Gozleme: Turkish flatbread

left: original artwork, right: the tea towel itself (creased, stained and used)
No items found.
No items found.

The most satisfying lunch that I keep going back to is gözleme. I tried these Turkish flatbreads a couple of years ago at Portobello Road's food market (I miss food stalls!), then again earlier this year at my Mum's. She'd just learnt how to make them and was excited to show me how easy they were to make (I initially rolled my eyes at the idea of dough being 'easy') and how they could be filled with ingredients from frozen or store cupboard food.

Gözleme is (are?) a flatbread made from unleavened dough, rolled out thin and filled with various meat or vegetarian fillings. It's usually folded into a rectangular shape, fried in a griddle, then sliced into long strips to be dipped into yoghurt. The dough is pancake-y sweet and tastes great with a savoury, salty filling with a squeeze of lemon juice upon serving. It's the kind of street food you'd find all over the world, the equivalent of quesadillas, empanadas, pasties, piadina, dosas or stuffed paratha; common because the dough is made quickly with few, simple ingredients. 

This dough can be made in ten minutes, there's no proving or resting required, and you can make the dough ahead of time and store in the fridge.

The filling

Boil 4-5 baby potatoes until soft (skins on) and lightly mash with a fork. Mix with 150g wilted spinach (about 4 pellets of frozen spinach), a handful of chopped dill, zest of half a lemon and crumble in half a block of feta. Season well.

Gozleme filling

The dough

enough for 4 gözlemes

In a large bowl (or saucepan if you don't have a big bowl), mix 250g plain flour with a teaspoon of salt. Mix in 4 tbsp yoghurt (full fat) and 6 tbsp tepid water (about 100ml). Stir until combined, the dough will look flaky and a little dry; this is when you need to start using your hands. Gather the dough together using warm hands and begin to mould into a ball. If the dough is sticking to your hands add more flour, if it's not holding together add more water. 

Dough process

When the dough has formed a slightly tacky ball which isn't sticking to your hands, sprinkle some flour onto a work surface or large chopping board and begin to knead the dough quickly for a few minutes. I have no knowledge of the science of kneading, so my technique is to push the ball away with the heel of your hand, then use your fingers to pull it back for a few minutes which seems to work. When your ball is firm but springy enough to roll out, cut the ball into 4 smaller balls. Grab a floured rolling pin / bottle of wine and begin to roll out into a large rectangle - roughly 25x25cm or until the dough is about 3mm thin. 

Add your filling on one half of the rolled out dough - you want the filling to be evenly spread to about half a cm from the edge. Fold the uncovered half of the dough over the filling and seal around the edges by pinching and folding with your fingers. 

Heat your frying pan / griddle on a medium-high heat and add a tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the gözleme and fry until brown (about 3-5 minutes on each side depending on the weight of your pan). If you don't have a big enough pan, cut it in half and fry in batches. 

Slice into strips or bite into it whole like a big flat pasty. Dip into a dollop of Greek yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon juice, or serve with a simple tomato salad or a crunchy slaw.