Ka’ak

kaak

Ka’ak is the Arabic word for ‘cake,’ and can refer to several different types of baked goods produced throughout the Arab world and the Near East. A common type of ka’ak is a bread consumed throughout the Near East that is made in a large ring-shape and is covered with sesame seeds. Fermented chickpeas (known as hummus in Arabic and Hebrew) are used as a leavening agent. Widely sold by street vendors, it is usually eaten as a snack or for breakfast with za’atar. In East Jerusalem, it’s sometimes served alongside oven-baked eggs and falafel. Palestinians consider Jerusalem ka’ak to be a unique specialty good, and those from the city or visiting there often buy several loaves to give as gifts.

In Lebanon, ka’ak bread rings are made of sweet dough rolled into ropes and formed into rings and topped with sesame seeds. Instead of za’atar, after baking, it is glazed with milk and sugar and then dried. Tunisian Jews also make a slightly sweet-and-salty version of the pastry, but don’t use a yeast-based dough. In Egypt, usually at wedding parties, a variation made with almonds, known as kahk bi loz, is served.

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