Pan-Fried Bread

Bazlama

Bazlama is the simplest form of bread in the world—it doesn’t even require an oven. The technique is probably at least 3000 years old. In Turkish villages, lumps of dough are spread on a sac (pronounced ‘sazh‘), which is like an upturned wok resting over hot coals. You could try that, or use a frying pan instead.

Unlike most breads, bazlama involves little preparation time. You could leave it to rise overnight, or you could wake up on a Sunday morning, decide ‘Lets do a bazlama brunch’, invite your friends, leave the dough to rise while you’re showering and tidying up, and fry your bread while your guests are sitting down.

Because it contains yoğurt it has a rich flavour and an interesting texture—soft inside and crunchy outside. You’d serve it with jams or cheeses (which you would need to make earlier).

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz /4 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 125 g ( oz/½ cup) plain yoğurt
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • butter, jam or cheese, to serve

Method

Put the yeast and sugar in a bowl with 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of lukewarm water, then set aside for 5 minutes. It should start to form bubbles.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, and pour in the yeast mixture. Knead the dough for 1 minute, then add the yoğurt. Knead for a further 10 minutes or until the dough has reached, as we say in Turkey, ‘the softness of an earlobe’. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and rest in a warm place for 2 hours. The ball of dough should double in size.

Add the salt to the dough and knead for 3 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and divide the dough into four balls. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and rest for 10 minutes.

Place one ball of dough on the work surface and, using floured hands or a rolling pin, flatten into a round about 10 cm (4 in) wide and 1 cm (½ in) thick. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan for 1 minute over medium heat and swirl gently to coat. Add one round of dough and cook for 1 minute. Turn the round over and cook for 1 minute more or until golden brown, then transfer onto paper towel. Repeat with the remaining three rounds, adding more oil to the pan as required.

Serve the bazlamas with butter, jam or cheese.