A traditional Turkish fermented cereal food: Tarhana

Ozdemir S., Gocmen D., Kumral A.

FOOD REVIEWS INTERNATIONAL, vol.23, no.2, pp.107-121, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/87559120701224923
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.107-121
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Tarhana has a long history. According to historical records, it was first produced by Turkish people in Middle Asia and afterwards it spread out to different parts of the world. It is a fermented cereal-based food and can be simply defined as a mixture of yoghurt, cereal flours, yeast, different vegetables, herbs, and spices. After the inixing process, tarhana dough is fermented for 1 to 5 days and immediately dried. Both lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast fermentations occur simultaneously, during tarhana production. Therefore, tarhana has sour and acidic taste with yeast flavour as well. It is sun-dried at the home-made level or oven-dried of the commercial level. Several types of tarhana can be classified depending upon processing method or raw materials used. Low moisture (6-10%), low pH (3.5-5.0), and components (organic acids, bacteriosin, etc.) formed in fermentation have bacteriostatic effect on pathogens and spoilage microorganisms during long term storage (1-2 years) and enhance shelf life. Since tarhana is a good source of B vitamins, minerals, organic acids, and free amino acids, and since it is a product of LAB and yeast fermentation, it may be considered a junctional and probiotic food.