Ramazan Pide Bread – A Special Treat For The Holy Month

Turkish bread is nothing short of paradise to your taste buds! Whenever friends come to see us, one of the first things they want to do is go to the nearest little bakery or market and buy some fresh bread. It’s just so warm, crusty on the outside, hollow-sounding, soft-centred, light…the perfect bread. We’re not being biased here. It’s that good! And the special Ramazan pide bread eaten during the holy month is no different!

Bread & Turkish Culture

Bread is hugely important to Turkish culture. It is treated with respect. Traditionally, it’s eaten with every meal and it should certainly never go to waste. This is seen as disrespectful as it is the staple of all foods. If times are tough and food is short, there’s always bread! So, the local bakery, with it’s huge stone oven (thankfully, for these two bread lovers), is still very much a part of the Turkish neighbourhood. And, during Ramazan, these bakeries will be extra busy, baking the special Ramazan pide bread.

Turkish Bread Selection

Turkish pide bread in the window of our local bakery

Ramazan Pide Bread

This type of pide bread is not to be confused with the delicious savoury pide you eat in restaurants around Turkey. The pronunciation is the same (pee-deh) and they are both types of flat bread. But the Ramazan pidesi is an out and out loaf, slightly risen. The baker will shape it into a round, he’ll crisscross it with patters or press dimples into it with his fingers. Then he’ll sprinkle the dough with sesame seeds and nigella seeds before sliding it into the abyss of the fırın (the stone oven) to bake.

Ramazan Pide Bread

This warm, Ramazan pide bread was sold before we left the shop

During Ramazan in Fethiye, just before sunset, there will be a buzz around the local bakery. The fırın will be packed with pide bread, the freshly baked rounds will be stacked high on the counters (no time to put them on display) and the queue will often snake through the shop, spilling onto the pavement outside.

Aroma Of freshly Baked Pide Bread

Imagine that aroma of all those freshly baked loaves wafting through the early evening air. Some of those in the queue will have fasted throughout the daylight hours. Imagine how dreamlike that aroma must be for them! Many of us in the queue – because we love the Ramazan pidesi, too – won’t have fasted. But, everyone takes part in the eating of this special bread.

Ramazan pide bread

Large and small Ramazan pide breads are available

Just before sunset, as families prepare for Iftar (the breaking of the fast) local bakeries are almost unbearably hot; fans whirring, pide bread glowing in the oven, customers being served at breakneck speed. Well, we’re all here for the same thing, aren’t we? It’s a conveyor belt. No time for small talk now. Choose your loaf, get it wrapped in paper (you don’t want it to sweat because it’s still warm), pay your cash and leave the building. ‘Next please!’ The sunset waits for no one!

Turkish Bread Ovens

The baker wears a vest – it’s hot work by the bread oven

These days, we live in a (dietary) world of, “I’m not eating bread. I’m not eating carbs. That’s the only way to lose weight.” Ahh, well, this is Turkey. And in Turkey, we love our bread. Really, why on earth are we going to deprive ourselves of that pure simple joy of walking back from the bakery at sunset, warm pide bread wrapped in paper, and sneaking a little chunk of it before reaching home? It’s very rare a Ramazan Pidesi makes it back to the house completely intact!

Why Eat Pide Bread?

We’re not Muslim and, of course, we don’t do Iftar (the meal people eat after sundown during Ramazan).  So why do we take ourselves off to the local bakery to join the clamour for fresh pide bread? Well, in Fethiye, Ramazan can kind of happen all around you without you really noticing. Aside from our love of freshly baked bread, the special pide bread is just our little way of taking part and acknowledging that it is a special time.

Amongst other things, Ramazan is a time for sharing and the pide bread is shaped so that it’s easy to tear and share. Even if there’s just the two of us, in our house, we love to tear and share the fresh pide bread dipped into Barry’s homemade jalfrezi! Sometimes, we’ll even splash out and put a bit of garlic butter on it, too. And leftovers don’t go to waste, of course. We use the rest as a special accompaniment to our Turkish beef saute recipe.

Just a quick tip:

Turkish bread is baked fresh, daily. It doesn’t have preservatives so it tends to go soft and chewy after just a few hours. If this happens to you and you don’t fancy toast instead, stick it in the oven on around 150 degrees for about 5 minutes and you’ll get that ‘just-baked’ texture back.

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Comments

  1. I could live on good bread alone, with some olive oil or good butter. I’m planning to come to Turkey for the first time next spring and can’t wait to try to bread and other food!

    We’ve lived in Palestine (Ramallah) and Armenia, and the bread there is also fabulous, straight out of the ovens all day long, always fresh.

    Thanks for the pictures. Now I’m hungry and here in Moldova decent bread is available only in a few places mid morning. So I’d better go find me some.

  2. @ Miss Footloose: Wow, hope you enjoy Turkey. We’re sure you will! 🙂 You’ve lived in lots of interesting places. Mmmm, yes. Bread out of the ovens. Hope you managed to find some.

  3. @ Miss Footloose: Wow, hope you enjoy Turkey. We’re sure you will! 🙂 You’ve lived in lots of interesting places. Mmmm, yes. Bread out of the ovens. Hope you managed to find some.

  4. As a proper Italian I absolutely love anything that has to do with bread, and Turkish bread is delicious!

  5. @ Angela: Oh, we just love Italian bread too but you’re right, Turkish bread is delicious, especially this pide bread. 🙂

  6. i’d love to see the recipe for Barry’s potato and aubergine jalfrezi. It might not be so Turkish but it sounds delicious!

  7. @ Anonymous: It’s lovely! We eat it a lot because we always seem to have lots of potatoes and aubergines in the house when there’s nothing else. 🙂 We’ll put it on here one day.

  8. I’ve never been to Turkey therefore I’ve never had Turkish bread. I’m a big bakery’s fan, I can eat good bread on its own and those pictures are very tempting, I wish I was there to have some too! Enjoy for me too!

  9. @ Franca: If you love bread so much then you really need to come to Turkey. The bread is just fab, here. 🙂

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