Bread 33: Bulgarian tutmanik

I don’t have any nice pictures of the bread itself, because this was for dinner and I was in a hurry. However, we were on holiday in the Lake District, and here is the view out of the window: Lake District Gorgeous, and gloomy. We were staying in the Langdale Valley, which is right in the middle. It’s not as popular with tourists as many parts of the Lake District as there in no lake in the valley, but beautiful. While we were there, I made tutmanik using this recipe. It’s a Bulgarian cheese bread where crumbly cheese is (usually) wrapped tightly in swirls and baked in the oven. A number of other recipes I checked all contain yoghurt, which mine did not. So I wonder if yoghurt is a must, generally? Does anyone know? Other recipes say that it must be leavened with baking powder, which is certainly not universal. Tutmanek With this one, the dough is divided into balls, which are placed in a bath of olive oil. You must then pick the slimy balls out of the bath, flatten each one like a pizza base , then add feta and roll and twist and coil it up. The finished bread is moist and cheesy. It retains a strong flavour of the olive oil, and a hint of being fried. I found that I needed around 180ml less water than the recipe specified.

As an ignorant Western European, I had always thought Bulgaria sounded much in a similar place to Hungary and Slovakia. No, it is as far south as Italy! How had I never noticed that? Accordingly, the cuisine is Mediterranean in flavour, and famous for its yogurt and cheese. I am regretting more and more not adding yoghurt to this recipe.

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5 thoughts on “Bread 33: Bulgarian tutmanik

  1. For some reason I am unable just now to open the link to the recipe – tried and failed several times, but will try again later. As for the yogourt, I sometimes omit it when it is called for, and there certainly is a difference in the texture. I find breads with yogourt, or even milk, have a different flavour or texture, difficult to describe, but they are ‘creamier’, and generally worth the addition.

  2. Hi there,

    Let me clarify the last recipe link.

    My recipe there is for a “lazy banitsa”, also called “persian tutmanik” and this is by no means the traditional bread-like tutmanik which you are looking for. My variant is an easy cake-like cheesy bread that you can quickly mix up for breakfast. So don’t let my recipe confuse you, it really isn’t what you are looking for. It’s another beast altogether.

  3. Just a tip, you could use any plain yogurt from the shop (I use from Asda, use any other).
    The traditional thing to do with the baking soda is to put it in the yogurt – it is called to “extinguish” the soda. Basically you activate it.
    There is difference between Bulgarian yogurt and general yogurt. It is mainly because of the “lactic acid bacteria bulgaricus”, but for baking it is ok to use general yogurt.
    Happy baking!

    Regards,
    Nikolay

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