The secret to making divine bread at home
Lexie Smith’s recipe for traditional Turkish Pide will (or, it might) make you never want to buy bread again.
To Lexie Smith – a New York-based baker – bread is much more than nutrition. From the physical process of making it, to the childhood memories stirred up by the aroma… Her recipe for traditional Turkish Pide might make you may never want to buy bread again. Let's get back to the basics, use our hands, and remember what it is like to share bread in our community, no matter how great or small.
LEXIE’S TURKISH PIDE
560 g of flour (preferably organic, stone milled, or otherwise responsibly harvested and processed)
2 tablespoons yeast
8 g of salt
20 g honey
20 g olive oil
420 g milk, warm
2 tablespoons milk
Nigella sativa (black cumin)
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl while you heat the milk. Once heated to about body temperature, mix in the honey and oil. Pour all of it into the dry ingredients and stir to combine (use your hands!) If it feels rough and a bit dry, add a tablespoon more milk (depending on your flour, it may take more hydration).
Knead all dough ingredients together until smooth – this will take 10-15 minutes by hand (you can let it rest under a towel for a minute or two throughout the process). Start in the bowl and then move to a clean countertop to finish the kneading. The kneading will take about half the time in a mixer on medium-low speed.
Once smooth and elastic, though still a bit sticky to the touch, form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Coat with a bit of oil and cover with plastic or a towel. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.
Line and grease a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Once domed light, press your hands into the dough to degas most of the bubbles. Dump dough onto the counter and cut into two equal pieces. Gently shape into rectangles and spread on the baking tray, leaving at least two inches between the loaves. Push and pull the dough into rectangles that are about 1 inch thick. If the dough springs back, let it rest for a moment before you continue. Brush or spray once more with oil and cover as it proofs. Proof dough for 40 minutes in a warm spot as you preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
Mix the yolks, milk and pinch of salt thoroughly in a small bowl and set aside. Dimple dough with damp hands, making whatever pattern you like. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle generously with nigella, sesame seeds and coarse salt.
Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until a rich golden brown. I've found that the time this bread needs to bake varies based on the oven you're using, so just look for a rich, deep golden hue all over the top crust, and you'll know you're ready to eat. Once baked, cool bread on wire rack for 5 or 10 mins, or as long as you can stand. The bread will soften as it cools.
This bread is great with bright, juicy astringent things – purple slaw (thinly sliced cabbage tossed in some glugs of white balsamic or rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lots of salt, and some honey to taste, with plenty of toasted sesame seeds), pickled soft-boiled eggs, peppery greens, yogurt and tahini – or just about anything you can think of.