I started baking bread from scratch a few years ... after moving to Algeria ... and getting over my phobia of yeast! Now usually I bake sometimes a few times a week. In a prefect world (or in a world where I had a stand mixer or even a bread machine) I would bake bread daily! But I live in the real world where 4 children and the daily trails of life occupy my time. But during the month of Ramadan, I had a few years ago made a tradition where I bake bread for our iftar dinner.
Ramadan in the Maghreb is really the month of soups! The famous chourbas are center stage on the iftar dinner table. And of course, soups cannot be present without freshly baked crusty bread to sop up the soup with.
Today, I would like to present a bread recipe that I shown by my dear friend and neighbour Açelya when I lived in Europe years back. Every day during Ramadan she would send over one of these fragant and light breads. I fell in with Pide at the first bite!
I made a deal with Açelya ... I would show her how to make Gulyás, Hungarian meaty soup and she showed me how to make Pide, Turkish Ramadan bread. Of course, due to my phobia of yeast I did not prefect her delicious only until after after I left Germany .
Pide is freshly baked daily then eaten daily in Turkey for the iftar (f'tour) dinners every Ramadan. This is tradition. Pide has a incomparable aroma and flavor.
Although I am not Turkish, everytime I bake this bread, the smell of it baking takes me on a nostalgic journey - back to my grandmother Illona's kitchen to her freshly baked with love Hungarian potato bread. So I urge you to try out this wonderfully easy yet filled with deliciousness bread today!
Açelya's Ramazan Pidesi
makes 1 large 60cm family sized Pide or three 20cm Pides
- 5 cups - 1 kg 180g of flour ( I have used 3 cups white to 2 cups milled whole wheat)
- 1 cup - 250 mL water
- 1/2 cup - 100mL milk
- 2 TBS - 50g butter or olive oil
- 1 TBS - 25g dry yeast
- pinch of sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Melt the butter, if using in a pan on low fire.
- Add in the milk and water to heat.
- Pour into a large bowl and desolve the yeast in the mixture.
- Develop for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in the flour and Nigella seeds. Reserve some of the seeds for topping.
- Knead throughly for about 15 minutes.
- The dough should be soft yet slighly sticky.
- Cover, the rise for 35 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and knead once again to form the smooth elastic yet soft dough.
- Grease a large 30 cm baking dish.
- Roll out the dough to about 1cm - 1/2 inch - to roughly fit to the size of the pan.
- Lift the dough into the pan and then gently press the dough into the sides of the baking dish.
- With your index finger, gently poke holes into the dough clockwise.
- Then with the same motion in the center to form a quilting effect.
- Beat the egg with a small amount of water for the egg wash; apply the egg wash.
- Now generously sprinkle the dough with the reserved seeds.
- Cover the dish with a kitchen towel then allow to rise for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220° C.
- Bake the dough at that temperature for about 15 minutes then reduce to 190° C for another 15 minutes.
- Check the bread after the total of 30 minutes. If it is nicely browned, it is ready. Add an additional 5 minutes if needed.
๑۞๑ You can easily form the deep indentations with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Also divide the dough into 3, bake one then freeze the remaining 2 for another day. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 2-3 hours when you want to use them.