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Normally I am Team Dark, Crusty Bread. However, this traditional Turkish flatbread, which is soft and fluffy on the inside and golden on the outside, has given me pause. I first tried this bread at a local Turkish restaurant that my husband and I stumbled into after one of our long walks around Chicago. It was served warm and fresh from the oven and we fell immediately in love. Frankly, we happily could have been satisfied to only eat that with some feta cheese and a salad or dip. I knew that I had to find a recipe to make this at home.
Turkish Pide Bread is relatively quick to make and is perfect for lapping up sauces and spreads. It is best enjoyed the day you make it, fresh from the oven. However, we have eaten left-overs drizzled with olive oil and lightly toasted. The version I made contains dairy, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be made vegan with non-dairy milk and yogurt.
Turkish Pide Bread comes in several versions, including a boat-shaped version with meat or veggie toppings. The recipe below is referred to as Ramazan Pidesi and is often served for iftar during Ramadan. It has a classic woven pattern on top and is liberally sprinkled with Nigella and sesame seeds.
As I always do with a new recipe, I searched my extensive selection of cookbooks as well as the web. I then often mix and match, choosing ingredients from one with a method from another etc. This version comes from Zerin and Yusuf although the method was from watching various YouTube versions.
Enjoy this lovely bread soon.
Yield: One large round loaf – about 8 servings
3 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active, dried yeast (you could use instant yeast)
3 Tablespoons olive oil (I used a wonderful flavored oil from Sciabica but any good quality EVOO would do.)
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 to 3 Tablespoons warm water (more if necessary)
1 egg yolk (skip if making this a vegan version)
1 Tablespoon milk or natural yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
About 1 to 2 Tablespoons of sesame or nigella (or a mix) seeds
Mix the yeast, sugar and warm milk and allow to proof. If you are using instant yeast, you can skip the proofing step.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and EVOO. Add the warm milk with the yeast and sugar. Gently mix it with your hand, slowly adding just enough warm water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. (I would not use a mixer for this. It’s too easy to add too much flour that way.) Only knead it enough to incorporate the flour for a smooth-ish dough. Roll the dough ball in about 2 teaspoons of EVOO and cover the bowl to allow it to rise. Depending on the warmth of your kitchen and your yeast, the dough can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 1.5 hours to rise. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your hands, gently release the air and push the dough into a circle or oval, leaving and thicker edge all around.
Using your finger tips, firmly press down into the dough to make the woven pattern.
Allow the dough to rest uncovered for about 15 minutes. Then stir your topping and brush the entire surface with the mixture.
Liberally sprinkle with your seeds.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven serve immediately. If you are not serving it immediately, wrap in a clean, slightly damp tea towel to keep the bread soft.