One of my best childhood memories, is when we visit my grand parents in the village. We get up in the early morning hours so we can watch my grandmother mixing the dough and bake the bread in thetannour. She would snatch the bread out the wall of the tannour, paste it with Zaatar oil mixture, fold it and give to us for breakfast. It was and still is the best breakfast ever.
A tannour is a three foot by two foot oven made from a special kind of clay that retains heat. Usually, four to five families will share a tannour, so it is placed in a location convenient for all the families involved. It is usually placed on the ground next to a wall. The space between the tannour and the wall is filled with rocks that are packed smoothly with a special clay.
On baking day, the housewife generally mixes enough dough for at least fifty loaves of bread. While the dough is proofing, she lights the firewood in the tannour. Thetannour is ready for baking when the flame dies down and the wood coals are glowing. Baking in thetannouris usually a collaborative effort with the housewife and her friends. One woman rolls out piece of dough, then passes it to another woman who tosses it on her hands until it reaches the desirable thickness and size, and she in turn passes it to a third woman, who places the loaf on a round cotton pillow. Now comes the delicate part of the operation. Using the pillow on which the flattened dough is placed, this last woman literally tosses the dough onto the hot clay wall inside the tannour, and, amazingly, the dough sticks to the wall. It takes no more than a couple of minutes to have a finished loaf, which is removed with great speed by the woman tending to thetannour itself.