Baking   3 comments

For the last seven or eight years I have tried, off and on, to make my own bread. I’ve succeeded with various flat breads and even made a passable pizza dough occasionally but a properly shaped country style loaf has eluded me. Many of them have turned out like small bricks and nearly as heavy. My lack of a decent bread tin to bake a loaf in has been one of the problems, all I had was a rectangular cake tin with not enough height in the sides but while in Marmaris ten days ago I was taken to a shop selling professional kitchen supplies and equipment. In there I found a small serving tin of the type used in a heated servery in a canteen or self service restaurant. Stainless steel and about ten inches long, five wide and deep. Once I got back home I tried it out, the first was a disaster as the dough was too soft and rose so far it spilled over the sides and had to be cut out of the tin. A little less yeast on the next attempt and it was perfect.

BreadThis is not to say that there is something wrong with the bread produced in Turkey. A wide variety is available here and usually very nice it is too but in winter when the rain is lashing down and I don’t even want to venture out to the next village (where the baker is) the ability, knowledge and desire to make my own is something that I value. The dogs like to get the end crusts too. Another plus is that I can make a good bacon and egg sandwich, most of the Turkish bread is not the right shape for a proper sandwich so I’m winning in more than one way. Now the only thing I have to do is adjust the recipe a little so that I can use the flour ground from the locally grown wheat and I’ll be really happy.

Posted February 3, 2014 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Baking

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  1. Hi Chris, I had to laugh at your bread-making venture — you’re a regular Robinson Crusoe. Here’s my story. In North Cyprus, when I was living in Karmi the urge to make my own “Pound cake” came upon me. I had a gas oven in good shape and I figured with recipes from the Internet I couldn’t go wrong. I love those plain yellow cakes without any icing. They go well with tea. First, I had call in my neighbor to teach me how to turn on the oven (it wasn’t automatic like American ovens) and I was afraid I would blow up the house. Once I’d mastered the mysteries of lighting the oven, I turned my attention to the eggs, butter, sugar and flour. Getting the right mix took a few tries. The first few cakes I made were gooey and soggy in the middle and burnt on the outside. After about three tries, I turned out a fairly passable (and edible) cake. Proudly, I shared it with my neighbors and ate it with relish. A good tip to remember is to use more egg yolks than whites. That way the cake is more dense and chewy. I like it that way. If you only use egg-whites then you get what is called “Angel Food Cake” in the States. It is very light and fluffy, but to my mind, rather tasteless unless it is slathered with some sort of icing. People use chocolate icing in this type of cake. I prefer the eggy, buttery, pound cake, especially when warmed up a bit in the toaster oven. Oh, yeah, don’t forget the vanilla. A drop or two will do.

    I went to a kitchen specialty store n Girne. They are really helping by supplying very high quality kitchen tools. Turkish men, by and large, do not take an interest in cooking, nor in kitchen tools. But in those specialty stores one can get excellent Wusthoff or Victorinix kitchen knives (essential for salad making and cutting up a whole chicken) and high quality pots and pans and peelers and parers. I was held up at Istanbul airport security check once because my suitcase contained daunting looking Chef’s knives that I was carrying from San Jose, California to Karmi. Since I cooked my own food in Karmi, I took a keen interest in cooking tools that made my life easier. The Wusthoff knives are not cheap, but they are well-worth the money and once in a life-time investment especially if you are going to use them your self and are going to take care of them.

    Hey, I have one favor to ask. Can you look around to see if there is a shop which sells high quality Mora woolen blankets? Those are excellent and here in the States blankets have gone the way of the Dodo. Or people buy synthetic ones (made of ground up plastic water bottles).
    I bought one in Girne, a King size one in baby blue but I left it behind. Now I cannot find Mora products in the States. Do look and ask and then let me know.

  2. Your bread looks appetising. Now you need Branston’s pickle, good mature cheddar and couple of sliced toms and lettuce leaves for a ploughman’s sandwich , it is a great idea to use bain-marie type pans to use as a bread tin, especially when you are trying to make English sandwich bread. I bake my own (always sourdough) bread as long as I remember. It is nearly impossible to find right size bread tin in Turkey, couple of months ago I’ve found French made silicon bread moulds in Izmit Carrefour (my home town) but it is not real thing obviously. This time I am bringing my own ones from London. It’s made by Mermaid, hard anodised bread tin, a bit pricey but last forever. Next time I would recommend you to try sourdough bread, it is a different class. Enjoy your bread. Suat

  3. Thank you Suat, Branston, Cheddar, toms and lettuce I have, so might have a ploughman’s tomorrow for lunch. Never made sourdough so I’l give it a try. The tin in the picture is working well but a real one is on my list for when (if ever) I go back to UK. Thanks again for your comment.

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