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Like the focaccia and pizza of its western neighbor, Italy, the ekmek of Turkey is a daily staple. Ekmek (the word simply means bread, but refers to a whole range of simple white breads) can take many forms: a round, dimpled or ridged flatbread; small rolls sprinkled with sesame seeds; baguette-type long loaves; rings, or poppy-seed-coated braids. Since Italy and Turkey are neighbors, we don't mind mixing our cuisines here: we see this served with a big bowl of room temperature caponata, that wonderful melange of eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, onions and olive oil.
3 1/4 cups (14 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional, but recommended)
2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons (1 3/8 ounces) olive oil
1 cup (8 ounces) water
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) sesame seeds OR poppy seeds, for sprinkling
Combine all of the ingredients (except the seeds) and mix and knead them together -- by hand, mixer or bread machine -- till you've made a soft, smooth dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or till it's almost doubled in size.
Divide the dough in half and form it into two balls. Roll each ball to a 3/4-inch-thick circle and let rest for 15 minutes, then pull and stretch each piece by hand to make 8- to 9-inch circles. Place the circles on lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheets and cover. Set them aside to rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
Lightly slash the top of each loaf with a sharp knife or lame (4 or 5 vertical slashes, followed by 4 or 5 horizontal slashes across the top of the vertical ones, creating a grid pattern with approximately 1-inch squares). Brush or spritz the loaves lightly with water, then sprinkle them with the sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Bake the loaves in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Yield: 2 flatbreads, 4 wedges each.
Nutrition information per serving (1 wedge, 84g): 251 cal, 6g fat, 7g protein, 37g complex carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 412mg sodium, 125mg potassium, 10RE vitamin A, 3mg iron, 28mg calcium, 90mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 6, Autumn 2000 issue.