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Old 01-03-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
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Armenian Cheese Turnover Issue

Last week my younger daughter and I got together for a cooking day. She has shown an interest in learning to cook some Armenian recipes she remembers from when my mom was alive and from my older sister’s kitchen.

We had settled on cheese turnovers. I remember cheese turnovers from my childhood. I would wait in the kitchen for them to come out of the oven and wolf them down as soon as they cooled enough to eat. In recent years, my sister made a different version using filo dough in a baking dish similar to paklava. My daughter wanted to make the more traditional version.

I checked my ‘go to’ Armenian cookbook written by a long deceased Armenian woman and generally regarded as the bible of Armenian recipes. I found a filling recipe and a dough recipe for the turnovers (there were several variations) and we were set.

On the big day, we made the dough first and set it aside to rise then made the filling. DD rolled out the dough into 7” circles per the cookbook and I added 1/3 of a cup of filling. She sealed it off and I eggwashed it and cut slits in the top all per the recipe.

Sadly, when they baked, a lot of the filling poured out of the slits in the top of the turnover. The sealed edges were fine. They tasted great and I’d love to make them again but have to solve the spillage issue.

Here’s the filling recipe:

2 Lb Munster Cheese, shredded
1 C Cottage Cheese, small curd
2 Eggs
½ tsp Baking Powder
3 Tb Butter, melted
¾ C Parsley

I have questions.

What is the purpose of the baking powder? I know it’s a leavener but why does the filling have to be leavened? So it can spill out of the turnover and ruin my day? Does it aid in making the domed shape for the top of the turnover by pushing the dough up from inside? What would happen if I left out the baking powder?

If you cut the turnover in half after it’s cooked and cooled, the filling is a layer on the bottom of the turnover with an empty dome of dough above. I don’ t get it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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I make something simular. First of all I bet original recipe calle dfor special cheeses. ANd I bet that is where the difference come in. The Armenian recipes I have seen call for hard cheese greated. Onother thing are the slits. I would, or actually I do just poke the top of the dough with a fork, just enough for hot air to escape.

P.S. You sure it calls for baking powder. Just went check my sourses, nobody says anything about soda or baking powder.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:24 PM   #3
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I'm guessing that they want a somewhat lighter filling. Now, what kind of baking powder did you use? Single-acting BP sets to work immediately because its acid works at room temperature. Double-acting BP has an additional heat-activated acid that doesn't do anything until it's baking. In an modern recipe, you could safely assume baking powder meant double-acting. But if it's more than maybe 50 years old, it might have assumed single-acting, if it didn't specify double. It sounds like the second rising in the oven might be what's happening.

If you think that might be right, you can test by making up your own single-acting BP:
1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
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I'm guessing that they want a somewhat lighter filling. Now, what kind of baking powder did you use? Single-acting BP sets to work immediately because its acid works at room temperature. Double-acting BP has an additional heat-activated acid that doesn't do anything until it's baking. In an modern recipe, you could safely assume baking powder meant double-acting. But if it's more than maybe 50 years old, it might have assumed single-acting, if it didn't specify double. It sounds like the second rising in the oven might be what's happening.

If you think that might be right, you can test by making up your own single-acting BP:
1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar.
I'm not an expert, so I might be wrong, but I think that is the recipe for your basic, homemade, double acting baking powder. The baking soda starts to work as soon as it gets wet. I think the cream of tartar is heat activated.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
I make something simular. First of all I bet original recipe calle dfor special cheeses. ANd I bet that is where the difference come in. The Armenian recipes I have seen call for hard cheese greated. Onother thing are the slits. I would, or actually I do just poke the top of the dough with a fork, just enough for hot air to escape.

P.S. You sure it calls for baking powder. Just went check my sourses, nobody says anything about soda or baking powder.
Charlie, the recipe in the cookbook called for munster and cottage cheeses. The recipe also called for two slits which is what I did. I am sure the recipe called for baking powder.

I have no doubt the cheese filling would have come out of the fork holes if that's what I did or busted a seam and come out that way.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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GLC, you could be right. SA BP would have avoided the second rise in the oven. However, I'm not sure what good the SA BP would have in the filling before baking. The filing was pretty dense.

taxlady, GLC is right. The second rise in DA BP is from an aluminum compound. The cream of tartar generates acid with water in SA BP for the first rise.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
GLC, you could be right. SA BP would have avoided the second rise in the oven. However, I'm not sure what good the SA BP would have in the filling before baking. The filing was pretty dense.

taxlady, GLC is right. The second rise in DA BP is from an aluminum compound. The cream of tartar generates acid with water in SA BP for the first rise.
I stand corrected. I just looked up cream of tartar. It is the acid component of SA baking powder. It activates the baking soda. Aluminium isn't used much in baking powder here in Canada any more. I used to get one with no Al from the health food store, but now the regular one from the supermarket has monocalcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #8
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You said that person who wrote the book passed away long ago? Was she an American Armenian? It really is strange, because there was obviously no munster or cottage cheese in Armenia.
I say you should try the same thing but without baking powder.
It is stupid of me to ask, but just in case, by chance did you make a mistake? Maybe baking powder was for the dough? Just don't hate me for this, please.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:09 PM   #9
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I have never cooked anything like this so please consider the following as guessing:

1. possibly the leavening is intended to expand the filling to make it lighter

2. use less leavening? or none?

3. use less filling in each turnover?

4. use smaller holes, either a fork or maybe a couple toothpick holes

Sometimes you have to cook recipes over and over while making changes to zero in on the perfect result.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:09 PM   #10
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BTW, what are they calle din Armenian?
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
You said that person who wrote the book passed away long ago? Was she an American Armenian? It really is strange, because there was obviously no munster or cottage cheese in Armenia.
I say you should try the same thing but without baking powder.
It is stupid of me to ask, but just in case, by chance did you make a mistake? Maybe baking powder was for the dough? Just don't hate me for this, please.
Charlie, the author was an Armenian who emigrated to America where she wrote the cookbook. The recipes were clearly written to accommodate what was available here.

The dough was a yeast dough. The baking powder was for the filling.

In Armenian these are called bunirr ov bereg = turnovers with cheese.


Don't worry, I don't hate you..............yet.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
I have never cooked anything like this so please consider the following as guessing:

1. possibly the leavening is intended to expand the filling to make it lighter
2. use less leavening? or none?
3. use less filling in each turnover?
4. use smaller holes, either a fork or maybe a couple toothpick holes

Sometimes you have to cook recipes over and over while making changes to zero in on the perfect result.
1. I thought that too but the filling in the turnovers was a flat puddle after baking and cooling. So if that was the intent, it failed.

2. I considered using none.

3. I could use less but the filling to dough ratio seemed right when I ate them. Also, it was exactly what the recipe called for.

4. I don't think hole size would have mattered. The filling spilled aggressively.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #13
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Can be it is a talk about Khachapuri?
This dish of Georgian cuisine...
But there are "adaptation loans''. As the Ukrainian borsch in Russia.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:12 PM   #14
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This is going to feel silly if it was just a misprint. I can't find any recipe using a leaven in a pastry filling. I was guessing at the intent, but it really doesn't make any sense. There's nothing in the filling that could form a structure to trap gas and let it foam and lighten.

I have one thought. That is that there may have been too much filling. Does the recipe call for 1/3 cup? You know, when you used filo, if you did it in the usual way, folding the sheet into thirds, using a tablespoon of filling and folding triangles all the way up the strip, you had multiple layers to contain the filling and a lot less filling. Perhaps it was just the wrong dough for that filling.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by GLC View Post
This is going to feel silly if it was just a misprint. I can't find any recipe using a leaven in a pastry filling. I was guessing at the intent, but it really doesn't make any sense. There's nothing in the filling that could form a structure to trap gas and let it foam and lighten.

I have one thought. That is that there may have been too much filling. Does the recipe call for 1/3 cup? You know, when you used filo, if you did it in the usual way, folding the sheet into thirds, using a tablespoon of filling and folding triangles all the way up the strip, you had multiple layers to contain the filling and a lot less filling. Perhaps it was just the wrong dough for that filling.
The recipe called for a 7" circle of the dough filled with a 1/3 cup of filling - just what I did.

When I made it with filo it was flat sheets layered with butter in a 10x14 pan with filling spread out over the pan after half the sheets of filo were put down. Followed by the rest of the filo sheets. No folding. No triangles - too much work.

The dough recipe I used was for that recipe, along with the filling recipe.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #16
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Was it possibly supposed to be just baking soda - to neutralize something acidic?
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #17
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Was it possibly supposed to be just baking soda - to neutralize something acidic?

Not according to the cookbook.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:52 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
I have never cooked anything like this so please consider the following as guessing:

1. possibly the leavening is intended to expand the filling to make it lighter

2. use less leavening? or none?

3. use less filling in each turnover?

4. use smaller holes, either a fork or maybe a couple toothpick holes

Sometimes you have to cook recipes over and over while making changes to zero in on the perfect result.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
1. I thought that too but the filling in the turnovers was a flat puddle after baking and cooling. So if that was the intent, it failed.

2. I considered using none.

3. I could use less but the filling to dough ratio seemed right when I ate them. Also, it was exactly what the recipe called for.

4. I don't think hole size would have mattered. The filling spilled aggressively.
You have to come up with a reason for why the filling overflowed. I've listed all the reasons I could logically come up with. See below, but I think your best bet is to try the recipe again and leave out the leavening. (I like the way that sounds.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
This is going to feel silly if it was just a misprint. I can't find any recipe using a leaven in a pastry filling. I was guessing at the intent, but it really doesn't make any sense. There's nothing in the filling that could form a structure to trap gas and let it foam and lighten.

I have one thought. That is that there may have been too much filling. Does the recipe call for 1/3 cup? You know, when you used filo, if you did it in the usual way, folding the sheet into thirds, using a tablespoon of filling and folding triangles all the way up the strip, you had multiple layers to contain the filling and a lot less filling. Perhaps it was just the wrong dough for that filling.
The big question is why there is any leavening in the filling. I've never seen that either. I was trying to think of a logical reason for leavening in the filling.

Too much filling is easy to check. Just make the recipe and try varying amounts of filling, taking notes on which turnovers had how much filling.

Same for the holes, even easier to document. Just make a batch, slit some, fork some, toothpick some.

I don't know about the rest of you (why don't you tell us?) but I've sometimes cooked a developmental recipe two dozen times before I got it exactly right. (Admittedly the two dozen times example was my own original recipe, recreating one of my mom's recipes after she couldn't remember the original.)

Andy, please describe was unique in the dough compared to other turnovers you've had. I think we can all imagine what the filling tasted like but if any of us want to recreate your recipe we need to understand what the dough was like. Perhaps you can describe the result and give us the ingredients and method for the dough.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:10 PM   #19
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After reading all your suggestions, doing more research I am concluding the BP was the culprit.

I'm confident the dough wasn't the issue. Actually it performed very well. It handled ideally, was a cinch to roll out evenly, yielding a beautiful shell for the turnovers while maintaining structural integrity.

All leakage was through the slits on the top. Only the BP would cause the filling to puff up enough to rise up and breach the openings and spill out.

I think the size and shapes of the openings in the tops is not of primary importance. Only if the filling rises up to reach the holes are they an issue.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:15 PM   #20
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You are sworn to update this topic after you've cooked it without any BP, and share your results.

I'm just curious about your dough/pastry recipe, not because I think it was complicit, but only because I think it would be interesting to see what you cooked, and maybe me or some of the other members might want to cook your recipe. Maybe it's too much typing. The ingredient list would probably be enough. Dough is dough, probably no need to go into the details of the method unless there's anything but the usual.
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Armenian Cheese Turnover Issue [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]Last week my younger daughter and I got together for a cooking day. She has shown an interest in learning to cook some Armenian recipes she remembers from when my mom was alive and from my older sister’s kitchen.[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]We had settled on cheese turnovers. I remember cheese turnovers from my childhood. I would wait in the kitchen for them to come out of the oven and wolf them down as soon as they cooled enough to eat. In recent years, my sister made a different version using filo dough in a baking dish similar to paklava. My daughter wanted to make the more traditional version.[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]I checked my ‘go to’ Armenian cookbook written by a long deceased Armenian woman and generally regarded as the bible of Armenian recipes. I found a filling recipe and a dough recipe for the turnovers (there were several variations) and we were set.[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]On the big day, we made the dough first and set it aside to rise then made the filling. DD rolled out the dough into 7” circles per the cookbook and I added 1/3 of a cup of filling. She sealed it off and I eggwashed it and cut slits in the top all per the recipe. [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]Sadly, when they baked, a lot of the filling poured out of the slits in the top of the turnover. The sealed edges were fine. They tasted great and I’d love to make them again but have to solve the spillage issue.[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]Here’s the filling recipe: [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]2 Lb Munster Cheese, shredded[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]1 C Cottage Cheese, small curd[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]2 Eggs[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]½ tsp Baking Powder[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]3 Tb Butter, melted[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4][FONT=PC명]¾[/FONT] C Parsley[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]I have questions. [/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]What is the purpose of the baking powder? I know it’s a leavener but why does the filling have to be leavened? So it can spill out of the turnover and ruin my day? Does it aid in making the domed shape for the top of the turnover by pushing the dough up from inside? What would happen if I left out the baking powder?[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]If you cut the turnover in half after it’s cooked and cooled, the filling is a layer on the bottom of the turnover with an empty dome of dough above. I don’ t get it.[/SIZE][/FONT][SIZE=4] [/SIZE] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=4]Any thoughts?[/SIZE][/FONT] 3 stars 1 reviews
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