Monday, 11 August 2014



Today I decided to show a recipe for something different. The Bulgarian cuisine has plenty of recipes for pastries and bakery dishes, all of which are delicious. I am, in fact, a big fan of working with dough, so I love preparing them, I love eating them, I love sharing them with others. This particular recipe is for savory pastry called tutmanik. It is a delicious dish that can be eaten at any time of the day. This recipe has plenty of versions, I am merely sharing the one I love making at home.

Since the preparation for this dish is time-consuming and a bit complex, the recipe will be accompanied by plenty of pictures and a lot of instructions.


For the dough:

700g white flour
4 eggs
280ml vegetable or sunflower seed oil + 50ml for oiling the dough and the baking dish
14g dry yeast
150ml 2% yoghurt

For the filling:

2 large onions
1 spoon of brown sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
4-5 smoked sausages
300g feta cheese

For the sauce:

2 eggs
400g yoghurt
50g butter

1. Activate your yeast by mixing it with 150ml water at room temperature, 1 spoon of sugar and 1 spoon of flour. Mix very well until everything is incorporated. You can even use a mixer. Place the bowl you used in a warm place and cover with something. You can use another larger bowl full of hot (but not scalding!) water.

2.  Sieve your flour two, even three times. You need for there to be a lot of air in your flour. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.

3. Find a suitable bowl or a dish you can use to knead your dough in. I don’t recommend doing it directly on the table because the dough is quite soft and sticky. The vessel you use needs to be spacious enough for you to move your hand comfortably in it. Place 1/3 of your flour in the bowl you’ve chosen. Add salt to taste (while taking into consideration just how salty the cheese you’ve chosen is). Mix the salt well with the flour. Add all your liquid ingredients – the eggs, the yoghurt, the oil and the yeast.

4. Begin mixing – you can either use a mixer or your hand for this part, personally I prefer using my hands all the way. At this point the dough is practically liquid, do not be concerned, that’s normal.
5. Add another third of the flour and start incorporating it into the mixture. You’ll notice the dough thickening. Keep kneading.

6. Begin adding the final third of the flour. You don’t actually have to add all of it. Depending on how liquid your yoghurt is and how large your eggs are, you might not need the entire portion. Keep kneading. The end result should be very soft and quite sticky but fully coherent dough.

You can occasionally sprinkle (sprinkle, don’t pour – you don’t want all that oil to be incorporated into your already quite oily dough) a little oil on it so it doesn’t stick to your hands as much. Knead until it has become silky smooth and elastic.

7. After you’re done kneading, form the dough in a ball and either leave it in the same dish you kneaded it in or in another suitable (and well-oiled) dish you’ll use to prove it. Oil the top and cover it lightly with a plastic wrap. Cover the wrap with a towel. Place the dish in a warm place for the dough to rise. Personally, I just use my sink – I plug it, then fill it with hot (not scalding!) water and place the dish in the water. Wait until the dough has doubled, even tripled in size. You might have to add more hot water when the one you already have begins to cool down.

8. While your dough is rising, cut your onion into slices and sautee them in a pan, adding the brown sugar, the lemon juice and the pinch of salt. Caramelize it well and wait until all the liquid has boiled away.
Cut your sausages into pieces. Get your baking dish and oil it, then sprinkle flour on the surface.Crumble your cheese.

9. Once the dough has risen enough, remove the plastic wrap and get your cheese.
Divide your cheese in several portions. Sprinkle the first portion on top of the dough, then press down, then carefully knead it until it’s incorporated.
Do the same with the rest of the cheese until it’s fully incorporated into the dough.

10. Organize your work space – place the onion, the sausages, the dough and your baking dish within an arm’s reach. Oil the palms of your hands. You can use gloves for this part, but you need to oil them as well.

11. Take a handful of the dough and form a patty on the palm of your hand. Place a bit of the onion on the patty, then add a piece of the sausage on top. Wrap dough around the filling and form a ball with your hands. Place the ball in the baking dish.
Keep doing this until you run out of dough and filling. Do not be concerned if the balls begin to lose their shape in the baking dish because the dough is so soft, we’ll prove the dough a second time anyway.

12. Once again cover the dough with a plastic wrap and a towel and repeat the proving process. Give it time to rise and fill your baking dish.

13. When it’s done rising remove the plastic wrap and place your baking dish in a pre-heated 50-60C oven. Let it rise some more for 15-20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 200C.
Bake the tutmanik until the top turns golden brown. Check whether it’s ready by sticking a wooden skewer in it – if it comes out dry and clean then it’s ready.

14. At this point we can do two different things – you can either smear a bit of butter on top of it and cover with a aluminum foil for about 10-15 mins or we can add the sauce and bake it some more. In case you wish to do the latter, follow the next step.

15. Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl. Pour them on top of the tutmanik and return it in the hot oven for another 10 minutes. Once you remove it from the oven you can add the butter as well.

You can serve the tutmanik with yoghurt or salad, it’s delicious either way! Bon App├ętit!

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