Turkish bread, known as “Ekmek” in Turkish, is a staple in Turkey’s rich culinary landscape, beloved for its soft, fluffy interior and slightly crisp, golden crust. The traditional process of making Turkish bread begins with the preparation of a simple yet precise dough, which typically includes flour, water, yeast, salt, and sometimes a touch of sugar to enhance the yeast’s activity. This dough is thoroughly kneaded, either by hand or with a mixer, to develop gluten, which gives the bread its characteristic chewy texture.
After kneading, the dough undergoes a crucial fermentation process, where it’s left to rise in a warm environment. This stage is vital as it allows the yeast to work, creating tiny gas bubbles that expand the dough and contribute to its light, airy structure. The dough is often punched down and allowed to rise again, further developing its flavor and texture.
Shaping the dough is an art in itself. Turkish bread comes in various shapes, such as round loaves, long batons, or flatbreads, each suitable for different occasions and meals. Before baking, the surface of the bread is often brushed with water or milk and sometimes sprinkled with sesame or nigella seeds, adding a subtle nutty flavor and an appealing look.
Baking is done in a hot oven, where the dough transforms into a beautiful golden-brown loaf with a delightful aroma. The high heat creates a steamy environment inside the oven, helping the bread develop a thin, crackly crust while keeping the inside moist and tender.
The result is a versatile bread that’s deeply embedded in Turkish culture. It’s often served alongside various dishes like kebabs, used to scoop up mezes, or simply enjoyed with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs. The bread’s soft texture makes it perfect for soaking up sauces and gravies, while its mild flavor complements a wide range of foods, from savory to sweet.
In Turkey, bread is more than just a food item; it’s a symbol of hospitality and communal living. Freshly baked Turkish bread, with its irresistible aroma and comforting warmth, is often at the center of family gatherings, signifying togetherness and the simple pleasures of life.
°3 cups all-purpose flour
°1 teaspoon of sugar
°1 teaspoon salt
°1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
°1 cup hot water
°2 tablespoons olive oil
°Sesame seeds (optional)
In bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt also yeast.
Slowly add the hot water and olive oil, and stir until the dough gathers.
Kneading dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes,
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425F (220C).
Punch the dough and shape into a ball. Placing dough on a grease baking sheet.
Make a few incisions on the top of the dough with a sharp knife and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and rings hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from oven and let cool before slicing and serving.
Note: If you do not have an active dry yeast, you can use instant yeast. Just add it with the flour, sugar and salt.