Grains and Breads
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Grains and Breads


Tahıl is the name given in Turkish to the dried seeds of plants in the grass family (Poaceae), which eaten either whole or ground into flour. The word hububat is also used. Grown the world over and with a history almost as old as humanity itself, they may be consumed in a variety of ways but the thing they have in common is the making of bread. Though many different grains are used to make bread, the most commonly used is wheat.

Across the vast Turkic region from Central Asia to the Mediterranean basin, the most used grains are wheat and barley, mostly used in the form of flour. Bread is an indispensable part of the Turkish table; it is not only a staple source of nutrition but has also become a central element of Turkish culture. In Turkey, bread is sacred. This sacredness comes from the fact that not only is it a natural product, but also the result of great effort. Used synonymously with both “food” and “work,” bread has a value distinct from all other foods.


A plant in the grass family, which has been developed the world over. It and corn are the second most planted grains in the world. In Turkish cuisine it is used ground into flour for use in such products as börek, çörek, bazlama, kete, simit. There is another very common food,kavurga, in which the wheat is washed and then dry-roasted and eaten plain. Wheat is grown throughout Turkey.

Another very important wheat product is bulgur. After the wheat is washed and boiled, it is dried and beaten in a large mortar and pestle. It is used chiefly as pilaf as well as made into various köfte. Its use varies according to its grade, with large grades used more in pilaf, and the finer ones used in köfte.

In addition, irmik (semolina), one of the most important additives in Turkish cooking, is made from wheat.Semolina is a very special ingredient, used in the making of certain halvahs, in many breads, certain köftes and sweets. It also holds an important place due to its high nutritive value.


A plant of the grass family, grown for its starchy seeds. As dough made from oat flour does not rise, it cannot be made into bread, however oat flour is mixed with other bread flours to add a different flavor. Oats are used more in the making of mush or in gözleme.


Used very frequently in Turkish cooking, barley closely resembles wheat in its structure. Barley flour is used to make bread, soups and other baked goods.


Another plant in the grass family with edible seeds is millet. Some types are ground and mixed with milk or ayran and made into dough, or used in the making of breads. Millet is also the raw material for boza, a fermented drink found throughout the Turkic world. It is chiefly cultivated in the Mediterranean reagion.


Corn is a plant which can be cultivated in relatively wet or humid regions such as the Black Sea. It is also valuable for its high nutritive value and unsaturated fats. The grain may be ground into flour for breads and çörek, or used to coat fish before frying, and cracked in pilafs or soups. It may also be eaten on the cob, either boiled or roasted.


This grain is generally ground into flour and mixed with wheat flours for bread. 

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