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Turkish Pide Breads
2¼ hours 30 minutes active
The Turkish name for this bread is pide ekmeği, which translates as “pita bread.” But these are not the thin, pocketed flatbreads familiar to most Americans. Pide ekmeği are roughly the size of a small pizza, with an airy, open crumb and a tender, almost pillowy quality. Sometimes a sprinkling of seeds adds texture and flavor. We encountered pide ekmeği served alongside tepsi kebabı, or “tray kebab,” during a visit to Türkiye. We tried basic bread-making formulas, but ultimately found that starting with a sponge—a mixture of yeast, flour and water that becomes bubbly after standing for 30 minutes—produced breads with not only the lightness we were after, but also a more complex flavor. For dusting the breads just before baking, we use nigella seeds, which have an earthy, slightly bitter flavor with notes of allium. Sesame seeds are good, too—or use a combination. The bread is best served warm or at room temperature the day of baking, but foil-wrapped leftovers reheat well in a 400°F oven in about 10 minutes.
cups warm water (110°F), divided
teaspoons instant yeast