I scored a couple of fantastic gifts when I recently left my long time employer. One was a whizz bang blender (no doubt the subject of another post, soon) and, a copy of Greg & Lucy Malouf’s ‘Turquoise’. I’m a bit obsessive when I get a new cookbook – I like to sit down and read the book from cover to cover before I start on the recipes. My favourite books are those that include plenty of context about how the recipes developed and evolved or where the writer was when they made a food discovery. The Maloufs fall into this category and Turquoise is a beautiful hard cover, full of photos, stories and recipes of Turkey. I’ve got quite a few books queued for reading and am saving them up for the Christmas break. None the less, I couldn’t resist and dipped in, on the weekend. The result was my first ever attempt at Pide or Turkish Flatbread. It was quite easy to make and, utterly delicious. You will need at least one pizza stone for this and nowadays, they can be picked up for less than $10 at Aldi and various two dollar shops.
- 1 x tbsp dried yeast (2 x 7g sachets)
- pinch of caster sugar or 1/2 tsp honey
- 375ml warm water
- 480g strong bread flour, sifted
- 1 x tspn salt
- 60ml olive oil
- 30ml milk
- nigella (kalonji) or sesame seeds to scatter
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in 125ml of warm water (stir briefly) and set aside in warm place for 10 mins to allow yeast to activate (it will be frothy).
- Using your fingers, work 90g of the flour into the yeast to make a sloppy paste. Sprinkle a little extra flour on top, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 mins to create a ‘sponge’.
- Place remaining flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add sponge (yeast mix), remaining water and oil. Use your fingers to work the mixture together to form a soft, sticky dough. The mix will be very sticky so try to use only one hand if possible.
- Transfer to an electric mixer with a dough hook and knead on a low speed for 10 – 15 minutes until smooth and springy OR, if you don’t have a dough hook (like me), use a very sturdy spoon to mix the dough in the bowl. Put plenty of elbow grease in, using a drag and lift motion to incorporate some air. I lasted 8 minutes.
- Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, loosely cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap and set aside in warm place for an hour until dough has doubled.
- Once dough has risen, divide into two balls and set aside whilst oven heats.
- Preheat oven to its highest setting (probably around 250c) and place two pizza stones in to heat
- Place a ball of dough on a floured work surface and lightly press into a 20cm oval with floured hands – it need to fit on the round stone so make sure it’s not too long.
- Press indentations into bread with your fingers, running along the length. Mix egg and milk to make a wash and brush over bread. Sprinkle with nigella or sesame seeds.
- Remove pizza stones from oven (careful, they are hot!), scatter some plain flour onto the stones to prevent sticking and then carefully lift bread onto the stone. You can stretch them a little but they will start to crisp on contact with the hot stones so work quickly.
- Turn oven down to 200c and bake for 8 – 10 mins until golden. Best served warm but not hot
– There are quite a few steps in this recipe but they are all easy so persevere
– Don’t be put off if you don’t have a dough hook – using the spoon was very successful
– The flour on the pizza stone will brown on contact with heat – don’t worry, nothing will happen and it’s not in the oven long enough to burn.
– I added a large handful of chopped chives which gave the bread a nice garlicky flavour without being too strong.
– I halved the recipe and made only one, which I now regret as we could have consumed a whole bread each!
To all of you whom I’ve given pizza stones to as gifts and you think they’re useless kitchenalia, here’s another use for them – as if producing great pizza wasn’t enough!