65. Bazlama Turkish Flatbreads

Recipe Bazlama -Turkish Flatbreads

Bazlama -Turkish Flatbreads

I’ve eaten quite a few flatbreads in my time. The most memorable being the fresh Moroccan breads purchased from a family’s converted front window along with a couple of mini bananas for essential sustenance for our 13 hour trek and overnight camp in the Sahara. I can still taste that soft fluffy white bread as I devoured it during the extreme heat wave washing it down in between swigs of proper sugary coke. The only thing that helped with the dehydration before we slept out under the stars on the hot sand.

Camel trekking into the Sahara fuelled by flatbreads

Camel trekking into the Sahara fuelled by flatbreads

I’ve been searching for a recipe that could help me recreate that moment of sheer bread delight. The kind of delicious every day bread that meets every basic need. Versatility is one of it’s many virtues, it could be a meal in itself if required or the perfect accompaniment to any dish.

Bazlama the perfect accompaniment to any meal

Bazlama the perfect accompaniment to any meal

This recipe originates from Turkey and is an absolute pleasure to make and eat. It’s an enriched dough with Greek yoghurt and oil which helps to retain it’s moisture so it keeps a little longer than it’s Moroccan counterpart which had to be eaten entirely on the first day, especially when it was over 50 degrees C most days!

Beautiful Bazlama

Beautiful Bazlama

My previous attempts at flatbread making have been a bit hit and miss. (You will not find my hideous chapattis on here yet which were more like sofa cushions than delicate wholemeal wraps.) I blamed my pan, which has lost it’s non stick entirely and adds a beautiful dusting of metal to most dishes.

Cooking in cast iron

Cooking in cast iron

I longed for cast iron cooking equipment and discovered a small cast iron frying pan in Oxfam for £3 which is a joy to use. It reaches temperatures that other pans a simply can’t maintain and needs only the tiniest drop of oil to prevent it sticking. Armed with this pan I intend to conquer flat breads once and for all.

Mix all the ingredients together to a shiny dough

Mix all the ingredients together to a shiny dough

This recipe is enough for 6 – 8 hand sized small flat breads. Mix all of the ingredients together into a shiny dough (keeping the salt away from the yeast). Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and springy. Then leave to prove at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours until at least doubled in size.

Leave the kneaded dough to prove

Leave the kneaded dough to prove

Prove the dough until doubled in size

Prove the dough until doubled in size 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and springy. Then leave to prove at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours until at least doubled in size.

Knock the dough back and knead lightly

Knock the dough back and knead lightly

Knock the dough back and gently knead it on a lightly floured surface until it comes together in to a smooth ball.

Bazlama recipeDivide the dough into 8 equal sized balls

Divide the dough into 8 equal sized balls

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, shape into a ball and cover with greased cling film.

Roll each dough ball out into a flat circle about 5mm thick Bazlama recipe

Roll each dough ball out into a flat circle about 5mm thick

Flatten each dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface . Using a rolling pin roll out each ball into a circle about 5mm thick. Cover again with greased cling film and leave to rest and prove for 15 mins, until puffed up slightly. You’ll see the yeast get to work pretty quickly when these are laid out in a warmish room.

Gently proven Bazlama ready for cooking

Gently proven Bazlama ready for cooking

Whilst the dough awàits it’s final prove, heat the frying pan adding a splash of olive oil until sizzling hot. Gently place a proven circle of dough into the scalding hot pan. It will sizzle on impact, so watch out for any splashes oil. The Bazlama will puff up even further with the heat from the pan and bubble up in some places.

Bazlama hitting the cast iron pan

Bubbling Bazlama hitting the cast iron pan

Cook the Bazlama for one minute and flip it over and cook it for another minute on the other side. It should start to turn a golden brown and crisp slightly on the outside.

Cooking in cast iron

Cooking in cast iron

You may want to flip it over again to check that the Bazlama is cooked evenly all over and reached your desired degree of brownness. I like a slightly deeper colour on my breads to add to the flavour and texture. Once it’s cooked remove it from the pan and cover with a clean tea towel to keep it warm and soft. Repeat, until you’ve cooked all the Bazlamas!

Bazlama recipe Check out that deep brown sizzle pattern

Check out that deep brown sizzle pattern

I love how each Bazlama takes on a slightly different charred pattern as it sizzles in the pan. The beauty of cooking in a cast iron pan means that if it starts to get too hot and you smell burning, just take the pan off the heat and it will continue to cook as the pan retains the heat. Once it’s cooled slightly you can safely return your pan to the heat to continue your cooking.

That pan spring! Pillowy soft Bazlamas

That pan spring! Pillowy soft Bazlamas

Cooking one side at a time gives the Bazlama the opportunity to spring up fully as the yeast activates fully reacting to the intense heat. You can see how much your Bazlama rises in the pan. Check out that fluffy white mid section at last an inch thick!

Beautiful Bazlama

Beautiful Bazlama

I adore Bazlamas. They have a wonderful chewy texture almost like a pretzel but much softer. Bazlamas are a perfect comforting addition to any meal or a meal in itself, as they are quite filling.  I served my Bazlamas with homemade Tabbouleh and hummus. Delicious!  They’re best eaten warm from the pan, but they also freeze extremely well. I defrost them in the toaster on a low setting, as I prefer to eat them warm. However they also make an excellent portable lunch and have eaten many unadulterated Bazlamas straight from my handbag whilst on foot in between meetings.

 Things I used to make my Bazlama 

  • 650g plain flour (not strong bread flour)
  • 8g instant dried yeast
  • 16g (1 tbs) caster sugar
  • 16g (1tbs) salt
  • 280g water
  • 120g Greek yoghurt
  1. Mix the ingredients together to form a dough
  2. Knead for 10 minutes til smooth and shiny
  3. Cover with greased cling film and prove until doubled in size
  4. Knock back the dough, knead and divide into 8 balls
  5. Roll out each ball to a flatbread
  6. Leave to rest for 15 minutes
  7. Cook on each side for 1 minute in a hot pan
  8. Remove from the pan and cover the cooked Bazlamas with a cloth whilst cooking the remaining Bazlama

24. Knished! – Eastern Europe

After watching a Woody Allan film ‘Whatever Works’, I was intrigued to find out exactly what a Knish is , the food that Larry David’s character loves so much.

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It turns out that it's a traditionally Jewish Pastry usually filled with oniony mashed potato. Curious, I signed myself up to the Knish challenge.

All of the recipes online varied massively. One site gave a recipe for 5 dozen or 58 knishes. This would be a bit excessive for me and my 5 friends to eat. I settled for a more basic version and (yes you guessed it) modified it slightly.

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I peeled and boiled 3 large baking potatoes but then proceeded to drop lots of them (and the glass pan lid) into the sink. So after disposing of the sink potatoes I guess I actually had about 2 and a half potatoes mashed up in the end.

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The chopped onions had to be fried in rather a lot of vegetable oil until soft and translucent whilst I messed around with pastry making.

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Its a very simple recipe with flour, oil and water. Again I threw it in the food processor to bring all the ingredients together but you could use a spoon instead 🙂

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needed kneading

It needed kneading until smooth then it needed a rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Enough time for a cup of tea and to stir the onions.

The pastry seemed a bit dry. This might be because the recipe that didn’t include an egg, where as some of the other put 1 or 2 eggs in the pastry. To remedy this I kneaded a little more water in until I was happy with it.

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Divided

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I chopped the dough into 12 pieces and rolled each piece into a thin circle about 7 inches in diameter.

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Then a quick slick of vegetable oil on the pastry before dolloping a lot of oniony mashed potato in the middle. There is no way I accurately measured this. Perhaps a handful of potato? (I’m sure this is how the professionals do it.)

I tucked up the edges and spread a little egg wash where pastry met pastry to help it seal shut (in theory).

12 Knish balls later and they were ready for a generous egg wash and the oven.

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In hindsight I should have popped a little air vent in the top of each Knish to avoid this Knish mass explosion. There was more mashed potato on the tray rather than in the Knish. This is another danger of making it up as you go along after catching a fleeting glimpse of what it should look like in a film.

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Knish Catastrophe

Nevertheless they tasted pretty good. If I’m being a little critical perhaps a tad on the greasy side, but I bet it would be a  perfect hangover cure!

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If you ignore the mashed potato hanging out the sides of the Knish it looks exactly like how I imagined it would…

There are other flavour variations you can try too if you’re not a mashed potato fan, like meat. I thinkimage its a bit like a pasty so you can have fun with it!

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Sideways Knish

Things I used:

Pastry:
1 and half cups of plain flour
1 top baking powder
Half a cup of water ( and more as needed)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Filling:
2 and a half large baking potatoes
2 large white onions
Salt
Cracked black pepper (to season)
A cup of vegetable oil

1 egg to seal and wash pastry with