Ramadan and Pide…

Ramadan is a month long fasting period in Islam world that teaches patience,self-control, sacrifice and empathy for those who are less fortunate, encourages spirituality and giving.

In a country like Turkey where 98% of the population is Muslim, Ramadan assumes not only a religious status but also a cultural one. The life is re-arranged, more people than the usual are invited to our houses for iftar (breaking the fast), gathering around the table, and waiting for the signal that says it is time to break our fast with a date or olive.

It seemed to me though, that self-control went out of the window once it was iftar time. The amount and variety of food on tables always astonished me. Eating late and a lot before the next day’s fast always led to weight gains in my family. If we were eating alone, it was easier to stop but we had constantly more than 10 people around the table. When we had a crowd, the evening and night progressed like this:

– eat dinner, clear the table, talk about what dessert to serve with evening tea

– do the dishes, make the tea, serve the dessert, talk about what fruit to serve after dessert

-collect the empty dessert plates, refill the empty tea glasses, start peeling different fruits, cut them up

– contemplate if we should serve nuts and roasted chickpeas with the fruit

– serve the fruit, nuts and roasted chickpeas, ask who wants Turkish coffee, take the orders of how many sweet or un-sweet coffee

-serve Turkish coffee

– complain about stomach ache and take something similar to Zantac or Tums

Some people start fasting without getting up for sahur, the breakfast time before the sun rises and fasting begins. Though we ate a lot during iftar, my family firmly believed in breakfast. Only my brother would rather sleep than eat, and he barely wakes up to eat if he is by himself. I remember my grandfather waking us up with a one-ring only phone call. He would ring it just once and hang it up. That meant “Get Up!”. We were supposed to ring their phone once when we were up. If we did not, he would bang on the exposed heat pipes that would go through all of our condos to wake us up. We all lived in the same building, in different condos. And I am sure with him banging on the pipe, many more people in the building got up for sahur, whether they wanted it or not!

We could always count on him, more than the alarm clocks.

When I think about Ramadan back home, I remember these little details. And pide… Bread bakeries make this bread, Ramadan pide, everyday during only that month. I would wait in line before iftar to buy a couple of them for dinner. I longed for this bread here a lot but then I found 40 Firin Ekmek recipe site and have been using her pide recipe. It takes time and dough is sticky to deal with, especially while trying to slide it onto the oven stone. But all worth it.

The real pide is lighter color than the one in my pictures. The reason for that was the oven malfunction. My husband fixed my oven igniter but once he put it back in service, he forgot to turn on the air valve back to its original location. So I assume it got much hotter than the usual in the oven and we realized it after I baked the pides. I should have had a trial run. Oh well, live and learn!

In 40 Firin Ekmek site, she mixes a portion of water, flour and yeast to make the sponge, leaves it in the fridge overnight. I normally do it her way but today, I mixed everything in the morning and let it rise for 6-7 hours, then baked in the afternoon. I did not taste any difference but next time, I will try both ways side by side to catch the minute difference that might happen in the texture and in the taste…if there is any!

Hope you enjoy pide! Afiyet Olsun!

Ramadan Pide

From www.40firinekmek.com

  • 4-1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cup warm water
  • Topping: 1 teaspoon yogurt, 1 teaspoon water, 1 egg yolk – mix well.
  • Nigella seeds

1. Mix flour,yeast, salt together.

2. Whisk olive oil, molasses and milk in a bowl.

3. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined well.

4. Add warm water and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes. The dough should come together but still be little bit sticky.

5. Let it rise until it doubles in size.

6. Cut the dough in three equal portions. Stretch them out to 8-inch diameter circles.Generously sprinkle cornmeal on the pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet. Place the pides.

7. Cover and let it rest for another 30 min.

8. Turn on the oven to the highest setting. Put baking stone on the middle rack. Place a ramekin full of water in the back of the oven.

9. Whisk yogurt, water and egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush it onto all three pides.

10. Press the handle of a wooden spoon on pide, leaving dents on the pides in square shapes.Sprinkle nigella seeds.

11. Slide them onto baking stone, turn the oven heat down to 500 F.

12. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

13. Keep them covered with a clean dish towel until dinner. It is best when eaten the same day.

 

 

 

5 Comments:

  1. by Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen
    11:49 pm
    Aug 21, 2011

    Lovely bread, and a very interesting post. I loved reading about your childhood experience with Ramadan. When I read that you drank Turkish coffee, it made me smile. My husband drinks it every morning, it’s the only thing that will wake him up. He loves it. I can’t drink much of it, though– it’s really strong! :)

  2. by Joy in DC
    9:57 am
    Sep 4, 2011

    Hello! I made your recipe (following your long rise, and not the overnight rise of the original recipe) a few weeks ago and I really like it. You can really taste the molasses which is a little different than other pide I’ve eaten (my husband really liked tasting the molasses in it). I’ll definitely be baking this again!

  3. by Ilke
    10:13 am
    Sep 4, 2011

    Thanks Joy! Glad you guys liked it. It is very close to the ones in Turkey. I am so thankful to have found the 40firinekmek website.

  4. by Nadine
    4:58 pm
    Apr 3, 2012

    Oh boy I am so happy to have found your site…I love ramadan pide..but I have a silly question..where do you exactly put the bowl of water..is it on the lowest rack? I am confused when you say in the back of the oven (I am assuming it is to prevent the bread from drying out)thank you.

  5. by Ilke
    5:31 pm
    Apr 3, 2012

    Hi Nadine… It is very valid question. I put in the middle rack because my tiles cover up the whole surface, andI was afraid that steam was going to have hard time circulating through the lowest rack. But usually it is placed on the lower rack.

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