Lets talk Turkey
Who has been to Turkey here? How gorgeous is that place? I Loved it! Admittedly, my sojourn there was a long time ago but I still remember it as if it was yesterday…. I’ll never forget the Turkish bath I visited which was run by women for women only. I remember going in to this beautiful circular room with marble walls and a beautiful stained glass domed ceiling. At intervals, all around the walls were taps which had hot water running out of them constantly. Waiting for us were middle-age women built like sumo wrestlers. Snug undies covered their big bellies, the tops of them tucked under the bands of their 1950s brasiers. They all stood in a circle in the middle of the room, each assigned a job. The first washed and massaged your hair, then she tossed you to the next who massaged your neck and shoulders, and so on. We were passed like rag dolls from one woman to the next who worked your body as if it were dough. By the time they were through with you, you felt kneaded to perfection and ready to rise to any occasion. I have NEVER experienced anything as satisfying before or since unless it was that other Turkish delight I have to tell you about TURKISH BREAD. It was a part of my staple diet. I had Turkish bread with cheese for breakfast, toasted Turkish bread with cheese for lunch and toasted Turkish bread with melted cheese for dinner and I never tired of it. It was heavenly. The only thing better than a Turkish massage , sandwiched in between a breakfast of Turkish bread and Turkish bread lunch would be having a Turkish massage WHILE having a toasted Turkish bread cheese sandwich. And if I could give you that, I would, but alas I can’t, I can, however, bring you the Turkish bread experience. I have finally found a recipe by this guy called Rono, what a character, let’s just say Saturday night fever is still alive, and rocking. He does though have a mean Turkish bread recipe and it is seriously to die for. There is NO KNEADING involved just some of your time and worth every min…
This recipe makes two loaves
for step 1
200 mls warm water
120 g plain flour
10g dry yeast
For step 2
200mls warm water
360g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
40g plain flour
20mls cold water
50mls boiling hot water
1 egg yellow
Line a large baking tray with baking paper
In a large bowl mix flour and yeast together. Stir in water until mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
Cover in plastic wrap and leave for approx 20 min until it bubbles and doubles in size.
This is called making a polish, and allows the yeast to develop in a wetter (and therefore more yeast friendly) environment before adding salt (which kills yeast).
Stir yeast and flour mixture. Stir in warm water, then stir in flour and salt. Stir to combine and until dough is smooth and free of any lumps. Dough should be sticky. Cover in plastic wrap set aside to rise for 20min.
Preheat oven to 250C
Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work bench. Divide dough into two even portions. Gently, with floured hands, create a round shape from each portion.
Using your hands, very gently stretch one of the dough portions into a rectangle shape approx. 32 cm long.
Transfer to the dish lined with baking paper, and repeat with second dough portion.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise for another 20 min. In the meantime prepare the egg wash.
In a small bowl, mix flour and cold water until combined. Stir in boiling water.
Stir in egg yellow.
Brush bread with egg wash. Using your fingers, gently dent the dough all around, then leaving a space two fingers widths wide from the edge, do a line of dents down the middle of the dough. Sprinkle sesame seed, or nigella seeds or zaatar or just leave it plain.
Place a deep baking dish filled with boiling hot water on the floor of the oven. Put bread in the oven and bake for 15-20 min max.