„EKMEK“ or ordinary white bread is a speciality which is eaten on a daily basis in it's native Turkey. It comes in various shapes (plait, flat, ring, etc…) and with many different toppings (sesame or poppy seeds, egg-glaze, olive oil-glaze, etc…).
In Turkey, bread is the foundation of every meal and it holds an important place in people’s lives. Baking is seen as a divine art; Adam who has learnt how to make bread from the Archangel Gabriel is the Patron Saint of bakers. It is then natural to find bakeries in every neighborhood so that the blessed food can be supplied to every family.
“EKMEK” is a light and soft olive oil-enrichened bread very much like it’s Italian cousin “Foccacia”.
With this recipe, I’m sure sure that all of you, unconditional bread lovers, will enjoy the unique taste of “EKMEK BREAD” as if you were in Turkey!…
The following recipe was taken and adapted from Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno’s “Ultimate Bread” (see review).
Makes one loaf
1 Tsp Light runny honey
300ml Water, tepid
2 Tsp dried yeast
500g Strong or plain white flour
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tbs Virgin olive oil, plus extra to coat and glaze
1. Stir the honey into 150ml of the water in a bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast. Leave for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted liquid.
2. Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the yeasted water to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, then leave to “sponge” until frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.
3. Pour the remaining water, holding back about half, and the olive oil into the well. Mix in the flour. Stir in the reserved water, as needed, to form a firm, moist dough.
4. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes.
5. Put the dough in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat evenly with the oil; cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Knock back, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, use your hands to flatten the dough into a round, 23cm (9in) across and 2.5cm (1in) thick. Place on a floured baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Leave to prove until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
7. Brush the dough with olive oil. Use the blunt edge of a knife to make four parallel indentations across the dough, then four more indentations in the opposite direction to make a criss-cross pattern, leaving a 2.5cm (1in) border around the edge.
8. Bake at 220°C (425°F) in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath. Sprinkle with extra oil, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
If you shape the dough in order to make 11cm (4.5in) diameter buns, then those breads will be perfect "Hamburger Buns".
The flattened bread is the most spread way “Ekmek” is presented. It has checkboard cuts on it’s top and is brushed with olive oil previous to it’s baking.
Eat “Ekmek” as a main course with “Baba Ganoush”*, “Hummus”*, cheese (especially Feta) or for the breakfast with jam and any spread of your choice. You can also eat it as an accompaniment to meat stews.
*Those recipes can also be found on this blog.
(Plaited Ekmek Bread -Pic by Rosa www.rosas-yummy-yums.blogspot.com)
(Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul -Pic by Hakan Guney www.trekearth.com)
(Flat Ekmek Bread -Pic by www.muratun.com.tr)