Somun ekmek (literally translated as loaf of bread) refers to a popular soft and fluffy Turkish bread. It’s really easy to replicate at home and the perfect loaf to dunk into soup or make grilled cheese sandwiches with!
- 8g active dry yeast (2 tsp)
- pinch of sugar
- 300ml water (1 ¼ cup)
- 420g strong bread flour (3 cups)
- 8g fine sea salt (1 tsp)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Activate the yeast. Slightly warm up 2 tbsp of the water, keeping in mind that the liquid shouldn’t be hotter than 42°C (108°F). Whisk in the yeast and sugar and keep whisking until the yeast has entirely dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the yeast sit for 15 min.
- Make the dough. Gently heat rest of the water until lukewarm. Again it shouldn’t be hotter than 42°C (108°F). Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Pour in the liquid and the yeast and use the fingers of one hand to mix the ingredients together. If you can’t gather in all the flour, add a little bit of water and mix again until just combined.
- Knead the dough. Tip the dough over a floured work surface. Knead the dough energetically for 10 min. Eventually, it will become less sticky and smoother. Sprinkle more flour over the work surface if the dough really gets stuck. Put the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Place the bowl in a warm spot. I like to heat the oven to 50°C (120°F) for a couple of minutes before turning the oven off and placing the bowl in there. Leave the dough to rise for 1h.
- Shape the ekmek. Fold the dough in on itself several times until all the air is knocked out of the dough. Heavily flour your work surface and place the dough on it. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle, with one of the long sides facing you. Fold one of the long sides into the middle of the rectangle. Then fold the other long side on top of the other fold. Flip the loaf over so that it is seam-side down. Rock the loaf gently until it’s roughly 35cm-long (14 in), applying a little more pressure on the ends to form the oval shape. Delicately place the loaf on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Cover the loaf with a damp tea towel and leave it to prove for 15 min.
- Prepare the oven and score the loaf. Preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F) while the bread is proving. Place a small roasting tray on the bottom shelf of the oven. Boil 500ml (2 cups) of water using a kettle or a pan. Pour it into the roasting tray. When the bread has proved for 15 min, use a very sharp knife or razor blade to slash the top of the loaf lengthwise on the left or right side, cutting about 1,5cm deep (½ in) at a 30° angle. Spray a little bit of water all over the loaf.
- Bake. Place the baking tray in the oven on the middle shelf. Lower the temperature to 220°C (430°F)* and bake the ekmek for 30 min or until the crust is golden brown. To make sure the bread is done, hold it in a tea towel or using oven mitts and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow then your ekmek is ready! Place it on a cooling rack and leave it to cool completely before slicing.
* 200°C (390°F) if you use a convection oven
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 1.7g
Keywords: turkish bread, soft loaf, easy bread baking recipe