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A Ramazan Pidesi being taken out of an Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven

Ramazan Pidesi

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 centerpiece of your iftar (the evening meal that ends the day’s fast).  

In order to make a pidesi recipe that’s versatile, Serhan provides a few different options for cooking. Yeast, salt and temperature can all vary slightly depending on your preferences.

Designed to work whether you prefer sourdough or instant yeast, Serhan’s recipe includes techniques for both. If baking with sourdough starter, you’ll need to add one day to the recipe time, as you’ll have to make a levain (a mixture of water, flour and sourdough starter) and leave it to pre-ferment overnight before adding it to the rest of the mix.

You can change the amount of salt you add to the recipe-anything between 15 to 20 grams will work-but keep in mind that the less salt used the more slack this dough will be. Serhan prefers diluting the salt in about 25g of the recipe’s water and adding it after the initial mix.

Finally, there’s room to play with the temperature of your oven, anywhere from 450° to 600°F (230° to 315°C). Pidesi baked at a higher temperature (550° to 600°F/290° to 315°C) may be done in 4 to 6 minutes and yield a softer bread with nice charring, whereas the same dough baked at a lower temperature (450° to- 550°F / 230° to 290°C) may be done in 6 to 12 minutes (or longer) and yield a crispier bread that has an even, golden brown crust.

This recipe is featured in This Ramazan Pidesi is an Iftar Centerpiece.”

Time
10 hours (1 hour active, 9 hours passive)

Yield
3 x 12-inch pides

Equipment
dough scraper
scale
Ooni pizza oven
pastry brush
Ooni Infrared thermometer

Ingredients
For the dough (sourdough version)
7 cups (900 grams) bread flour (12 to 13% protein)
¾ cup (100 grams) whole wheat flour
24 fluid ounces (700 grams) warm water, about 80°Fs
200 grams young levain
2 ½ to 3 teaspoons (15 to 20 grams) fine sea salt

For the dough (Instant yeast version)
7 ¾ cups (1000 grams) bread flour (12 to 13% protein)
¾ cup (100 grams) whole wheat flour
27 fluid ounces (800 grams) warm water, about 90 to 95°F
2 ½ to 3 teaspoons (15 to 20 grams) fine sea salt
1 teaspoon (4 grams) instant dry yeast

For the glaze
1 egg
2 teaspoons (10 grams) water
2 tablespoons (20 grams) plain full-fat yogurt
3 grams sesame seeds
3 grams nigella seeds
3 grams flaky salt

A variety of spices in white bowls
Method
If you’re making the dough using instant dry yeast, skip to the next step. If using sourdough starter:

Ensure that your starter is well-fed (usually 3 feedings about 10 to 12 hours apart, depending on the temperature) before building the levain. The night before making your dough, mix about one tablespoon (about 25 grams) of the mature starter into 100 grams of water and 100 grams of bread flour.

Mix
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, water, salt and yeast (or levain, if using). Mix by hand until just incorporated. Cover the bowl and let your dough rest for about 20 minutes.

Ramazan Pidesi dough being poured from one metal bowl into another

Mix by hand until just incorporated. 

Ramazan Pidesi dough being mixed in a metal bowl by hand

Ramazan Pidesi dough being mixed in a bowl by hand

Cover and rest for about 20 minutes.

Ramazan Pidesi dough in a metal bowl about to be covered with a tea towel

After about 20 minutes, reach underneath the dough with a wet hand and pull about a quarter of it out, stretching until you feel resistance. Pull this section over the top to the other side of the dough. Repeat for each side of the dough, strengthening the gluten. Invert the entire dough in the bowl when finished and cover to rest.

Ramazan Pidesi dough being stretched in a metal bowl by hand

Ramazan Pidesi dough in a silver bowl about to be covered with a damp tea towel

Repeat this series of stretches and folds every 30 minutes about 3 or 4 times, allowing the dough to bulk ferment for a total of 3 to 5 hours, depending on the room temperature and humidity. Bulk fermenting simply means allowing dough to rest and proof in one mass before making into loaves. By the end of the bulk fermentation, the dough should feel bubbly, and it should have increased in volume by at least 20%.

Carefully dump the dough onto a work surface and portion it into 3 equal pieces using a bench scraper and scale. Each piece should weigh 620 to 630-grams, or about 22 ounces. Try not to push too much air out of your dough.

A ball of dough being shaped next to a digital scale and a dough scraper

Shape each dough ball into a round. To roll rounds by hand, take an open hand on one side of the dough, then turn and tighten until you have a circular dough ball. You can use a bench knife in place of your open hand to help turn and tighten the dough if you want to. 

Cover the dough balls and let them rest for about 20 minutes after this initial shaping. Then, shape them again to strengthen the dough even more. The top of the dough ball should be taut. Be careful to not degas the dough or over tighten and accidentally tear its surface. 

Dough being balled by hand next to a digital scale

If you plan to bake the same day, allow the lightly floured dough balls (while covered) to rise at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours before baking.

If you are not baking that same day, you can store the dough balls in the refrigerator after lightly flouring their surfaces. Doing this will allow them to continue to ferment (generally, the levain dough will be good the next day and the yeasted dough up to 2 days). Be sure to remove the dough at least 3 hours before baking to make it easier to shape and to prevent the dough from ballooning during the bake.

To make the glaze, mix together one egg, 10 grams water and 20 grams yogurt using a fork or a whisk until well combined. 

An egg being cracked into a white bowl

Lightly flour the surface of your peel or baking pan. Place the dough ball on the pan, seam down. With a clean (or gloved) hand, gently press out the dough until it is a wide circle, being careful to not degas the dough. 

Ramazan Pidesi dough being flattened into a circular shape

Using your hands or a pastry brush, cover your dough with the glaze mixture. 

Ramazan Pidesi dough being brushed with beaten egg

To create the pattern, first use your fingers or the side of your hand to press the dough down and create a ½-inch-wide rim around the edge (this is optional — you can simply create the weave pattern). 

Next, create the weave pattern. Use the same technique, starting in one direction and then in the other to form perpendicular lines.

Ramazan Pidesi dough brushed in egg being flattened by hand

Ramazan Pidesi dough being shaped on a perforated pizza peel

Ramazan Pidesi dough being shaped into a circle on a perforated pizza peel

Brush on the glaze once more and repeat the pattern to ensure its definition does not get lost during the bake.

Sprinkle flaky salt, nigella and sesame seeds on top of the dough.

Ramazan Pidesi dough brushed with egg wash being sprinkled with nigella seeds

There are a few approaches, but in general, we want to ensure that the inside and bottom of the pide are sufficiently baked. 

A pide baked at a higher temperature (550° to 600°F/290° to 315°C) may be done in 4 to 6 minutes and yield a softer bread with nice charring, whereas the same dough baked at a lower temperature (450° to 550°F /230° to 290°C) may be done in 6 to 12 minutes (or longer) and yield a crispier bread that has an even, golden brown crust.

If baking in an Ooni, preheat the oven for at least 15 minutes on high. Aim for a stone temperature around 550° to 600°F (260° to 315°C). 

Dial the flame to low, then launch your pide and leave it to cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the back begins to brown. 

Turn and continue to bake, keeping an eye on the dough to ensure that it browns evenly but does not burn. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes total.

Ramazan Pidesi dough being placed into an Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven with a pizza peel

If baking in a home oven on a pizza stone or peel, preheat your oven to 500°F (260°C) for about 45 minutes. Place your dough on a baking sheet or baking pan and cook for 8 to 12 minutes (up to 15 minutes if cooking in a baking pan) until brown but not charred. Rotate the pide halfway through the bake, checking for doneness.

Ramazan Pidesi dough being taken out of an Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven with a pizza peel

Allow the pide to cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving. Tear or cut using a knife or pizza cutter at the seams of the dough, share and enjoy. 

Ramazan Pidesi with a piece being torn off on a wooden pizza peel

Afiyet olsun! (Enjoy your meal!)

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