Dinner with Wasia and Turkish pide
My lovely friend Wasia, who is an exceptional cook of delicious Pakistani-inspired curries, invited me for supper. I took along some pide which I’d made as this month’s Fresh From the Oven baking challenge. This is a soft, slightly sweet bread, that is traditionally eaten in Turkey during Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Muslim calendar. The challenge was set by Pei Lin aka Mrs Ergül who used a recipe from Iffet’s My Turkish Kitchen. Pide is often described as Turkish pizza but this recipe was more like Turkish focaccia – light, cakey and a little sweet – perfect for dipping into spicy sauces and scooping up dhal.
The FFTO challenge is always interesting because everyone interprets the recipe in a different way. I’m always astonished how much a recipe can alter from person to person. For this reason (and probably because I’m English!) I’m not that keen on cup measurements. I think there is a bigger margin for error. For instance, filling the cup with flour; doyou level it and pack it down a bit or just loosely scoop it up? I tried to find out what a stick of butter weighed but found a variety of answers so plumped in the middle for 100g. The excellent blog by Ms Marmite Lover explored the subject of measurement a few weeks ago. Anyway, I have converted the quantities I used into grams in case you are like me. I think the proportions are correct, although my dough was not extremely sticky and the sesame seeds (I could only get white ones) did not stick very well. I think I would glaze with milk to help them cling next time. The pide is easy to make but you need to eat it within hours of making as it goes stale very quickly. It was delicious with Wasia’s courgettes and tomatoes (I wonder if she’d share the recipe?).
590g plain (4 cups) flour (all-purpose)
450ml (3/4 cup) warm water
50g (1/2 stick) melted butter
1/2 tablespoon instant dried yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
black and white sesame seeds
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (or pile onto the counter and make a large well in the middle). Add the melted butter and warm water into the well and gradually incorporate the dry ingredients from the edges until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a flat surface (the dough should be sticky) – I kneaded for about 5 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film (or a damp tea towel) and leave in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size (at least an hour). Lightly knead again to remove any air. Line a 33cm x 27cm (13″ x 10.5″) baking tray with parchment paper (my tray was 30 x 30cm). Flatten the dough out on the tray with your fingers so it reaches right to the edges. Dampen your hands with water if the dough sticks to them. Use a knife to cut the dough almost right through into equal squares (I made 16). Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top (I think you could use nigella seeds instead of black sesame seeds). Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Let the dough rise for half an hour. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pide turns light brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Cover the pide with a clean kitchen towel to keep it soft.