Kahvalti – Turkish-Style Breakfast Buns #Breadbakers

Kahvalti, which roughly translates to “before coffee”—is there life before coffee?—is the Turkish word for breakfast, and oh boy, is it ever a Feast, with a capital F. A far cry from the typical American grab-and-go affair. Think pots of tea (the coffee comes later). Olives, cheeses, fresh fruits, jams, honey, eggs, tomatoes and cucumber, yogurt and…bread. Breads like simit (think Turkish bagel) or pide ekmeği (flatbread). Or these buns—Kahvalti—or more accurately Kahvalti Çörekleri. (Google translates Çörekleri as “donut.” I’m thinking Google needs to work on that translation thing.) Soft little round potato rolls, full of tangy bits of feta and topped with nigella (or black sesame) seeds. Since I discovered them, thanks to Jane Mason's fabulous book, The Book of Buns, I've made them several times and they never disappoint. 

I have this theory about things like buns and rolls. They’re teeny breads. Teeny breads with fewer calories. That don’t add up (sometimes it pays to be a dolt at math). Therefore, unlike when you snarf down an entire loaf of bread at once, you can eat a lot of them and not end up with hips that require you to purchase an extra seat on the plane. That’s the way it works, right? RIGHT? Teeny breads, teeny calories? No? Oh well. Teeny calories or not, these kahvalti buns are worth every one. 

Rolls (and buns) were this month's #BreadBakers theme for May, chosen by Deepti at Baking Yummies. Be sure to check out the links below to see what the other #BreadBakers came up with. So many teeny breads to tempt and tantalize your tastebuds…



  • 350g bread flour
  • 2g instant yeast
  • 240g milk, heated to just below boiling, then cooled to room temperature
  • 5g salt
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, cooked and mashed
  • 100g crumbled feta cheese


  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp water
  • nigella (black onion) seeds or poppy seeds for sprinkling


Add flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add yeast to the well, pour in the milk, then cover the well lightly with with flour, cover the bowl and let rest for about 1 hour.

After the resting period, add the salt and mashed potato to the bowl and combine into a ball, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. (It's kind of gloppy but hang in there.) Gather the dough into a ball again, place it back in the bowl, cover and let rest for another 20 minutes.

Transfer the dough back to the work surface, flatten it out,  add the cheese and knead it gently until it incorporates, taking care to leave some large bits of cheese. Form the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Lightly flour the pieces, cover and let rest for about 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a baking sheet with parchment.

After the dough has rested, form each piece into a tight ball, flouring your hands lightly as needed. Place the balls on the baking sheet, cover and let rest for about 1 hour. While the buns are resting, preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

To make the glaze, whisk together the water and egg white. Brush the risen buns with the glaze and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Bake the buns for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through for even baking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

#BreadBakers for May:  Rolls

This month, #BreadBakers takes on rolls—yeast or quick, sweet or savory, drizzled or plain, filled or not. Thanks to our host Deepti of Baking Yummies for the theme. Because rolls are the bomb.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.