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Salty Feta Cheese Cake (Tutmanik)

November 30, 2011

This recipe is especially posted for Magdalena, who happened to like this bread which she ordered from me and brought to a Polish gathering. Now she wants to make it and has been asking for the recipe for such a long time that if I wasn’t going to post it, she would just experiment and try to make it from scratch. Well, since the purpose of starting this blog was to share recipes, here comes the recipe for Tutmanik especially for Magda!

Like every culture has its bready goodies – Spanish empanadas, Italian calzone, etc., Bulgaria has the so-called tutmanik among its numerous doughy creations. The traditional tutmanik involves making a separate dough for kneading and then rolling it with crumbled feta cheese into a roll or little rolls attached to each other in a circular pattern. The shapes vary but basic idea remains the same – make buttery dough filled with the white cheese, brush the top of the bread with copious amounts of butter and egg yolk and bake until it starts to smell good and done (you can alternatively use a toothpick;)! The standard ingredients for tutmanik are plain yogurt, eggs, oil or buter, feta or any white cow’s cheese in brine, baking soda or yeast and lots of flour. However, there are variations: Some people may substitute with olive oil, add caraway seeds for an extra special aroma and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Instead of making the dough for hand-kneading, an easier and equally tasty solution is to mix all the ingredients into one clump mass and bake it, thus skipping on the step that makes your hands sticky. Bear in mind that this would require far less flour, however, than the usual recipe. While some might like the tactile feeling of bread-making and even find it therapeutic or relaxing, others might prefer not to go this route. That’s why the folk has come up with the other type of tutmanik, called мързелив тутманик or lazy tutmanik.

The following recipe is for two different ‘lazy’ versions depending on your ingredients availability and preferences:

Version # 1:

  • 1kg flour
  • 250g feta
  • 5 eggs
  • 125g butter
  • 700g yogurt (plain)
  • 125g oil
  • 1 tbsp soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g butter for glazing (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk for glazing (optional)

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs, add oil and melted butter. In another bowl, mix yogurt and soda.

2. Mix yogurt with eggs & butter and add salt.

3. Add flour incrementally and then feta. Transfer batter in a greased and floured bake pan. (I suggest you use two standard bread pans or one large one because otherwise it may not be done in the center. The batter should not exceed 2/3 of the pan height, otherwise you should probably transfer the rest to a different pan.)

4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 250C for 30 min. After center is firm and top has a golden brown color, remove from oven and glaze with butter so crust remains soft. Alternatively, you can glaze with egg yolk 10 mins before baking time is up and continue baking.

Version # 2:

  • 5 eggs (of which 1 egg yolk for glazing)
  • 1.5 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cube of yeast (40g) or a packet of dry yeast (14g)
  • 125g melted butter (can substitute oil)
  • 125g oil (can substitute butter)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 cups flour for loose, sticky dough
  • 2 cups of crumbled feta cheese

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk, soda in the yogurt. Make dough by mixing eggs, milk, half of the flour, yogurt mixture, butter, oil, sugar and salt and feta cheese. Add the remaining flour incrementally. Grease, flour and pour into one large square baking pan or two regular-size rectangular ones. Bake for 40-45 mins at 180C/350F or until golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean. 10-15 mins before baking time is up, glaze with egg yolk and sprinkle top with feta cheese.

Visit this site to read more about tutmanik.

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  1. Bread 33: Bulgarian tutmanik | 100 Loaves of Solitude

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