These olive rolls (açma) are traditional savory pastries served for breakfast in Turkey. They have an amazing soft fluffy texture, and a delicious buttery taste. An açma is a decadent roll with a pillowy interior and the salty olives cut through the richness beautifully. The dough is super easy to make and knead so you should definitely give these buttery & tender olive rolls a go. They also taste delicious stuffed with cheese!
In France, breakfast is usually a sweet affair, and being more of a savory person I was so glad to discover Turkish breakfasts when I moved there. French bakeries don’t sell savory bakes for breakfast. Maybe you’ll spot lonely slices of quiche or pizza, but that’s mainly for lunch.
When I moved back to France I was really craving some salty breakfast pastries so I decided to try my hands at açma. It took me many tries before I was finally happy with the results but here you go. Fluffy buttery olive rolls that taste just as good as from a Turkish bakery, that are easy to make and even easier to eat! I’ll be surprised if you can stop yourself after having eaten just one.
A BREAKFAST TREAT
Nothing compares to the smell when you walked into a Turkish bakery (Unlu Mamüller) in the morning. I dare you not to buy half a dozen of the savory pastries on display! There’s also nothing like biting into a fresh açma, still warm from the wood-fired oven with its buttery taste and soft texture. Açmas are rolls made from a dough akin to brioche. They are eaten for breakfast (so decadent) as part of the traditional Turkish breakfast bread. Or you can just munch on your way to work/school, but I think it is criminal not to sit down to enjoy your açma with a hot cup of çay (Turkish black tea).
There are more popular Turkish savory pastries that you can buy all day long from carts, such as gevrek (aka simit but I lived in Izmir and that’s how they are called there), poğaça or kumru. However, açma was always my favorite because it’s way less dry (looking at you kumru), and so much fluffier, softer and buttery! Plus they come in different flavors so you can’t get bored of them. The most common ones are sade açma (without any filling), peynirli açma (filled with cheese), zeytinli açma (filled with olives), karışık açma (filled with both cheese and olives).
FILL YOUR AÇMA HOWEVER YOU WANT
Put your preferred type of olives and maybe add some of your favorite grated cheese too! This dough is so versatile you can’t go wrong. I absolutely love my traditional olive rolls but sometimes you can’t stop me from spreading tomato paste on the dough and topping it with chopped ham, grated mozzarella and parmesan. Try it! If you need another reason to make this recipe, know that the dough is super easy to knead. It definitely doesn’t stick as much as a brioche dough and you’ll get a soft bouncy dough with relatively little effort.
The rising times might vary according to the temperature, humidity and altitude levels. The times specified in the recipe are only indicative. Each dough is different so keep an eye on yours. After the first rise, the dough is ready when it has doubled in size. After the second rise, the olives rolls should have puffed up (maybe they will have opened and you’ll need to pinch the ends together again). When poked lightly with a finger the dent should pop halfway back out. If the dent entirely pops back out, it is a sign that the olive rolls aren’t proofed enough and you should leave them to rise a bit more.
If you feel like having them for breakfast, Turkish style, and popping them in the oven as soon as you’re up, you have 2 options. After having shaped the olive rolls, place them on the lined baking sheet and either:
- Let them rise in the fridge overnight covered with oiled plastic wrap. Take them out and let them sit on the counter while you preheat the oven. Brush them with egg wash and don’t forget to sprinkle them with the seeds. Bake the olive rolls for 25 min instead of 22.
- Or, do the second rise in a warm environment (step 4) and then carefully place your baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen solid you can place the olive rolls in a freezer bag or a container and keep them in the freezer for 2 weeks. You can bake them straight from the freezer, following the same instructions (don’t forget the egg wash and seeds) but bake them for 5 minutes longer (so 27 min in total).
In both cases, they might not puff up as much as the ‘fresh’ olive rolls but they will be just as fluffy and delicious.
FRESH YEAST vs DRY YEAST
In France you can find fresh yeast very easily. It’s sold in every bakery or you’ll see it in supermarkets, near the refrigerated pastries. I’m not sure if it’s that common elsewhere but no worries, you can definitely use active dry yeast for this recipe. When my sister was in culinary school, there were heated debates on the subject of fresh yeast vs dry yeast. Is fresh yeast really better or are professionals using it just because they always have? Do the bakes rise as much with dry yeast? Are they as fluffy?
Personally, if you hand me over 2 rolls, one made with fresh yeast & the other one with dry yeast, I won’t be able to tell the difference. And I’m pretty sure most people would be like me. So don’t worry about substituting one for the other, as long as you use enough dry yeast and you activate it properly before incorporating it into the dough, you’ll be just fine!
Are you looking for other savory breakfast/brunch ideas? Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Butter bread (Pain au beurre)
- Turkish grilled cheese sandwich (Kaşarlı tost)
- Caribbean buns (Pomme cannelle)
These olive rolls (açma) are Turkish savory pastries traditionally served for breakfast. They are amazingly soft, deliciously buttery and the salty olives cut through the richness beautifully.
- 200ml whole milk (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
- 25g fresh yeast or use 1 tbsp of dry yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 100g butter (3.5 oz), cubed
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 500g all-purpose flour (3 ⅔ cup)
- 12g salt (1 ½ tsp)
- 150g black olives, stoned (1 cup)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp nigella seeds or sesame seeds (or both)
- Make the dough. Heat half of the milk to 32°C (90°F) using a microwave or the stove. Whisk in the yeast and sugar. Cover the bowl or pan with plastic wrap and let the mixture until it gets foamy, about 10 min. Add the butter and the other half of the milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook for just a few minutes until the butter has completely melted. Pour into a bowl so it will cool down faster. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the activated yeast, the butter mixture and the eggs.
- Knead the dough. Using one of your hands, bring the mixture together until a soft dough is formed. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 min, until you have a smooth dough that bounces back when pressed with a finger. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl, put the dough in it, and cover the bowl with a damp dishtowel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, around 1h30 in a warm place. I like to place my dough in an oven preheated to the lowest temperatures for a couple of minutes (and then turned off).
- Chop the olives or use a blender (but only mix them for a few seconds, you don’t want them to turn into a paste). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil your work surface. Punch the dough and fold it in on itself to remove the air. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape them into balls.
- Shape the olive rolls. Working with 1 ball at a time, roll the dough into a rough rectangle, about 15*25cm (6*10 in). Evenly spread 1 tbsp of chopped olives over the dough but leave 1,5cm (½ in) of the edges bare. Tightly roll up the dough starting with one of the longer edges. Roll each of these using the palms of your hands into ropes roughly measuring 28cm (11 in). Twist the rope and pinch the ends together at the top to join them. Place the olive roll on the baking sheet and repeat the process with the other balls. Cover the olive rolls with a damp dishtowel and leave them to rise for 45 min in a warm place.
- Bake the olive rolls. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature for 15 min. Make the egg wash by mixing together the egg yolk, 1 tsp of milk and ½ tsp of salt. Delicately brush the olive rolls and sprinkle the seeds on top. Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C (355°F). Reduce the temperature to 160°C if using a convection oven. Bake the olive rolls for 22 min, until risen and golden brown. Wait for 5 min before transferring them to a cooling rack.
These olive rolls are best eaten slightly warm on the day they are made.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 399
- Fat: 15.9g
Keywords: turkish breakfast, savory pastry, savory breakfast pastry, olive brioche