Most people who visit Turkey fall in love with Turkish bread right from that very first moment when it passes their lips. When fresh, the standard Turkish loaf should be crisp on the outside and soft and light in the centre.
Upon sitting down to a meal, the diner insists to themselves, “Only a couple of slices of bread. Mustn’t eat too much bread.” And then they go ahead, tuck in, and before they know it, they’ve emptied the basket. That’s how good Turkish bread is…when it’s fresh.
And the best place to by your bread, fresh from the oven, is from the local bakery. These days, the local Turkish bakeries face stiff competition from supermarkets but those who know their bread will go out of their way to shop local.
And just as we like to support our local pazar, we make an effort to use our local bakery, too.
But local bakeries also have other treats on offer if you can get there earlier enough. If we’re going out for the day, rather than spend time making up sandwiches at home, we like to go to our local bakery and stock up on goodies to take with us. It’s no more expensive than making up your own picnic.
Last year, we posted about our day trip to Letoon and Xanthos and this was one of those days where we were up bright and early and straight to the bakery before heading to the dolmuş station.
We know if we catch our bakery at the right time, they sometimes have a tray of freshly baked börek which you can buy by the slice. There were two slices left when we got there.
We knew exactly where we were going to eat lunch. There’s something special about sitting on the steps of an ancient Roman theatre – especially when you’re the only two people there – watching over the village of Kumluova and eating lunch.
The archaeological site of Letoon was to be the setting for our food stop.
We’d packed a tub of turşu (Turkish pickled vegetables and fruits) at home – no Turkish meal is complete without turşu. The börek was loosely coiled, similar to the one in our cheese and spinach börek recipe and each coil was filled with minced meat and soft onion.
Afterwards, we shared a sesame-seed-coated bread which had been slightly hollowed out and filled with kaşar cheese – kaşarlı simit – before being placed back in the oven to melt the filling.
The dough was very similar to simit bread and was another treat from our local bakery. Total cost for two meat-filled slices of börek and a very filling cheesy bread: 6 TL between us. Perfect.
We never get our taste buds ready for the treats of our local bakery purely because we never know what we’re going to get. Sometimes, it’s nothing! All they have available is bread in various guises and simit.
But other times, you might get börek filled with cheese or yeşillik (fresh green leaves and herbs), cheese breads like the one above, sometimes there’s lengths of closed pide filled with spicy meats, and sometimes there’s even little home made cakes and biscuits. We just don’t know.
What we do know is, it’s always cheap, homemade and, most importantly, it’s always filling and gloriously tasty!
Do you have a local bakery in Turkey that does extra treats? Go on, tempt us.