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Pogaca Rolls

I love it when a new cooking magazine arrives and I immediately see a recipe I immediately want to make. Fine Cooking did not disappoint.

Pogaca rolls – pronounced po-ah-cha – hail from Turkey. We know my penchant for international foods, so these fit right in. I truly believe we could really learn a lot from one another if we just sat down and started eating different foods from different cultures.

My first recollection of Turkey comes from the Four Lads tune Istanbul (not Constantinople) recorded in 1953. There was also Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy which is neither Turkish nor taffy – but what did I know? And, of course, Agatha Christie and Murder on the Orient Express – a story that drew a vivid picture of the foreign and exotic city as seen through the eyes of the colonizing British.

It’s really not surprising that our views of different cultures are so skewed…

Pogaca rolls are extremely versatile and can be eaten with any meal. The fillings can be as varied and exotic – or simple and plain – as you wish. They can also be sweet or savory, depending upon your mood or time of day for eating them. I decided on a cheese filling based upon one of the offerings in the magazine. It called for simple feta and parsley. I went for chevre, queso fresco, chives, and parsley because that’s what I had in the house.

Pogaca Rolls

adapted from Fine Cooking magazine

Dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed to 105°F
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup neutral oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

  • 4 oz chevre
  • 4 oz queso fresco
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 tbsp parsley

Combine warm milk with yeast and sugar in a mixer bowl. Proof about 5 minutes.

Add egg and oil and mix.

Add flour and mix on medium low speed about 10 minutes or until silky smooth.

Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured board and shape into a ball. Place in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Shaping and Forming:

Lightly flour a work surface, and turn the dough onto it. Deflate the dough, and divide into 13 – 15 pieces, about 2 oz. each.

Roll each piece into a ball, cover, and let rise again for about 30 minutes.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Lightly flour a work surface.

Roll or press a dough ball into a 5-inch circle.

Starting from the edge and heading toward the center, cut four evenly spaced slits, each about 1-1/2 inches long, into the circle.

Place about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the filling in the center. Wrap one quarter of the dough around the filling; the dough will partially cover but not fully enclose the filling. As you wrap, fold ¼ inch of the top of the dough edge back to form an open petal.

Fold the dough quarter opposite the first quarter around the filling and fold back the top to form an open petal. Secure the dough on the bottom with a pinch.

Wrap and fold a third quarter in the same manner.

Then, when folding the final quarter over, tuck the edges underneath the rose, and pinch to secure.

Place on the prepared baking sheet leaving at least 2 inches between the rolls. Let rise at room temperature, until almost doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the egg and milk. Lightly brush the dough with the egg wash.

Bake, swapping and rotating the pans about halfway through, until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

One thing I noted was I wasn’t careful enough in pinching the ends of the petals. You really do need to be firm with this step – some of the rolls really did come apart. It’s not changing the flavor, but esthetically, they could be more flower-like.

The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of salt. I made it that way but think they would be better with just one.

But they are light, really flavorful, and with just enough cheese filling to flavor but not overwhelm.

I see other shapes and fillings in our future!

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