For my first recipe on this blog I thought I’d go for a Turkish snack that is perfect with your afternoon coffee or better yet, a cup of herbal tea. I’ve never been to Turkey, but from what I understand, there are tons of different types of poğaça. They come in different shapes and with different fillings.

The type I have made is called “çiçek poğaça” (please don’t ask me to pronounce that!), a small bread filled with white cheese and topped with nigella seeds and an olive. The word “çiçek” means flower, as the bread looks like a little flower.

What I love about this recipe is that for me, it stands as a testament to multiculturalism. I am an English girl, living in Switzerland, sharing a Turkish recipe from a Macedonian woman. I spend 2 mornings a week learning German with women from all round the world, and what unites most of us is food. We love talking about each culture’s food.

This atmosphere and the spirit of sharing is what makes these poğaça special to me. I’m very grateful to the lovely woman who brought these in one day, as they’re not only a crowd-pleaser, but also really fun to make!

Before I go on, here’s a quick note on the filling. Turkish white cheese is creamier and milder than feta, and I much prefer it. It can be bought in Turkish shops, but if your area doesn’t really have them, feta is fine. Parsley is also a traditional ingredient, but I didn’t fancy using it.

Also worth noting it that I used duck eggs when I made these. We have 2 ducks and the female lays more eggs than we can ever use. The yolk is bigger and so my poğaça are more yellow than yours will be.

I used this recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table, but my process of shaping it is different.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 7g dry yeast (1 sachet)
  • 425g all-purpose plain flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 85g plain (whole milk) yoghurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 120ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 120ml warm milk

For the filling:

  • 150g Turkish white cheese (or feta cheese)

For the topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Black olives – 1 per poğaça
  • Nigella seeds to decorate
  1. Heat the milk so it is warm (but not too hot) and combine with the dried yeast. Wait 5 minutes for it to get foamy.
  2. Mix together flour and salt and make a well. Add olive oil, yoghurt, beaten egg and the foamy yeast mixture to the flour.
  3. Stir together briefly till it starts to come together, then switch to kneading. Knead for a few minutes. When the dough is soft and elastic, transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm, draught-free area to rise for 1 hour.
  1. While the dough is rising, take the time to prepare the filling. If it’s just white cheese, you just need to crumble it. Add Parsley if you are using it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. When the dough is risen (double its size) it’s time to start shaping. Divide the dough into approximately 12 pieces.
  1. Roll one of the pieces into a ball shape and roll out, not too thinly. Spoon a small amount of filling onto the dough and fold upwards. Pinch together at the top and gently pat the dough down to seal it.
  2. You should be left with a ball filled with feta. Slightly flatten it so it forms more of a disk shape, and use a pair of scissors to make 8 incisions. Place this on your baking tray.
  3. Repeat the steps 4 and 5 with the rest of the dough.
  4. When all are filled and spaced evenly apart (approximately an inch distance), brush them with a beaten egg.
  5. Sprinkle with nigella seeds (or sesame if you prefer) and make a small indentation in the middle of the flower, using your finger. Press the olive into this indentation.
  6. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes.
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