Antakya style flat breads with feta, za’tar and red pepper paste – Biberli Ekmek
This delicious flat bread with za’atar topping is a speciality from my home town of Antakya and always brings back fond memories. As a youngster, I loved the ritual of preparing the topping and taking it to the local bakery to be baked and with expectation, waiting to pick up our Biberli Ekmek. The baker would always make an extra tiny flat bread with the topping for us to taste – they always smelled mesmerizing and we couldn’t wait to have a bite.
You can make your own za’atar blend with my recipe in this book. Biberli Ekmek is traditionally made with Antakya’s cokelek cheese which is a cross between a mild crumbled feta and a drier form of cottage cheese. Feta cheese will work well. I enjoy this delicious flat bread with a meze spread or just on its own with a cup of tea.
For the dough:
450g/1lb all-purpose/plain flour
7g/1 sachet dried yeast
5ml/1 teaspoon salt
120ml/4fl oz luke warm milk
180ml/6fl oz luke warm water
90ml/3fl oz olive oil
For the topping:
200g/7oz crumbled feta cheese or cokelek
30ml/2 tablespoons red pepper paste, biber salcasi
30ml/2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
10ml/2 teaspoons ground cumin
60ml/4 tablespoons sesame seeds
30ml/2 tablespoons zahtar or za’atar blend
45ml/3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4
Prepare the topping first. Combine the crumbled feta or cokelek, red pepper paste, tomato paste, all the spices, sesame seeds and olive oil. Knead with your hands to blend them well to form a smooth paste. Set the topping aside.
Now make the dough. Combine the flour, dried yeast and salt in a large bowl.
Stir in the warm milk, warm water and olive oil and knead for 3 minutes to form a soft dough. If it gets sticky, drizzle a little more olive oil in your hand to shape the dough, it really helps.
Grease a baking tray with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread the dough as a thin flat bread base, reaching all the edges about 0.25cm/0.09in.
Spread the topping evenly as a thin base over the flat bread. Leave the flat bread with topping on at a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes.
Once the dough has risen, bake in the preheated oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 18-20 minutes.
Let the baked flat bread with topping, Biberli Ekmek to cool down for 15 minutes. Then slice and serve as part of a meze spread or with tea, Turkish cay.
Source: Ozlem Warren