Poğaça is a pastry that reminds me of some of my best memories in Turkey.
It reminds me of the time I was apartment hunting by foot with my fiance and we stumbled upon some of the best poğaça in the city before finding our new home later that week. Also of the time my family came from New Jersey to visit Turkey, and on our trip to Cappadocia, when we were greeted at the hotel with warm poğaça as we waited for our room.
It reminds me of lazy, rainy Saturday mornings in Istanbul, putting on my sneakers and rain coat over my pajamas to run down the street to the closest bakery. And most of all, it reminds me of my everyday life. The mundane acts of walking to the grocery store, to the coffee shop to do work, to the dolmus to commute across the city, and of course to the bakery to pick up some poğaça. Those things that we do in daily life that we never can imagine we will miss until they are gone.
Of all the poğaça I have eaten, there is one that stands out in my mind as being the best, and that is the sade kuru poğaça from Beyaz Fırın in Kadıköy. When you bite into the crispy outer shell, it breaks open to reveal a warm, soft, buttery center. The recipe provided here is my attempt to recreate that poğaça in America.
Makes 12-14 pastries
1 package rapid rise yeast (7 grams)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (30 grams)
3 oz warm milk (90 mL) - I used 1% but whatever you have should be fine
2 sticks + 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened (260 grams)
2 eggs (separate into 1 full egg + 1 egg white; save second yolk for egg wash)
3 oz vegetable oil (90 mL)
1 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
3 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (520 grams)
- Activate the yeast- combine warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Mix and let sit until foamy (about 5-10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the softened butter, 1 whole egg + 1 egg white, vegetable oil, salt, and yeast/milk/sugar mixture. If it is not a uniform mixture at this point, it is okay.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time to the rest of the ingredients. Use your hands to knead together the dough and ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should be as soft as possible with only enough flour so that you can handle it enough to form it into balls. Avoid adding extra flour because it will result in pastries that are hard and crumbly.
- Once you have formed a uniform ball of dough, cover it lightly with a towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Split the dough into 12-14 pieces (if you have a kitchen scale, each piece should weigh about 75 grams/2.7 oz). Roll into slightly flattened balls and place at least 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
- Mix your egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Use a spoon or pastry brush to brush a light layer of egg wash on the top of your pastries. Optionally you may use a fork to make a pattern on the top of the pastries.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve warm with a glass of tea! Share extras with your neighbors or store in an airtight container.