Ka’ak Al-Quds Palestinian Sesame Handbag Bread - makes 12-16 breads

Joudie Kalla

Joudie Kalla

15th September 2016
Joudie Kalla

Ka’ak Al-Quds Palestinian Sesame Handbag Bread - makes 12-16 breads

This classic, iconic bread is sold everywhere in Palestine – on the streets, in every bakery and by men shouting down the streets of Jerusalem informing everyone that they are coming with ka’ak bread. It is similar to the khubez (pita bread) but with the addition of yogurt and milk and is traditionally eaten with a pot of fresh mint tea, or simply stuffed with cheese and za’atar – that’s how I like mine. The breads are cooked in an extremely hot oven to create the pocket in the middle. It is also good eaten with honey and jams for a sweeter taste.


  • 500ml (18fl oz) water
  • 150ml (5fl oz) milk
  • 150ml (5fl oz) Greek yogurt
  • 14g (1/2 oz) instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.1kg (2lb 7oz) plain flour
  • 1 egg, for brushing
  • 150–200g (5–7oz) sesame seeds


Warm the water in a saucepan over a gentle heat – it should be slightly warmer than body temperature so that it can have an effect on the yeast. Add the milk and warm it through too. Don’t overheat the liquid otherwise it will kill the growth in the yeast and ruin the final result.
Place the warm water and milk in a bowl and stir through the yogurt. Add the yeast, giving it a little stir. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the egg and sesame seeds, and begin to combine it together into a dough. Knead for about 5–8 minutes depending on the flour, weather and other elements. When the dough feels ready – it should have a slight bounce when you touch it – turn it out into a well-oiled bowl and cover it. Leave it to rise for about 2 hours in a warm place.
Knock back the air from the risen dough, then cut it into 12–16 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place them on lightly oiled baking trays and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature
– about 220°C fan (240°C/465°F/Gas 9).
Lightly flour the worktop. Roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape that is not too thin. Cut out a circular shape (I used a small upturned cup to get the right size and shape) from the narrower top end of each bread and brush egg wash over the surface. Sprinkle all over with sesame seeds. The breads will need to be cooked one at a time. Lay one bread on a baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes. It is important to use your own judgement here as all ovens vary – keep checking the breads during baking and take them out when they have turned golden brown and have puffed up. The baked breads will keep for a day or two if stored in an airtight container.
Recipe and images extracted from Palestine on a Plate: Memories from my mother’s kitchen by Joudie Kalla, photography by Ria Osbourne, published by Jacqui Small (£25).

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