What? Another yeast concoction?
Yes, that's right, I am finally getting my yeast legs, and just like like that little mound of dough that expands and increases in size, more and more my confidence with working with yeast is growing. I've never been happier. I've never had this much repeated success with yeast before, it's unprecedented!
Now I know how it really feels to work that pliable dough in your very own hands, kneading, pulling and stretching those protein strands to elasticity, wow. I know it sounds awfully food-geeky of me but it was really thrilling, I can see why bakers are so willing to get up so early for their craft, this dough-business is definitely worth it.
Okay, okay, I promise I will start to control my elation; I can feel most of you are slowly starting to back away from the crazy girl enthusing fanatically about dough and yeast. I'm dropping the ball of dough and my hands are up in the air.
These new yeasty concoctions are Turkish Gozlemes, which are basically filled flat breads that are folded over and grilled on an oiled hotplate. If you go to any of the Sydney markets or festivals you will have most probably seen them there. They are ubiquitous; every event you attend, they seem to have a stand. And not that I am complaining because it is probably one of the cheapest most satisfying feeds you can get. And the great thing is you can even eat it standing up and there's plenty to share. Not that I have ever had to share, we all seem to understand that we get our own plate and are responsible for polishing off that entire plateful and no one has ever complained about it.
You watch those robust Turkish ladies rolling, folding, grilling those gozlemes, and it is almost mesmerising. Like a well-oiled machine their gozleme production line churns out one flat bread after another for the ravenous mob that still continue to queue up even when the line snakes past a few other other stalls. That picture is all too familiar because it seems to be the same thing at every market at every stall, hordes and hordes of people lining up for these beauties.
Well what if you wanted to make them at home? Skip the middle man, skip the long wait and cavalcade of other flat bread admirers. Can you get the same result, minus the Turkish ladies? My answer is yes indeed.
I never knew how easy it was to make these market favourites at home. Fair enough, the process might be a little labour intensive, as you have to roll out the dough and fill and grill every single one, but it is worth all that effort. And even when the effort expended to make the gozlemes far exceeds the effort it takes to eat them, they are still worth it.
Okay, now that I have told you about the gozlemes, let's have another look at that dough. Isn't she lovely? I still can't believe, it was I that made it.
Spinach and Feta Gozleme
Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas, February 2006
3 cups “00” Italian flour
8g sachet instant dried yeast
pinch of salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1/3 cup olive oil (see tip)
1 bunch English spinach
200g feta cheese, crumbled
lemon wedges, to serve
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar.
Add 300ml tepid water and olive oil and stir with a fork until the liquid has taken up all the flour.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes until elastic and form into a ball.
Place back into the bowl and cover with plastic film.
Stand in a warm place and allow the dough to prove for 30 minutes to an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has proved, cut the ball into four portions. Keep the dough you aren’t using under cover.
Roll each piece of dough out into a circle the size of a large dinner plate.
Place a quarter of the spinach over half of the circle and then top with feta.
Fold the dough over and enclose the filling by pinching the edges together.
Preheat a flat hotplate, or a large frypan on medium-high heat.
Brush the bottom of the gozleme with olive oil and place on the hotplate.
Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the dough becomes crisp and golden brown.
Turn over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cut the gozleme into 6 pieces using a pizza cutter.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Tip: Try rice bran oil instead of olive oil. This versatile oil is high in antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols.