by Caroline

I’m continuing to use bread recipes as my gateway into Turkish cooking, because I love to knead bread and my family loves to eat it. This delicious loaf is called pide, a flatbread which is sold with toppings like minced lamb, egg, vegetables and or cheese, although for our first encounter with it, we kept it plain. It’s a much easier dough to work with than last week’s simit, and produces such a soft, chewy loaf, we are just looking for soupy stewy things to dunk it into.

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4-6 oz lukewarm water
1 lb flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
beaten egg for egg glaze
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (I’m calling these optional because I didn’t have them)

Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the water and stir; set aside to let it bubble and foam.

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, oil and yogurt, stir well, and then dump out onto a lightly floured surface to knead until the dough becomes fairly smooth and elastic. This can take five or ten minutes, mostly depending on your interest in making it your upper body workout.

Let the dough sit while you wash out the dough bowl, then drizzle a bit of oil or wipe a pat of butter in the bowl. Put the dough into the bowl and give it a couple turns so it’s nicely coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise till doubled, about 90 minutes.

Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450.
Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Knead each piece well, then flatten each into a disc.

Let the dough rest a moment while you prepare a large baking sheet with parchment or a bit of olive oil and put it in the oven to preheat. Now finish shaping the dough, stretching each disc out into a large round. Indent the dough with your finger tips.

Place the discs on the hot baking sheet, brush with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle with nigella seeds (if you have them) or salt. Some sesame seeds or rosemary would be nice, too, depending on what you’re making to accompany the pide.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and the crust is crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, though wrap the discs in a dry towel while warm to maintain their soft texture. If your family doesn’t devour the pide instantly, you can resuscitate it the next day, by sprinkling it with a bit of water and putting it in a hot oven for a few minutes.