It is so nice to be back into the kitchen, making dough, cleaning my house and filling up my fridge. I can not believe I had only cereal and milk for almost ten days in the house!
I decided to get a good start in June with this Tahini Bread. We use tahini often in Turkish cooking, sometimes in places you might not even think such as sauce for grilled or baked fish. The taste is rather bland, so it pairs up well with either sweets or sour additions like lemon. When I was growing up, my mom used to mix some tahini with molasses and would make us eat a couple of tablespoons before we left for school in winter time. Her argument was that it would make our blood “stronger”! I guess she was just trying to beef us up so that her fragile kids would not get sick so often!
This tahini bread is usually sold in the bakeries, and we do not make it at home in my family. The ones in bakeries are flatter than this one, so I wonder if they make it with much less dough or not use yeast at all. I will be investigating when I am in Turkey next time!
In my spread, I did not use sugar (the optional ingredient in the spread) and I was perfectly fine eating it with cranberry-walnut chutney. However Jay felt that sugar was the missing thing, so I am adding it as optional ingredient and will try his way next time. As an alternative, you can also make the dough sweeter and not sprinkle sugar over tahini.
Now that I have a big bottle of tahini sitting in the pantry, the sauce for grilled fish is in order. We are gearing up for a fish grilling-kabab making- mojito drinking-crowd gathering-mosquito hating long summer! Yes!!!
Happy Summer, everyone!
Adapted from Gonul Candas’s cookbook in Turkish. Makes two 8-inch diameter bread.
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 22 to 24 oz all purpose flour
- 1 cup of tahini
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil(optional – in case tahini is too thick to spread, you can thin it with oil)
- 1/2 cup finely grounded walnuts
- 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar (optional)
- Egg wash: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
- Sesame seeds
1. Combine yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar and warm water in a small bowl. Cover and wait for 10 min for it to foam.
2. Sift the flour.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 egg, yogurt and salt. Add yeast mixture, stir to combine. Start adding the flour gradually, mix and knead until you reach a soft, supple dough. Cover and wait until it doubles in size.
4. Divide the dough into two section. Stretch one piece with your hands to a 12 inch by 8 inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of tahini over the dough. Make two folds as shown (one horizontally, one vertically), put on a oiled tray, seam side down, cover with plastic wrap. Repeat the same procedure with the second piece. Set them aside for an hour. After 1 hr, put in the fridge for another hour.
5. Take it out of the fridge, roll each piece out to 16-18 inch diameter circle. Spread 1/4 cup of tahini on one piece, sprinkle 1/4 cup of ground walnuts. At this point, if you like this to be slightly sweet, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over tahini and walnuts.
6. Starting from one end, roll the dough into about 1-inch thick log. With back and forth motion, roll and stretch the log to 2 – 2.5 ft length. Hold the log on both ends and twist several times. Starting from one end of the log, circle the log around itself, making it a spiral shape. It should be about 8 inch diameter circle. Cover and let it rest for another half an hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Place the breads on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Finish the breads with eggwash and sesame seeds on top. Bake for 40- 45 minutes or until golden brown.