What is turkish bread?
Bread is an essential part of Turkish meals and is eaten daily, with great conviction. Bread deserves respect and is never wasted. Do you have a piece of pide (flatbread) or a simit ring left? Don’t throw it away! Feed it to the birds, or specifically the seagulls like the inhabitants of Istanbul.
There are different kinds of Turkish breads.
Pide (pronounce: ‘pie-DEH’) or pide ekmek are the large, round or oval Turkish flatbreads that are generally what gets called Turkish bread outside Turkey. Pide often has a diamond pattern carved in the top.
If you order pide in a Turkish restaurant, you usually don’t get a big round bread, but a filled sandwich, or icli pide. The sandwich is often folded into a kind of boat shape with visible filling. In the boat you will find minced meat, cheese, spinach or sucuk (Turkish sausage).
Simit (pronounced “sih-MIHT”), also known as “miser” is a ring shaped, braided bread roll that is sprinkled with sesame seeds before baking. Simit is a favourite street food in Istanbul and is eaten at any time of day.
Yufka (pronounced ‘joefka’) is round or oval flat bread, thinner than pide and lava, made from unleavened dough. It is baked on a hot plate and often used as a wrap (durum). Yufka dough is also used for baklava and borek.
Lavas (Turkish spelling lavaş, pronounced ‘lah-WASJ’) is a rolled-up bread made from risen dough. It is thicker than yufka. Yufka and lavas both have a long tradition. They are traditionally rolled on a wooden board, the senet, with an oklava or rolling pin and formed into ovals by hand.
Durum (Turkish spelling dürüm, pronounced ‘duu-RUUM’) is a wrap made of yufka or lava bread. The wrap is usually filled with doner kebab, but can also contain other ingredients, such as shish (cubes of meat from skewers), cheese or chicken.
The terms pide, lavas and durum are often used interchangeably.
Did you know?
Bread has been subsidised by the Turkish government since Ottoman times. The price is so low that no Turk can be found baking his bread at home. Not only is the price fixed, but the weight of the bread, the ingredients, wheat flour, water, yeast and the permitted amount of salt are also subject to strict rules.
How to make turkish bread?
The dough made with wheat flour, yeast, water, salt and some olive oil is kneaded after rising and formed into oval or round flatbreads. Holes or a diamond pattern are pressed into the bread with the fingers. The top is brushed with beaten egg yolk, sometimes mixed with butter or oil, and sprinkled with nigella or sesame seeds. The bread is baked for about 20 minutes, preferably in a stone oven making it crispy outside and airy inside.
How to eat
Whenever, wherever and however you want. Turkish bread is delicious with everything.
Greek pita breads are also suitable for filling, to make a sandwich with meat for instance.