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Monday, 4 August 2008

Have you ever tried gözleme?

Filed under: bread - yeasted & unyeasted,food & drink — ejm @ 13:26 EDT

summary: about gözleme, Turkish stuffed flatbread; (click on images to many more photographs of women making gözleme)

women dancing: Toronto Turkish Festival 2008 We rode our bikes downtown yesterday: Sunday of the August long weekend – the same weekend that Caribana festivities were going on on Toronto Island – and were amazed to see that Dundas Square was full of all things Turkish. There was a man wearing a red fez, a red costume embroidered with gold thread and leather belt filled with drinking cups, walking around with a samovar of lemonade.

And there were stall after stall of various foods. I tried börek, a pastry filled with cheese and some sort of green leaf (the women at the table were unable to tell me what the leaf was… parsley?? spinach???). It tasted slightly lemony and was quite good. Personally, I think it would have been better right out of the oven but don’t know if that would be a traditional way of serving it or not. Of course, with his sweet tooth, T had to try a sweet pastry that looked like the Indian sweet, jalebi.

And then we got completely distracted watching some women rolling out the dough for gözleme, a delicious stuffed bread similar to paratha. I think we must have spent at least half an hour watching…

Naturally, we didn’t have the camera.

making gözleme: Toronto Turkish Festival 2008 So we rode home to get it.

And rode back again to take pictures of the crowds and many pictures of ladies making gözleme.

Each lady first patted a ball of dough into a disc then rolled it out into a round, pulling tiny bits of flour (all-purpose??) to stop the dough from sticking as they rolled. Once the disc was already relatively large and thin, the lady would roll about half of the disc around the pin and roll it back and forth to thin the disc further. (We should have taken a video!!)

Once the dough was rolled, it was handed over to one of two ladies. One was filling the discs with cheese and parsley and the other was filling them with a mixture of potatoes and something that turned it pink coloured. I’m guessing paprika, or perhaps tomato or beet.

making gözleme: Toronto Turkish Festival 2008 It was very difficult to ask; anyone who knew the answer didn’t really speak English very well or was too shy to speak. One lady in line just smiled and nodded and smiled when I asked her if she knew how to make these. At last she gasped out “Po – ta – to” and smiled even more broadly.

One thing I did get clear though was that the dough was made simply from flour, water, salt and perhaps a little oil. And as far as I can tell, the flour was all-purpose – although the flour on the rolling boards was quite yellow coloured and I wonder if it wasn’t semolina. (Very similar to paratha dough!)

After the discs were filled, they were folded in half to look like crescents and placed on a hot griddle to cook. And just before serving, the bread was brushed with melted butter. (Did we get photos of all that?! You must be joking….)

The gözleme was delicious (we had the cheese and parsley stuffing) … just hot off the griddle and brushed with melted butter. The cheese appeared to be feta and had a salty lemony flavour. I did mention that it was delicious?

Have any of you made gözleme? And if so, what recipe do you use?

(click on images to many more photographs of women making gözleme)

Hey!!! We didn’t see any whirling Dirvishes!


  • Mats Flemstrom

    This is a charming account in words and pictures, Elizabeth! My advice – always throw the camera in the pannier when you guys head out on an adventure.

  • Jude

    Very charming post. Can’t say I’ve ever tried it. Cheese and parsely in a flatbread sounds really deliciousm though.

  • MyKitchenInHalfCups

    I don’t know how but I sure wish I did. Groups baking or cooking always seem wonderful to me. Love the bike riding back and forth!

  • ejm

    That’s very kind of you to say, Mats and Jude. And while your camera advice is sound, Mats, I’m not sure that we’ll manage to remember. We might have done so if we’d known we were going to the Turkish festival. But our original journey downtown was for a mundane purpose: to purchase a bicycle pump….

    Jude, they were quite delicious.

    It was really cool to see the ladies working so happily together, Tanna. I found it quite heartening.

    I’m guessing that the dough is very similar to chapati dough:


    • 1½ c unbleached all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • up to 1 c. warm water

    In a bowl, mix flours and salt. Add warm water gradually, stirring with a fork until you have a soft dough. The amount of water will vary drastically depending on air temperature and humidity. You just have to play with it. Using as little extra flour as possible, knead on a board for 8 minutes until the dough is soft and silky.

    Let the dough rest (covered with a damp cloth) for at least 30 minutes. Divide into 8 pieces and roll out into discs.

    (When I make chapatis, I usually use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour)

    The Turkish ladies rolled the dough very very thinly. I have no idea if there was more than feta and parsley in the cheese stuffed version but even if there was, just feta and parsley would probably work. Again this is a guess:

    Scatter the cheese and parsley in a thin layer on half of the disc. Fold it over and seal the edges. Put the half moon on a hot griddle (UNgreased) and cook for 2 or three minutes (??) on each side. When the bread is done, brush with melted butter, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

  • Mats Flemstrom

    When it comes to putting the camera in the pannier, there is no “mundane purpose” ; it is impossible to predict what you will encounter and find yourself saying “I wish we had brought the camera”. Some people (me) take this to extremes and always have their camera with them; as I said, this is extreme (nay, compulsive) behaviour!

    Ah, but even if we had the camera with us, we’d have to remember to take it OUT of the pannier. :lalala: -Elizabeth

  • Pingback: Taste T.O. - Food & Drink In Toronto » Blog-A-Log - Saturday, August 9th()

  • brilynn

    I’ve never heard of it, but I love running into random festivals in Toronto. I was biking through little italy one day last year and realized I had happened upon their street festival without knowing it was on. Everything was blocked off, there was music and lots of food and people.
    I went to Taste of the Danforth last night, it was packed as usual…

    That’s the cool thing about bicycling in Toronto, isn’t it? There’s invariably some sort of celebration. We didn’t brave the rain (poor Taste of the Danforth organizers!!) to go as far as the Danforth this weekend. But glad to hear it was packed on Friday night, anyway. Yesterday, we rode to St. Lawrence Market and on our way back through the rain when we reached Chinatown, there were crowds (oblivious to the rain pelting down) in front of a newly opened business as a dragon danced to scare away the bad spirits. (Of course… we DIDN’T have the camera). -Elizabeth

  • Bellini Valli

    If you find out how to make it let us know. I suppose I could Google it and perhaps something would come up :D

    Do let me know if you do make these or something similar, Val! -Elizabeth


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