Vegan Milk Buns (Pogaca)

by Zin
baked vegan milk buns (pogaca) with a book

These vegan, fluffy, homemade milk buns will make your kitchen smell heavenly. They are called Poğaça (pronounced ‘po-atcha) in Turkish, and they are one of the many traditional savory pastries. You can bake them plain (called ‘sade poğaça’) or use different fillings such as cheese, potatoes, or olives.

When you go to Turkey or search the internet for a recipe, you will find endless variations. These milk buns are so easy to make at home, and many home cooks have their unique way of baking them. They are one of the main items sold in bakeries and street stalls all over the country. People purchase them fresh on their way to work or school in the rush hours as their breakfast. You can also eat them at lunchtime or the afternoon breaks with a glass of Turkish tea (çay) aside. They are delicious, affordable, and favorite treats for children and adults.

In traditional cooking, the cooks use eggs and a fair amount of butter for making pogaca, so they are not naturally vegan. And they are quite an oily treat. The recipe below is a veganized version. As a low-fat person myself, I use as little oil as possible, and you will want to make this recipe for your Sunday brunches or anytime you want a snack, and it will not feel like an oily treat.

DOUGH

In a small bowl, dissolve the instant dry yeast and sugar (to feed the yeast and active it faster) in the lukewarm water. Leave the bowl aside and give it for 15 min for activation.

instant dry yeast is being activated in lukewarm water and sugar mix

As soon as you dissolve the yeast in the water and sugar mix, the activation will start. 

instant dry yeast is being activated in a mix of lukewarm water and sugar

After 15 min, the mix looks like this.

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt, then add the activated yeast, milk, and olive oil together.

large bowl of all purpose flour and salt mix, half a cup of olive oil, plant-based milk and activated yeast

Mix everything until the dough becomes non-sticky, and then start kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Give it a big ball shape and transfer it to a clean bowl.

vegan milk bun dough before the dough is risen

Cover with a damp dishtowel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough will double in size.

vegan milk bun dough is being left to rise, covered with a damp dishtowel

vegan milk bun dough after the dough is risen. it is doubled in size.

After 1 hour, give the dough a quick knead until it is smooth and elastic once again.

Roll it and make a long shape to able to cut into equal sizes. First, cut into half in the middle. Then keep cutting each part into halves. With my way of cutting, I have got seven equal size buns plus the smaller end parts. (I cut each half into eight pieces). I combined the smaller size ends and made another piece. I have got 15 almost equal buns with these measures.

vegan milk bun dough in long shape for easier cutting

piece of dough being shown in a palm with other pieces of bun doughs.

FILLINGS

Take one of the dough pieces into your palm, press it down and flatten it.

Put a small amount of your chosen filling in the center. I used black olives in some and potatoes in the rest since I love them both.

can of black olives, golden potatoes, fresh dill weed and sesame seeds on a marble background

Fold the edges up and give it a shape of a bag. Bring the edges together, pinch them to close the top part. You can roll it in your palm and turn it down, so the seam side stays at the bottom.

Repeat these with the rest of the dough pieces and place them all on a cooking paper.

dough balls with black olive and potato fillings, showing how to roll for Turkish milk bun recipe

vegan milk bun doughs filled and rolled. placed over a cooking paper on an oven tray.

COATING AND COOKING

In a small cup, thin out the grape molasses with water. The ratio is 1:1. If you use the molasses directly, without thinning with water, then they will burn quickly.

diluted grape molasses is being used as an egg yolk replacement to coat the top parts of buns.

Coat the top parts of each bun with diluted molasses and decorate it with sesame seeds. I used both black and white sesame seeds, but you can use black sesame for black olives and white sesame seeds for potato fillings to separate them easily.

all rolled buns are coated with diluted grape molasses, just before baking.

coated buns decorated with white and black sesame seeds, just before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).

Bake the buns until they puff up and the tops turn golden. It takes about 25 – 30min.

baked, golden colour vegan milk buns (pogaca)

Serve them after they cooled down.

Here is a beautiful poem from the book, Salt by Nayyirah Waheed. 

stay soft. it looks beautiful on you. 

I hope you stay soft in life, like these fluffy milk buns. 🙂 

baked vegan milk buns (pogaca) over marble background, one is open showing the black olive filling

If you make these milk buns, rate it on the recipe card and leave a comment below. Also, do not hesitate to share your photos on Instagram, tag @plant.awesome, and use the hashtag #plantawesomelife.

baked vegan milk buns (pogaca) over marble background, one is open showing the black olive filling

Vegan Milk Buns (Pogaca)

Yield: 5 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

These vegan, fluffy, homemade milk buns will make your kitchen smell heavenly. Bake them plain or fill them with vegan cheese, potatoes, or olives.

Ingredients

Yeast Activation

  • 8 g (1 package) instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup (125ml) lukewarm water
  • 1tsp sugar (I used organic coconut sugar)

Dough

  • Activated yeast (see above)
  • 500 g (3 + 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (125ml) lukewarm unsweetened plant-based milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • Black and white sesame seeds or poppy seeds (to decorate)  

Black Olive Filling (optional)

  • 1/2 can black olives (chopped in a food processor or cut into rings)

Potato Filling (optional)

  • 2 potatoes (boiled and mashed)
  • ½ bunch dill weed (to mix with mashed potato, optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper

Egg replacement for top coating

  • 1 tbsp grape molasses
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

    1. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant dry yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Leave the mix to stand for 15 min.
    2. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt, then add the activated yeast, milk, and olive oil.
    3. Mix everything until the dough becomes non-sticky, and then start kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
    4. Give it a big ball shape and transfer it to a clean bowl.
    5. Cover with a damp dishtowel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough will double in size. Use this resting time to prepare your fillings to save some time.
    6. Boil potatoes (I boiled them in 7 min with pressure cooker) and/or cut some black olives. I added some fresh dill weed to my mashed potatoes. Tastes awesome.
    7. Once the dough has risen, give it a quick knead until it is smooth and elastic once again.
    8. Cut them into equal size pieces.
    9. Take one of the dough pieces into your palm, press it down and flatten it.
    10. Put a small amount of your chosen filling in the center.
    11. Fold the edges up and give it a shape of a bag. Bring the edges together, pinch them to close the top part. You can roll it in your palm and turn it down, so the seam side stays at the bottom.
    12. Repeat these with the rest of the dough pieces and place them all on a cooking paper.
    13. In a small cup, thin out the grape molasses with water.
    14. Coat the top parts of each bun with diluted molasses and decorate it with sesame seeds.
    15. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
    16. Bake the buns until they puff up and the tops turn golden for about 30 min.
    17. Serve them after they cooled down.



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baked vegan milk buns (Turkish pogaca)

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