Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Barbari & Beyaz Penir makes the Turkish Breakfast!

So, as one might have guessed from the title that I made Barabri! And we also found Beyaz Penir (Turkish white cheese made from sheep's milk that tastes similar to feta cheese). I'm so excited that I had to write a smaller entry just to share!

The cheese adventure:

So we are lucky to be surrounded by two Middle Eastern markets. One of them is a chain branch that started in Orlando called Apna Bazaar that has been here for years (they're down the road). Then last year, another one opened in Boynton Beach along our shopping route, Samara Supermarket. Apna is mostly Pakistani/Malaysian/Indian with some Middle Eastern items with halal meats (which we buy because they are free-roaming/range, no hormone added, natural meats from local farms). Samara is a Middle Eastern grocery.

I've always disliked feta. I hated the briney taste and the texture and the way it looks. Greek was so salty and bitter that my tongue would burn. Ugh! Then I went to Turkey and met my husband and discovered the deliciousness of Turkish feta. Yes, there's a brine, but it's not a sodium bomb and the texture is semi-firm, somewhere in between a mozzarella and crumbling Greek  yet it holds so very well. Came back to the states (sigh) and my husband disliked Greek also. So our hunt began.

Apna sells a variety of Egyptian feta, which is absoloutly intolerable. The texture is perfect, but I did not think there was anything saltier than Greek. I was wrong. Then the guys at Samara told me that if there's something I would like for them to carry, just let them know. Months ago, I asked for Turkish cheeses. Then we went last week and looked in the cheese fridge and saw *cue angels singing* Turkish feta! I snatched it. Now if they only bring kaşar cheese (hard, stringy pale yellow cheese made from sheep's milk - tastes like a cross between Parmesan and provolone), then I'd be one happy lady!

So last night, I toiled until I made Barbari and it was just the greatest completment to Turkish feta and therefore, we decided to have our weekly Turkish breakfast just a few days early. :) Bon Apetit!

So, Rebekah, what comprises a Turkish breakfast? Well, everything you see here: eggs (soft boiled), fresh sliced tomato, cucumber, olives, Beyaz Penir and bread. Now there are other things that we have no access to...yet!: Sour cherry preserves and kaşar cheese. And one more thing that is optional that takes a long time to make, red lentil soup. Together it makes a one hearty, healthy breakfast that is so filling and delicious. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013


Well, it happened. I figured out how to make bread. FINALLY!

Sad part is that I cannot enjoy this with dad. It was the one baking adventure we encountered and failed miserably at. After all these years, I could not believe how easy it was.

First attempt.

This is a 3 cup batch that makes 3 small baguettes/2 medium/1 large. Instead of doing a boule I chose this shape because my husband and I like to make veggie subs.
Second attempt

Experimented with garlic loaves and at this point I was working on the salt amount.

Fourth attempt

3 cup batch makes 8 rolls. By now, the got the salt down, added poppy seeds to the tops and figured out the baking time.

I also experimented making Barbari bread (also known as Tabrizi [-i = from city of Tabriz] bread {where my husband was born}). I can use the same bread recipe but the only drawback, the bread dough method I use is the wet dough method so it's like elastic. Tried it a couple of times without much luck, but I'm going to try. :) But I really like making rolls!

So why bake your own bread when you can buy?
1. Well, it was a goal.
2. After I realized how much bread my husband consumes, and he's used to fresh bread, after reading the labels of the so-called "artisan fresh" bread in the stores, I was flabbergasted at the amount of ingredients. When did bread have 12 ingredients, many of them that I cannot pronounce?? There's supposed to be 4: flour, salt, yeast, water! Since we've eliminated a lot of processed foods, eating everything as fresh as possible, the ease of making my own fresh bread was one obstacle that we overcame. Thankfully, it was stupid easy! :)
3. Cost. Instead of paying $2-$6 per loaf of "fresh" bread in the stores. Making them only costs us $0.88 per 2 medium loaves or 8 rolls. Can't beat that!

Until next time, and yes, I will be writing more!