Follow our Turkish balloon bread recipe and you’re going to be transported right back to your Turkish summer holidays.
Most people who know the country will have a memory of that first time they sat down in a Turkish restaurant and ordered food.
And then, before the meal arrives, a real WOW centrepiece is brought to the table. The famous Turkish balloon bread or puffy bread.
Balon lavaş, to give its Turkish name.
And not just the balloon bread, but lots of tasty dips and accompaniments to go with it.
The more of you there are round the table, the longer the balloon bread – or breads. And if there’s just the two of you, you sometimes get a dinky circular one.
All thoughts of your meal-yet-to-come slip from your mind as everyone starts to tuck in.
Turkish balloon bread is THE tear and share treat.
But not to be torn without first jabbing your fork into the ‘balloon’ to deflate it. Expect burnt fingers if not.
The problem is, though, the hotter the better. As far as we’re concerned, at least
So, yeah, you’ve still got to get in there and risk that burning tingling of the fingertips so you can tear off your share and get the oodles of butter daubed into the middle.
Set the melting process in motion before choosing which of the meze selection you’ll enjoy your delicious bread with.
Turkish Balloon Bread Dips
There’s no hard and fast rule that dictates the meze dishes you need to have with your balloon bread.
- If you want to be really old school and traditional, chunks of unsalted village butter should be on the table. If the chef has seen fit to mix the butter with some garlic, herbs and paprika, even better.
- And then you need a side plate with some super strong, crumbled Turkish tulum goat cheese with walnuts crumbled over the top.
- Two other staples that are rarely absent from the balloon bread table are a minty yoghurt dip and a spicy tomato ezme. Hot balloon lavaş bread with melted butter and a scoop of ezme – oh yes!
But when you’re in Turkish restaurants, each one likes to add a little bit of variety. So you can, too when you do your homemade bread.
This restaurant (Babzen Kebab in Çalış), for example, served up some ciğ köfte and also the popular carrot yoghurt dip.
Lots to enjoy there before we tucked into our subsequent kebab meals!
Where To Enjoy Balloon Bread In Turkey
If you’re in Turkey and you don’t want to miss out on the classic puff bread experience, look out for the restaurants that advertise it.
In tourist resorts, they’re usually easy to spot.
Some Fethiye restaurants, for example, will even have a table outside with an actual puffed bread placed on it. A sign will tell you there’s ‘free puffy bread with meals.’
A great way to entice customers!
If it’s not immediately obvious, it’s usually the resort restaurants that also serve pide and lahmacun that will also have balloon bread on offer.
If they’re doing pide and lahmacun, that means they have the hot stone oven where they can also bake your bread.
How To Make Turkish Balloon Bread
And if you can’t be in your favourite turkish restaurant enjoying their balloon bread, then bring that experience into your own home. This is a remarkably quick and easy bread recipe!
Great for busy weeknights as well as leisurely weekends.
Why? Because authentic Turkish lavaş is an unleavened bread.
No yeast mixture to make. No waiting for your ball of dough to rise and prove.
This is a homemade no yeast bread!
Only Four Ingredients
We’re using just four basic ingredients (full recipe with ingredient quantities and method is at the bottom of this article).
- All purpose (plain) flour
- Thick natural yoghurt
- Lukewarm water
- A pinch of salt
Oh, unless you want to sprinkle some nigella seeds (çörek otu) over the top, that is. We do.
Bring Your Dough Together
And the process is really simple.
We just need a large bowl or a mixing bowl and, after weighing the flour, we empty it into the bowl.
We make a little well in the middle for our salt, water and yoghurt to make it a bit easier to bring our dough together.
Use a spoon to stir the mixture together for a few seconds. And, when it starts coming together, get your hand in there to start making a dough ball.
It might feel dry and crumbly at first, but keep bringing your piece of dough together until you’ve scooped up all the crumbly bits at the bottom of your bowl.
Some people use a stand mixer for this. But we’re doing a quick way of making bread. And for us, it just seems more efficient to get on with it and make your dough by hand. It takes minutes.
When your dough ball has come together, knead it for a few minutes on a clean work surface until you have a moist, sticky dough.
And now you can place it in plastic wrap to let the dough rest and refrigerate until you’re ready to make your balloon bread.
I sometimes make my dough the night before.
Time To Make Your Balloon Bread
For best results, Turkish balloon bread needs to be served immediately. So if you’re making meze plates and dips to go with it, prepare these in advance and get them out on the table.
You can also remove your dough from the fridge and allow it to start to come to room temperature.
The next trick is to make sure you have a preheated oven. A very hot oven is essential for this puff bread recipe.
Minimum 230 degrees Celsius (450 degrees f).
Heat your baking sheet or baking tray, too. If you have a pizza stone – or a pizza oven – even better!
Just keep in mind: Hot, hot, hot! No heat, no balloon!
Whilst all that is happening, cut your dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces.
Take one of your pieces of dough and place on a lightly floured surface.
Pat it down into a round shape, sprinkle with a little flour and then roll it out as thinly as you can. You need around 2-3 mm thickness.
We then put our dough onto piece of greaseproof / parchment paper purely for ease of transfer to the oven.
Sprinkle the top of your dough with nigella seeds (if you’re using them) and then transfer it to your hot baking sheet and place it at the bottom of the oven.
Watch The Balloon
And then it’s time for the magical science bit.
After a couple of minutes, if you have a glass door in your oven, you’ll be able to watch your dough star to puff up and balloon.
Apparently, the process is caused by steam rising in the bread – just like with pita puffs – hence why it’s wise to prod the hot balloon bread with a fork before you delve in to eat it.
Release that steam!
Our oven is only small and doesn’t get super hot so we only do one balloon bread at a time.
You can do more than one at once, if you like.
You can roll your other dough balls whilst the bread is cooking.
Once your dough has puffed up in the oven and got a little bit of colour on it, it’s done. This only takes a few minutes – again, dependent on your oven.
Remove it and, if you’re cooking more, place your next flatbread into the oven.
Meanwhile, you can start to enjoy your freshly made, hot balloon bread.
As you can see in the photo, we served ours with butter, minty yoghurt dip, spicy ezme and a mung bean salad bowl.
Tear a piece of the bread, open up that hollow centre and get lashings of butter in there and bit of ezme. Delightful!
Balloon Puff Bread – FAQs
Yes. I often make my dough the day before. Make sure your dough is wrapped in plastic wrap or cling film.
It will keep in the fridge for around 3 days.
Yes. Make sure it’s in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Allow it to defrost to room temperature before using.
Yes you can. You can also use whole wheat flour if you don’t want to use plain white flour.
If your oven is not hot enough, you will end up with a flat pita bread. The heat in the oven causes steam to rise inside your bread, making it puff up.
Make sure your baking sheet or pizza stone is hot before placing your dough onto it.
Homemade Turkish Balloon Bread Recipe – Balon Lavaş
Puffy Balloon Bread Recipe – Balon Lavaş
- 1 Mixing bowl or large bowl
- 1 Baking sheet or oven tray
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 1 Kitchen scales
- 1 Measuring jug
- 1 Greaseproof or parchment paper cut to size
- 325 grams Plain (all purpose) flour
- 60 millilitres thick natural yoghurt
- 125 millilitres water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds optional
- First of all, add your flour to your mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
- Mix your water and yoghurt together and add this to the centre of the well along with the salt.
- Start to bring the dough mixture together with a spoon until you get some small clumps.
- Now use your hand to start to bring the dough together. Keep going until you have scooped up all the crumbly bits around the bottom of your bowl.
- When you have a dough ball, place it onto a clean surface and knead for a few minutes until you have a moist, slightly sticky dough.
- Wrap the balloon bread dough in plastic and place in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes to rest.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to the hottest setting with your baking sheet inside.
- Remove your dough ball from the fridge and divide into 3 or 4 equal pieces.
- Place one of the pieces of dough on a lightly floıured surface and pat it down into a circular or rectangual shape.
- Dust the dough with a little flour and use your rolling pin to roll it thinly – until it is 2-3 millimetres thick.
- Place your dough onto your greaseproof paper and sprinkle with nigella seeds (çörek otu) if using.
- Now remove your hot baking sheet from the oven and transfer your paper and dough to the sheet.
- Place in the bottom of your hot oven immediately.
- Watch your dough as it starts to puff and balloon.
- Once it begins to colour on top, it is cooked.
- Remove your balloon bread from the oven and serve immediately with butter and dips.
- As with all of our recipes, the calorie count for our balloon bread is approximate and meant as a rough guide, only.
- Calories are based on the dough being divided into 4 breads for 1 balloon bread per person.
- Our recipe makes 3 to 4 individual balloon breads. Our oven is small which is why we make them this way. Feel free to make one large puffy balloon bread if you have the oven space.
- It is very important that you knead your dough for a few minutes and also have a very hot oven. If you oven isn’t hot enough, your balloon bread will remain a flatbread. Still nice, but not the effect you were looking for.
Monday 1st of May 2023
I love your recipe it's fool proof. I've now made it both ways on the day and the day before. It causes such fun for guests to see whilst they watch it bake. Thank you x
Turkey's For Life
Wednesday 17th of May 2023
Hi Susan, thanks so much for your comment and recipe rating. Much appreciated! :) Glad your guests enjoy watching the balloon bread balloon! :) And happy the recipe works for you.
Saturday 18th of March 2023
Can't wait to try it! Thanks again
Turkey's For Life
Monday 20th of March 2023
Hi Betty, thanks a lot for your comment. Hope you like it when you try it. :)
Saturday 18th of March 2023
Thank u always wondered how it was made
Turkey's For Life
Monday 20th of March 2023
Hi Rosie, thanks a lot for your comment and 5-star recipe rating. Much appreciates. :) Think the balloon bread recipe is a lot easier than people think, isn't it. :)