
25 minutes
3 hours
6

Ingredients

DOUGH
  • 3/4 cup warm water, about 110°F
  • 3/4 cup warm milk, about 110°F
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
OTHER
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup whole milk or half and half

Instructions

  1. To a large mixing bowl, add the warm water and milk. Sprinkle the instant yeast on top. Whisk together.
  2. In the same mixing bowl, add the sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, mix until the dough comes together and then knead for 1 minute. You can also use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to bring the dough together and then knead by hand just by folding it for one minute.
  4. Oil a bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough. Cover it with saran wrap and then a towel. Place in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour to an hour and a half.
  5. While it proofs, get two wide shallow bowls. In one bowl, add the sesame seeds. To the second bowl, add half and half.
  6. After the dough has proofed, transfer to a clean surface and flatten into rectangle shape that is about 1 inch thick.
  7. Cut into long strips, about 6 to 7 pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a long log shape and joint he two ends together to form a large oval shaped bagel.
  9. Dip it in the half and half and then dip in the sesame seeds and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure the kaak is spaced apart on the baking sheet because they will rise and expand.
  11. Cover and let it proof for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the kaak has risen.
  12. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  13. Once the oven is heated, bake the kaak for 10 to 15 minutes until golden all around.
  14. Take out of the oven, cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy warm!
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Loved this recipe. Made it again for iftaar.

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