If you have ever visited Turkey, you surely noticed a specific sweet aroma in the air during early morning hours, and your nose probably guided you to one of the many small and cozy bakeries in this country, where bakers make many types of perfect Turkish bread and other delicious pastry goodies.
With almost each meal in Turkey, there are few slices of fresh bread served, but for the breakfast, bread is the main star on the table, accompanied with just a couple of other things, like olives, feta cheese, sliced tomato and olive oil or butter. And older Greeks told me that this breakfast tradition has been this way for centuries, except that there were not so many types of breads until recently, when handy bakers gradually added various ingredients like nuts, seeds and local aromatic spices to the basic bread mixture, until they come up with their most tasteful combination. And that’s the secret why Turkish bread is so yummy, and almost each loaf of bread is an artisan bread kind.
So, I set one Saturday morning, with a tasty cup of a Turkish coffee in a cozy kitchen of my acquaintance, when she offered me to taste a slice of her famous Turkish bread, fresh from the oven – I accepted with a smile and ate it in a minute. I asked her for a recipe, but as all the experienced bread bakers, she could just give me instructions how to make it, with approximate ingredient measurements, because, this way she learned to do it from her grandmother when she was just a kid. This Turkish bread kind is called the ekmek. So, I tried it once, and again – and again, until I was satisfied with the recipe; although to tell you the truth, similar breads from the original Turkish bakeries were much better. Maybe it was the pleasant sea air, too much sun, or the milky white raki aperitif – who knows… ;) Anyway, if you decide to make this bread, you will need a little more patience while making it, because you will have to wait a couple times for some things to ripe and happen, but as I am told, good things are worth to wait – even if they are small things, like fresh baked bread loaf, or two. You will see when you take first bite that it really pays off to spend a little more time in the kitchen.
Now, this recipe is enough to make two tasteful loafs of Turkish bread – I figured, when I am making bread, that needs more than a half an hour to make it, I will double measurements and enjoy for couple of days in its nice aroma. I hope you will too.
- 900 g / 31 ounce flour (in this recipe 600g / 21 ounces all purpose flour and 300g / 11 ounces buckwheat flour)*
- 550 ml / 18,5 fluid ounces lukewarm water
- 40 g / 1,5 ounces fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- * This is just one way that you can mix all purpose flour to make this bread. You can experiment and see, which ratio and selection of flours suits your taste the best. Also, if you do not have any integral flour at your hand, only the all purpose flour can also be used.
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 smaller bowl
- measuring scale
- wooden spoon
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- kitchen brush
- Mix the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water into a smaller bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes. Put the flour into a large bowl; mix it with salt using wooden spoon. Continue mixing while adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Set the spoon aside, stir the yeast mixture into the flour and knead for about 10 minutes, if necessary add little bit more flour, until the flour mix becomes smooth dough ball. Cover with towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes – depending on a room air temperature.
- Turn out dough onto the lightly floured working surface and divide it in half. Shape each ball of dough into approximately 25 cm/10 inches circle by pressing lightly the dough surface with your hand. Sprinkle one larger baking sheet with few drops of water, line it with parchment paper. Place both parts of dough onto the baking sheet and leave it to rise for additional 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to hot 230°C / 440F.
- Beat the egg lightly, mix it with olive oil and brush it over the surface.
- Now, cover or dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the olive oil and make few shallow indents on the dough surface, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Place the baking sheet with loafs on the center rack and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until it puffs. Reduce the heat to 180°C / 370F, place one additional baking sheet on the lower rack with about 100 ml/ 20 tablespoons of water and bake additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- When done, transfer breads onto the wire rack, cover with towel and leave it to cool.