The holy month of Ramadan, or in Turkish Ramazan, is observed by millions of Muslims around the world each year. This time of spirituality and reflection is best known for its tradition of fasting during daylight hours.
Paradoxically, it’s also known for its special cuisine once the fast is broken each evening. Turkey, like every country, has its own unique set of foods served during this holiday period.
There are many Turkish ingredients and classic dishes that are associated with Ramazan. But no other item signifies the breaking of the fast better than a loaf of pide (pee-DEH).
Pide is a soft, porous, leavened bread that’s shaped by hand. Bakeries all over Turkey provide this Ramazan staple hot and fresh about an hour before evening prayer.
Don’t be surprised if you find a line of people waiting to buy their fresh, hot pide to bring home just in time for the first evening meal. But you'll have to hurry because you can only find this wonderful bread during the Ramazan period.
If you don’t want to wait in line, or you simply want to make fresh pide yourself, try this easy recipe. You don’t have to limit yourself to Ramazan, either. You can use it to make pide any time of the year.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet instant dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1 tablespoon soft butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large room-temperature egg yolk
- 1/2 cup plain room-temperature yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Empty the packet of dry yeast on top and combine with your fingers.
- Add the warm water and combine lightly with a fork. Next, add the milk and do the same.
- Add the softened butter or margarine and olive oil and combine. Lastly, add the sugar and salt.
- Now it’s time to knead the dough. If you are using a mixer, process the dough for about 10 minutes using the dough kneading hook. If you choose to knead by hand, knead the dough in the bowl for 15 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes more. The dough should be very soft. If it’s too firm, knead in another tablespoon of olive oil until smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a warm place. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rise for about two hours.
- After two hours, the dough should be about double in size. Remove the cloth and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into two pieces with a dough cutter or sharp carving knife.
- Shape your pide loaves using your fingers. Make each loaf flat and either oval or round, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Place each loaf on a metal baking tray sprinkled with flour.
- Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, first cut about 1 inch in from the edge to make a circle all the way around the loaf. Then, inside the circle, make diagonal cuts in opposite directions to make a diamond pattern. Do the same with the other loaf.
- In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt and egg yolk. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the loaves generously with the yogurt-egg mixture.
- Sprinkle the sesame and nigella seeds evenly over the tops.
- Bake in a heated oven at 430 F (225 C) oven with a shallow tray of water placed at the bottom for about 30 minutes, or until the top becomes deep, golden brown.
- Serve the pide hot out of the oven.