I can’t tell how I was surprised by these mini balls when I first tried the recipe. I had tried several pogaca recipes before this one, but this one was the best ever. The ones I tried before were not as soft as this one. These are so fluffy and tempting that you can even get up in the middle of the night to have one. It is always a great pleasure to see the very delighted face of people when they have the first bite. It is also a wonderful feeling to be sure that they will ask for the second or the third even for the forth. One day, I put some of these to my lunch box and shared them with some colleagues. They ate the pogacas with big eyes, which means they can’t believe how these simple looking balls can be that yummy. And the best thing about these pogacas is that they don’t get stale easily. You will see that they are still so soft even after a week, so I generally make these on Sunday as a preparation for weekdays. I never leave for work without having breakfast and I get up easier knowing that my breakfast is already ready on the table. A cup of milk always goes very well with these magical balls.
Pogaca is a traditional savory pastry in Turkey just like simit and acma. All pastry shops here have these three as their main products. And people stop by these shops on the way to their work early in the morning to buy some of these. Students can find these even at school canteens, so if they can’t have breakfast as soon as they wake up at home, they have simit, acma or pogaca at school with a cup of tea. There are a few versions of pogaca with different fillings like feta cheese, kasar cheese (yellow cheese), potato or mince. It is even possible to find it with no filling. They may be big or small in size in pastry shops, but I prefer making them small as they look more cute in this way.
Now you may be wondering how these pogacas get that soft. The secret is hidden in its dough mixture. This recipe, from a Turkish food magazine called Lezzet suggests using mineral water instead of regular water. It is not known by most people in Turkey that mineral water and soda water are not the same. Mineral water comes from a natural spring whereas soda water is produced in laboratories. Soda water is carbonated, which makes it an artificial drink while mineral water naturally has carbon dioxide in it with lots of minerals. For more information about mineral water, you can visit here. As it is scientifically proven that mineral water is healthy, we can drink or use it in our kitchen without worrying.
For its dough:
- 4 cups flour
- ¼ cup warm milk
- 1 tbsp dry instant yeast
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup mineral water
For its filling:
- Half bunch of parsley
- 1 ½ cup feta cheese
For coating their top:
- 1 egg yolk
- Poppy seeds
Mix sugar and yeast with milk. Combine all the dough ingredients including this milk mixture and mix them well. You can add a little more flour or mineral water if either of them is not enough. You should have a pliable and nonsticky dough. Cover it with a moist cloth and let it rest for 45 min.
Chop the parsley and mix it with cheese.
Take a small piece from the dough and flatten it with your hands. You can do this on the counter. Put a tsp of cheese mixture on it and close it up folding the edges upwards like a bundle. Do the same for the rest of the dough. Place a parchment paper in a baking tray and place the pogacas on it. The folded side of pogacas should be at the bottom to have a ball shape.
Preheat the oven at 180C.
Beat the egg yolk well and coat all the pogacas with it using a brush. And sprinkle poppy seeds on each pogaca. Bake them about 30 minutes until they get golden.
I love them when they are still warm, so after taking them out from oven, I throw a few of them into my mouth.
Note: These ingredients make about 40 pogacas as I make them so small that you can eat them in just two bites. You can make them bigger if you like or you can use the half of these ingredients if you want fewer.