Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bread Bread Bread

We were standing outside our turkish class during one of our hourly breaks, bathed in cigarette smoke rising from the crowd of (mostly) European students. My German and Danish friends were looking at me like I was dumb. 'Of course you can make homemade bread. its so easy.'

Tina had casually said that she made some bread the night before while waiting for her fiance to get home (jobs in Istanbul can be incredibly demanding...) Kasper said he used to make it in college to save money. I thought it was a holiday treat. my god, it takes a whole day!

When I asked for the recipe Kasper, in his usual 'of course' attitute, said its just enough flour and water so its the right amount sticky plus some yeast. Tina, thankfully, is more thorough and sent me her recipe over facebook.

Here's the beautiful part; its a one-loaf recipe. so it takes ten minutes to mix, a few to knead, 45 minutes to rise (repeat) and bake it for a little more. On my current jet-lagged 6:30am wake-up schedule, its ready by the time mom makes coffee!!!

Much love to Tina for the recipe!!!, and Sezen's mom (who will probably never know this exists) for teaching the the turkish version! (Turkish in parenthesis when I can :) )

500g flour (un)
- I use about 4c unbleached flour, and 1 c whole wheat flour, all sifted
- King Arthur brand is best! and 100% employee owned...
2 tsp yeast (maya)
1.5 large cup of warm water
1 tsp salt (tuz)
1 tsp sugar (sheker)
3 tbs olive oil (zeytin yagi)

and some extra flour for kneading
note: if you have a mixer with the right attachments you dont need to knead because it will do it for you. just add a little flour to the top before you let it rise

*mix flour and salt
(im not sure sifting the flour helps, but all my bread books use it as a standard)
*dissolve yeast in warm water and add sugar
- stir in the yeast until it forms a thick, frothy look on the top
*put a well in the dry mixture and pour oil around the sides of it (not in the well)
*pour the wet mixture in the well and stir it all together
*when it becomes one slightly sticky mass clean off some counter space and sprinkle generous flour on the surface.
*dump the dough onto the counter and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes
(the air in bread is created by the living yeast which creates gas. Kneading the dough activates the stretchy (gluten) properties of the flour so that it can hold these bas bubbles in, making the bread fluffy)
*Let rise for about 45 minutes
A warm, draft free place is best for rising. I found
that an oven works best (NOT turned on). Cover the dough with
a cloth first. The Turkish woman who taught me put it
in the sun, but I thought that was maybe too hot,
especially considering we were on the
Mediterranian in summer...

*Punch the dough down and shape.
Can make small loafs, one big loaf... whatever. But
make sure to watch that the baking time
matches the shape you make

(ie: if its smaller loafs, shorter baking time, etc.)

*Put in the oven at 130 degrees for 10 minutes
My oven only goes down to 170...
*Wet the top of the loaf
*Set oven to 230 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes

The time depends on the amount of whole wheat you used, what shape/thickness your loaves have, etc., so
watchit as it bakes!!!
If you want a softer crust, brush the top with something oily (shortening, butter, whatever) and cover it for a while. If you want a crispy crust just let it air cool.
*To give it a crispier finish, up the oven to 340 degrees and leave it for another 20-30 minutes.

Enjoy it with some home made butter on mom's porch!!!

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