Turcoman Sourdough Bread

For marriage counseling, KP and I did some group sessions with couples from Quest Church (Seattle). It was in one of these sessions that I met my first Turk. The way we all came to learn this about him: the group facilitator had asked us to share what ground rules we had thus far established in our relationships with our fiancés. His fiancé said, “I will not make fun of Turkmenistan.” I cannot remember what ground rule I shared for Karl and me, but I do remember how the curly-haired American marrying a Turk had vowed to never make fun of Turkmenistan. Which seems like an important rule in general.

And it seems a good rule to this day. This flatbread, also known as Chorek is a flatbread akin to sourdough in that the leavening agent comes mostly from whatever wild yeasts and lactobacilli are present in the room temperature goat milk kept on the counter for two whole days mixed with flour. The goat milk, obviously, makes a sour taste. What has been left out of this recipe, but that the authors of the original recipe mentioned, was that actual Turcoman sourdough uses mutton fat, which keeps the bread moist and fresh in texture. So if you have recently sacrificed a lamb, say for Easter, squeeze a little of that in here and it will be authentic.Image

Turcoman Sourdough Bread

Adapted from Flatbreads and Flavors

Chorek from Turkmenistan

Sponge

4 cups goat’s milk

2 cups hard all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups hard whole wheat flour

1/8 tsp dry yeast (or a ¼ cup sourdough starter)

Dough

1 tablespoon salt

1 ½ cups hard whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups white flourImage

Nearly scald the goat’s milk in a saucepan, and before boiling add to a bread bowl and allow to cool. Add the flour and pinch of yeast, mix in one direction 100 times to develop the gluten. Cover with saran and set aside for 48 to sour.Image

Sprinkle salt over the sponge and add remaining flour. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured work surface. Let rise for 3-4 hours covered until doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 450 and put the baking stone in (or quarry tiles, like I used to use back in the day). Divide the dough into quarters and roll each section into a ball. Roll out each ball into a 10 inch-ish oval, ½ inch thick. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Stamp each bread with a fork or bread stamp.Image

Transfer to a cornmealed peal and slide onto the baking stone. Bake for 10 minutes until golden on top and crusty on the bottom.

Hmm. I was not a fan of this bread, mostly because I do not like goatmilk. The bread seemed to come our right, but that tang is not my fave. Karl-Peter, with whom I left the bread over the weekend, said of the bread “It was crumbly. Good with hummus.”

3 thoughts on “Turcoman Sourdough Bread

  1. What a cool marriage counseling encounter! Also, I love that classic Izzy face – it appears that she shares your feelings about goats milk 🙂 The photo of stabbing the bread dough with a fork is pretty fantastic too!

      1. Ha, I love that! Maybe you can get one not to have as a milk producer, but rather to eat garbage, mow the lawn, and further endear you to your neighbors 🙂

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