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Help needed to create a process for fatayer dough

hamrahs's picture

Help needed to create a process for fatayer dough

I make Lebanese hand pies, called fatayer, and am trying to incorporate some organic, freshly ground flour into the dough for flavor ( My new combination of flours is causing my dough to overproof in the fridge overnight and I’d love it if some more experienced bakers could help me hone my process. I have successfully used the overproofed dough and it comes out with fine flavor, but I don’t like working with it as much because the uniformity of my pie shape is not consistent now and the color of the baked pies isn’t as rich and lovely. 

My considerations

  • I have to make my dough one day and use it the next - I work in a shared kitchen and have a few constraints like this
  • My process thus far that led to the ideal product were:
    • make the dough and knead it in the machine until it forms a nice ball with very little dough left on the sides of the bowl
    • let it rise for 1 hour
    • portion it into 40 g balls
    • stick it in the walk in cooler overnight
    • Bring in out of cooler the next morning and let it warm up a bit
    • roll it, fill it, bake it

My current recipe

  • 10 g active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 c water
  • 90 g Farmer Ground organic all purpose flour 
  • 300 g organic all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c EVOO

 Can you please help? Is there a way to hone my process so I can use fresh flour without the dough overproofing? Should I knead the dough longer? Let it rise less before putting it in the cooler? Stick it in the cooler en masse and portion it the next morning after it comes out of the cooler? 



Bob S. posted some great info in his Overproofed! Post that is useful.  (pasted below)

So, it is established that over-proofing causes excessive loaf volume. But what about collapse? Offered below are two quotes from Baking Science and Technology by E. J. Pyler:

“Overproofing is recognized by loaves possessing pale crust color, coarse grain, poor texture, unsatisfactory keeping quality and undesirable flavor caused by excessive acid development. In the case of green or weak flours, it also results in poor loaf volume brought about by a collapse in the oven.” (Second edition, p 676)

Green flour is flour that has been freshly milled.

“Freshly milled flour that has not received artificial maturing treatment will generally give variable baking results and produce bread that is inferior in volume, texture, and grain to bread made from the same flour after a period of storage.” (Second edition p 352)


1) Fully developed dough made with strong flour will cause excessive volume if over-proofed.

2) Using weak flour (such as all-purpose) when strong flour is called for may cause collapse if a loaf is over-proofed.

3) Freshly milled (or “green”) flour may give inconsistent results. Over-proofing is likely to cause collapse in the oven.

4) Storage (under the proper conditions) improves the baking quality of flour.

5) When using freshly milled flour, due care should be exercised to avoid over-proofing.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I think if it's overproofing, try reducing the yeast?..

hamrahs's picture

Thanks, Ilya, that's definitely something I will try.

Isand66's picture

If you are using commercial yeast I would not let the dough sit-out and proof for an hour.  Just put it directly in the refrigerator.  I would also check the temperature of your refrigerator.  If it's too warm that could be causing your problem.  I use freshly ground grains in all of my bakes but I also use a natural starter so it's slightly different.  When I have used yeast I always put it directly into the refrigerator.  You can also experiment with using less yeast as mentioned above.

Good luck.


hamrahs's picture

That is good advice -- I will try reducing the yeast and putting it directly into the fridge once the dough is formed. Thank you!


syros's picture

Hi Hamrahs - I'm Lebanese and make these all the time. You are using way  too much yeast for the amount of flour. When I make mine, this is the recipe I use:

625 g of organic all purpose flour

8 grams of instant or active dried yeast. If I use active - I activated it with a teaspoon or so of sugar in about 1 1/2c of warm water

9 grams of sea salt or kosher salt

1/3 c of vegetable or EVO or slightly more if I think it needs it.

2-3 Tablespoons of Yogurt - which is optional

Water as needed.

I don't over knead it.

I oil a bowl and dough and cover it for about an hour or so and then in the fridge. I only shape it in the morning and let it come to room temperature after shaping.

I don't use freshly ground flour so I cannot attest to that. If you switch to a stronger flour like a bread flour that may help but your ratio of flour to yeast is too low and that's a lot of yeast.

You can PM me if you want more help. I make sfeeha and spinach and the cheese fatayers all the time. One thing you can eliminate the yogurt for the stuffed fatayers but for the cheese ones, I like the texture with it.

Let me know




hamrahs's picture

Thank you so much, Sharon! I haven't tried yogurt in the dough (although my meat fatayer filling uses it) but I'd love to make a batch with it to see how it impacts the texture.

I will definitely cut down on the amount of yeast I'm using and from there will see how the fresh flour reacts. 

Out of curiosity, what cheese are you using in your cheese fatayer? 


syros's picture

Hi Julie

I use a two year old white cheddar; feta cheese and an aged orange cheddar extra sharp spread. I puree a medium onion and add it with a large beaten egg.

I use at least 12 ounces of the white cheddar, 8 oz of feta and usually at least half or the whole container of the sharp orange cheese - 4- 6 ounces. I then add a couple of tablespoons of flour to hold it together.

In order to save time and energy, the cheese mixture is also made in advance and in fridge and then taken out to warm up to room temp. I sprinkle sesame seeds on top after spreading the cheese on the dough. My fatayers are about 6 inches and not too thick. They will puff up during baking.

You don't have to use the mixture from my recipe. Some use mozzarella but I prefer using cheddar and feta. Ask away

hamrahs's picture

Oh, this sounds marvelous. Yum!

syros's picture

I would also add the importance of the dough being completely room temperature when filling and baking. Then you can either brush with oil or butter before baking or after. Everyone has their own method. I give a light brushing of butter after they come out of the oven. 

hamrahs's picture

Yes, I've had trouble in the past because I'm often in a rush in the morning and try to work with the dough when it hasn't warmed up properly.  I need to SLOOOOOW down! Thanks again.