Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bazlama, Turkish Griddled Flatbread

Bread in Turkey is a funny business. There are bakeries, but there are also identikit white loaves available from almost every corner shop and newsagent, and (almost) always at the same price.

Then there's the kind of bread you can only buy from the little old lady who turns up once a week on market day.

This is one of our favourite breads in Turkey. Otherwise known as village bread, bazlama translates as 'flatbread', and it's griddled rather than being baked in an oven. But in contrast to Lebanese flatbread, which is thin like a chapati or pizza base, the flatbread we've bought in Turkey has always been over an inch thick (and the size of a very large dinner plate).

For an easy Turkish breakfast, you could do worse than serving a wedge of this bread with tahin-pekmez, a thick paste of tahini and grape molasses. (I like to make it with approximately 1 part molasses to 2 or 3 parts tahini.)

I started from this recipe, although those instructions are for making smaller rounds. I wanted an amount that would just about fill a standard domestic frying pan - which is still smaller than the loaves we've eaten in Turkey, but large enough to act like a loaf of bread rather than an individual portion.

Bazlama, Turkish Bread
Makes 1 large loaf

350g (12oz, 2 cups) plain flour
1tsp salt
10g (1tbsp) instant dried yeast
200ml (7fl.oz) lukewarm water
  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and yeast.
  2. Add the warm water gradually, and mix with your fingers, ensuring no dry patches of flour remain. As with any bread, the exact amount of water required will depend on the humidity, so don't tip it all in at once, and be prepared to add more as required.
  3. Knead for five minutes until the dough is smooth and flexible.
  4. Cover with a damp towel (or clingfilm) and set to rise in a warm place for half an hour. I find the hearth by the stove is perfect. If you don't have a warm spot, it will just take longer to rise.
  5. Knead the dough a little more, and form into a smooth ball.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to about an inch thick, trying to keep the thickness as even as possible. The bread should be about the size of a dinner plate.
  7. Warm a dry frying pan over a medium heat, and add the bread.
  8. Cook for about five minutes on each side to begin with, then continue to turn regularly until both sides are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. On my stove, it takes about 20 minutes in total, but this will depend on the temperature you're cooking at.


Karen S Booth said...

I ALSO love this bread Rachel and when I lived in N Cyprus, I used to LOVE it with kebabs etc!

mypixieblog said...

I love that you can make this bread on a stovetop! Sounds delicious, Rachel :) And I think that with most things--the fact that they're not available all the time adds to the desirability (i.e., because you can only get market bread once a week, it makes it taste that much better!)

Rebecca Subbiah said...

looks great and loved simit in Turkey :0) and aww markets excited for them to open again

Midnight Cowgirl said...

That bread looks delicious!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Now that looks lovely.

Rachel said...

It sounds lovely, and a nice change from what we think of as "ordinary" bread here!

Rachel said...

What a simple recipe--I love fresh bread and this sounds tasty!

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