For many years Turkish flatbread, or bazlama, was the preserve of village homes. It was seldom, if ever, seen in shops. Occasionally a few of the golden doughy wheels made it to the weekly markets but these were quickly snapped up by those in the know. But now, we are pleased to report, the historic bazlama is making an remarkable comeback, particularly in Fethiye.
These days Fethiye has many bakeries selling all kinds of bread. But bazlama is different. Making it requires no new technology. Unlike most other breads it is baked on a hot iron griddle or bake stone. The craft is a tradition from Turkey’s past, from beginning to end: the only difference is that it is now being made commercially.
As a result, the bread – we think the texture is a bit like a soft crumpet – has become a regular sight in shops across Fethiye. It is also becoming a popular addition to the breadbaskets of many of the town’s restaurants.
The bazlama team
If you want to see bazlama bakers in action visit Efe Fırın on Baha Şıkman Road, Taşyaka, early in the day. Since 4am the baking team has been working hard making hundreds of delicious golden bazlama. If you can’t wait to eat it before you get home, you can eat some for breakfast while you are there, in the adjoining restaurant.
Simple ingredients are the best
Strong white flour, a little salt, yeast and water. There is a lot of kneading and some proving. The bread takes only a few minutes to cook. That’s all it takes, as you will see from the film below.
A puffy pita-style pocket
Why not rip off a chunk of soft, fresh bazlama and spread it with lashings of butter and honey? For lunch why not cut or carefully rip one in half? Open the bread with a sharp knife to make a pocket and stuff it with salad leaves, tomatoes, humus, Muhammara – or any other filling that takes your fancy. Served in this way they can become a meal in themselves for a packed lunch or a picnic. In the evening, warmed through, they make a great addition to any bread basket and are ideal for dips and sulu yemek.
Fresh bazlama even if you’re not in Turkey
But what do you do if you don’t live in Turkey? A video from Saniye Anne Yemekleri shows you how to make bazlama at home and practice your Turkish at the same time. If you want to be completely authentic and use a tabla, the traditional wooden “bat” used for bread making, read about what you need here.
The amounts are given below:
1 kilo of strong white flour
a packet of yeast
a jug of warm water
a pinch of salt
If you are not used to making bread, it is worth doing some more research before you start on this adventure.
Also, use a cast iron pan, if you have one. It helps to spread the heat evenly and stops the bread from burning.