I love Turkish pogacas. I love love love them. Pronounced Po-ah-ja, they are small little breads made with yogurt, butter, and olive oil, and then stuffed with white cheese and herbs. After the demo for CT News 30, I had so much yogurt and cheese that I had to think of how I would use the leftovers. Pogacas immediately came to mind. I already had some butter and oil in my cupboards, as well as parsley and thyme in my fridge.
You might remember that I wrote about pogacas last summer when I returned home from Turkey. One morning when I was staying with my friend Harika, I went downstairs and found her housekeeper making them for breakfast. I had eaten them at the hotel I was staying in before, and was very excited to learn the recipe. Nur was adding the ingredients together, using Turkish coffee cups and the palm of her hand to measure the amounts. I knew that I would forget everything the second I got home, so I tried to translate her measurements into something that I could share later. One small Turkish coffee cup I estimated to be 1/4 cup. The scoop of flour to be about one cup. Although my initial guesses were pretty much on, I have since adjusted the recipe slightly. And these little babies have turned out just fine every time I have made them.
This time around I used a mixture of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, mainly because I did not have enough of the latter. I had to increase the amount of yogurt (which has been adjusted for you in the recipe) and add a drop of water at the end to make the dough come together, but it did become moist and elastic the way I remembered it to be. I also added a bit of Turkish spicy peppers to the feta and herbs, which I think gives it a pleasant kick. You can use red pepper flakes if you do not have the Turkish pul biber.
You can make these in the rustic way I describe below, or use a little kitchen weight to divide up the dough evenly. I weighed each piece of dough to be about 1.5 grams. They also need to have little slits in them. You can tell by the photos that I was undecided about vertical or horizontal slits, so it is up to you. I think I like the horizontal ones better. And finally, if you want to make them a bit fancier, brush them with a simple egg wash made of an egg yolk + drop or so of milk. These make a great breakfast food, but I also think they could be an hors d'oeuvre at cocktail hour.
Whole Wheat Pogaca:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour (unbleached)
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
1 T baking powder
¼ cup butter, softened
1 egg white
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon plain yogurt (can be low-fat)
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup feta cheese or Turkish beyaz peynir (crumbled)
Handful of fresh herbs: Parsley, thyme, dill
Sift the flours, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Mix in the butter, egg white, yogurt, and olive oil.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
Fork mash the herbs into the cheese. You can add some pul biber or hot pepper flakes here also.
Tear off enough dough to make a 2-inch ball and roll out on a floured surface. Cut two parallel slits in the center. Place a dollop of cheese in the center. Bring the edges of the dough up around the cheese and seal shut. Turn the little pogacas upside down so that the slits are facing upwards.
Bake in a 375ºF oven for 15-20 minutes or until light brown and cooked through.