The kumru sandwich or “Çeşme Kumrusu” has gained a nostalgic association with holidaying in Çeşme and has a well-rooted tradition in the region being a bread roll that been prepared in Izmir for over 150 years. There are approximately 15 permanent kumru restaurants in the centre of Çeşme several of whom trace their origins back to the 1970’s when their families provided kumru sandwiches from moveable stalls at the beaches. Kumru restaurants can be found throughout the region being popular in Alaçatı & Ilıca, and İzmir, and there are several restaurants using “Çeşme Kumrusu” that can be found in the centre of Istanbul.
The Kumru Bread Roll
The bread roll is made from a dough of wheat flour, water, baking powder and fermented chickpea yeast – note: when chickpea yeast is not used then chickpea & potato flour are added to the dough together with sugar & sunflower oil. The proven dough is formed into a tapered roll resembling a dove (bird), from which it gets its name, and is given a gentle cut lengthways along the top middle. The dough is then dipped for several seconds into a warmed water and grape or mulberry molasses glaze and rolled or sprinkled on the topside with sesame seeds before being oven baked over wood or charcoal. Baked, the bread roll is approximately 16-18cm long and 4-6cm high with a light crust; it should have no signs of burning, and has a maximum shelf life of 24-hours.
Filling & Preparing the Kumru Sandwich
The kumru sandwich may be prepared hot or cold.
Cold kumru: The roll is cut through the middle vertically, to about a 2/3rd depth, and is usually filled with 2 x 25g pieces of cut İzmir or Bergama Tulum Cheese, 2-3 slices of tomato and half a green pepper.
Hot kumru: The roll is sliced horizontally through the middle giving two pieces bottom & top. The outer and cut surfaces are brushed with margarine and cooked for up to 5 minutes on a grill over a charcoal fire. Equal amounts of approximately 30g each of Turkish salami, sucuk and eski kaşar cheese, are cooked simultaneously in a griddle pan. The cut rolls are flipped on the grill and the salami, then sucuk and cheese are placed on the cut bottom side of the bread roll together with 2-3 slices of fresh tomato before the lid of the roll is added.
It is traditional to serve cold kumru as a quick breakfast with a glass of strong Turkish tea, and hot kumru at lunch or dinner with a glass of chilled ayran and a side order of pickled vegetables.
A-Z of a Çeşme Kumrusu Sandwich
|Turkish Ingredient||English Explanation|
|Ayran||diluted yoghurt drink, sometimes carbonated & served with mint|
|Eski Kaşar Peyniri||mature (old) yellow sheep/goat cheese, similar to cheddar|
|İzmir/Bergama Tulum Peyniri||firm goat (usually mix of cow, goat, sheep) cheese lightly matured in goatskin casing|
|Kaşar Peyniri||light yellow sheep/goat cheese that melts when cooked|
|Salam||Turkish preserved meat, unlike Italian salami, tends to be like ham in texture & taste|
|Sucuk||spicy cured sausage, usually with cumin, garlic red pepper & sumak|
|Turşu||pickled vegetables, most often cucumber and hot green chilli|