This Ramazan Pidesi is an Iftar Centrepiece
Ramazan pidesi, Turkish leavened bread traditionally eaten during the evening meals of Ramadan — a month in which Muslims strictly fast from sunup to sundown — is light, chewy and covered in sesame and nigella seeds. Turkish pizza maker Serhan Ayhan of Astoria, Queens-based pizza popup Next Level Pizza created a version of the bread that cooks up in either an Ooni oven or a home oven. Glazed with egg and yogurt and dimpled in a criss-cross design, this is a bread that deserves to be the centrepiece of your iftar (the evening meal that ends the day’s fast).
If you’re not familiar with this traditional Turkish bread, here’s a short history lesson. It’s unclear when the first pidesi, or pide, was made. According to Serhan, history books indicate that in the early 1500s, the sultan issued a decree to regulate the weight of pide. During the Ottoman Empire, some people would wait in line at bakeries — even if they had to break their fast late — to get their hands on this bread. These pide lovers would bring seeds and fresh eggs to the bakers to see them lay out the toppings right in front of their eyes, Serhan told us. For Turkey, a country that’s one of the largest consumers of bread in the world, this is a sacred moment during a sacred month.
While some versions of this recipe include milk, sugar, and oil, Serhan opts for a simpler dough that uses just water, flour, yeast and salt. And the key characteristics of the bread remain: Round, flat shape, decorated with a dimpled criss-cross pattern and sprinkled with nigella seeds — an oniony black seed found in the Middle East — and/or sesame seeds.