Spinach and Spicy Cheese Bread Pockets (Katıklı Ekmek)

Katıklı ekmek is very popular in Antakya, Turkey. Some stuff the dough with spinach and çökelek mixture and some spread this mixture on top of a thin sheet of dough. The preparation of the dough is different than mine because in Antakya, Turkey, the mixture is sent to a bakery and the dough from the bakery is used. Then, it is baked in the wood ovens in the bakery which gives the bread/borek a very distinct and wonderful texture and flavor.

Katıklı can be served during breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack with hot tea.

For the Dough:

4 cups flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups water

For Stuffing:

2 bunch spinach
3 çökelek balls
½ tsp salt

For Brushing:

2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation of the Dough Using a Mixer:

Combine all ingredients for the dough in the bowl of the mixer, except the water. Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Make sure to attach and remove it when the mixer is unplugged. Using the speed control knob, put the speed of the mixer to 2. Then increase the speed to 4. Pour the water gradually to the bowl while the mixer is working. Increase the speed of the mixer to 6. Mix for 3-4 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer.

Preparation of the Dough Manually:

Combine all ingredients in a deep bowl except the water. Pour some of the water in the bowl and start kneading for 5-10 minutes. Keep adding water gradually while kneading until the dough becomes soft.

Let it sit for about 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 small pieces and make small balls with each piece.

Wash the spinach thoroughly so that there is no dirt in the leaves. Boil water in a large pot. Place the clean spinach leaves in boiling water for two minutes and remove. Immediately, run cold water over the spinach to stop the cooking process. Squeeze all the water out of the spinach. Chop the spinach coarsely.

Crumble the çökelek onto the spinach.

Add the salt. Set aside.

Grease two large baking trays. Place a ball of the dough on the tray and start stretching the dough with your hands until each ball is side enough to place some stuffing.

Place the stuffing one side of the dough and cover it with the rest of the dough.

The dough will stretch and the stuffing will become visible from the outside of the dough. Repeat this process for all eight pieces of dough. Brush some olive oil on top of these pockets.

Bake at 375º F in the middle rack of the oven for about 20 minutes. You may need to brush the top of the pockets with olive oil while baking once or twice. When the top portion is golden brown, turn around and brush the other side with olive oil and bake until golden brown.

Enjoy warm with hot tea.

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