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BREAD - EKMEK


This is a simple sourdough bread for a standard, everyday loaf which is the foundation of Turkish eating habits. It can be shaped into oblongs, circles, long tubes, plaits or small rolls, glazed with egg yolk or milk, sprinkled with sesame, poppy or nigella seeds, or just left plain. It is usually made with strong white flour, to which a little whole meal flour is sometimes added.


Make 1 Loaf

½oz/15g fresh yeast, or ¼oz/7g dried yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
4fl oz/125ml lukewarm water
1lb/450g strong white flour
1-teaspoon salt
6-8fl oz/175-250ml cold water
scant teaspoon olive or sunflower oil.  
Preheat oven to 425F/Mark 7/220C


·  Cream the yeast with sugar in the lukewarm water until frothy.

·  Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and the cold water. Draw in a little of the flour from the sides to make a smooth batter. Sprinkle a dusting of flour over the surface of the batter, cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and leave the batter to sponge for about 20 minutes. Remove the cloth, draw in the rest of the four, and knead well. Continue to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

·  Pour the oil in the bottom of a bowl, flip the bread dough over in it, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and leave the dough to prove for a few hours until doubled in size.

·  Punch the dough down, knead it again on a light floured surface and mould it into the shape you want. Place it on a  floured baking tray and leave to prove again under a damp towel. Once it has doubled in size, you can score it with a sharp knife, glaze it, and sprinkle it with a variety of seeds. For a simple plain loaf just brush a little milk over the surface to harden the crust.

·  Bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes, then turn it upside down and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. It should sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Leave to cool a little on a wire rack.

 

Village Bread – Koy Ekmegi

Village bread is basically a solid, round or oblong, whole meal loaf baked in an outdoor clay oven. In southeastern Anatolia it is sometimes spiked with coriander, fennel or caraway seeds.

Makes 1 Large Loaf

½oz/15g fresh yeast, or ¼oz/7g dried yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
3-4fl oz/100-125ml lukewarm water
1lb/450g wholemeal flour
8oz/225g strong unbleached flour
1-teaspoon salt
12-14fl oz/350-400ml cold water
Scant teaspoon olive or sunflower oil  

 

·   Preheat oven to 425/Mark 7/220C

·   Cream the yeast with the sugar in the lukewarm water. Leave to froth.

·   Sift the flours and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast ad most of the water. Draw in some of the flour from the sides to make a loose paste, sprinkle a little of the flour over the surface, cover the bowl with a damp cloth, an leave to sponge for 20-25 minutes. Now knead the mixture together, adding extra water or flour if necessary, into a smooth ball. Continue to knead it on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Pour the oil into a clean bowl. Roll the dough in it, cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it to prove until doubled in size.

·   Punch the dough down and knead again on a lightly floured board. Mould it into a flat circle and place on a floured baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and leave to double in size. Then place it in the oven for 35-40 minutes. If it doesn’t sound hollow when you tap the bottom, return it to the oven, upside-down, for 3 more minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

 

Corn Bread – Misir Ekmegi

Also a village bread, the yellow corn bread is particularly popular in central and eastern Anatolia. It is often made in the same way as koy ekmegi, and when stale it is reconstituted in soup. The corn meal is kneaded with water until elastic, and divided into four or five balls. These are then rolled flat, brushed with melted butter, folded into envelopes, then folded again into small packages and dipped in flour, before being rolled out again into circles or squares. These flat breads are cooked quickly on both sides on a hot tava or griddle, spread with melted butter, then browned on both sides until crisp.

 

Makes 1 Big Round Loaf

½oz/15g fresh yeast, or ¼oz/7g dried yeast
3-4fl oz/100-125ml lukewarm water
½ teaspoon sugar
8oz/225g strong unbleached flour
1lb/450g strong unbleached flour
1-teaspoon salt
12-14fl oz/350-400ml cold water
Scant teaspoon olive or sunflower oil

 

·   Follow the method of village bread.

 


Simit


Sesame Brad Rings


Bread rings rolled in sesame seeds, simit are sold in every bakery and on every street. The cries of the simitci reverberate in the streets as he makes his wake through the crowds with a tray of fresh simit on his head. A popular breakfast and snack bread, often eaten on its own, simit can be made with sweetened spongy dough or with this simple bread dough. 

Makes 6-8 Simit

1/2oz/15g fresh yeast, or 1/4oz/7g-dried yeast
½ teaspoon
¼ pint/150ml lukewarm water
1lb/450g strong unbleached flour
1-teaspoon sugar or honey
1 tablespoon sunflower oil or melted butter
1 egg, beaten
A flat bowl filled with roasted sesame seeds
A few drops olive or sunflower oil

 

·  Preheat oven to 400F/Mark 6/200C

·  Cream the yeast with ½ teaspoon of guar in a little of the lukewarm water. Leave to froth.

·  Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl and stir in the tablespoon of sugar. Make a well in the centre and our in the yeast, oil and the rest of the water, using your hands to draw the flour in from the sides. Add more water if necessary. Knead well on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Roll the ball of dough in few drops of oil in a bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave to prove for a few hours until doubled in size.

·  Now punch the dough down, knock it back into a ball and divide it into 6-8 pieces. Knead each piece and shape it into a ring, approximately 7in/18cm in diameter, brush it with the beaten egg and dip it into the bowl of sesame seeds. When you have made them all, place them on an oiled baking sheet, cover with a damp towel and leave to relax for 15-20 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden-brown and sound hollow when taped on the bottom.

 

Pide

Soft Bread Pouches


Large rounds or ovals or hollowed, knobbly, spongy pide, baked in hot ovens, are served to soak up all kinds of food. They should be short in texture, with a slightly crispy crust, but can be varied according t personal taste. A swift bake in the high oven produces a crisp crust with a hollow pouch, whereas a longer back in a lower oven produces softer bread with a barely discernible pouch good for mopping up garlicky olive oil a yogurt. Small, thin pouches are filled with grilled kofte and onions and eaten as a snack. To keep them soft and warm, place a dray towel over them when fresh out of the oven, and if they need to be resuscitated before eating sprinkle them with water and place them in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Makes 2 Medium-Sized or 1 Large Pide

½oz/15g fresh yeast, or 1/4oz/7g dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4-6fl oz/125-175ml lukewarm water
1lb/450g strong unbleached flour
1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons thick yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1-tablespoon nigella seeds (p.220)
A few drops olive or sunflower oil

 

·  Preheat oven to 450F/Mark 8/230C

·  Preheat 2 baking sheets

·  Cream the yeast with sugar in a little of the lukewarm water. Leave to froth.

·  Sift the flour with the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast, the tablespoons of oil, they yogurt and the rest of the water, using your hands to draw in the flour from the sides and work the mixture into a sticky dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead until the dough becomes a pliable and leaves the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll it in the few drops of oil in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and leave to prove until doubled in size.

·  Punch the dough down, knead it again and divide it into two pieces. Knead each piece well. Flatten them out with the heel of your hand, and stretch them into large uneven rounds or ovals, creating a thick lip around the edges. Indent the dough with your fingertips.

·  Lightly oil two hot baking sheets and place them in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Place the pide on them, brush with a little beaten egg, and sprinkles the nigella seeds over the top. Bake them for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden with a crisp crust around the edges. Transfer them to a wire rack. If you want them to retain their soft, spongy texture all dray, wrap them in foil or in a dry towel while still warm.

 

 

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