Soft Bread Pouches


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Preparation info

  • Makes


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Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

Large rounds or ovals of hollowed, knobbly, spongy pide, baked in hot ovens, are served to soak up all kinds of food. They should be soft in texture, with a slightly crispy crust, but can be varied according to personal taste. A swift bake in a high oven produces a crisp crust with a hollow pouch, whereas a longer bake in a lower oven produces a softer bread with a barely discernible pouch good for mopping up garlicky olive oil and yogurt. Small, thin pouches are filled with grilled köfte and onions and eaten as a snack. To keep them soft and warm, place a dry towel over them when fresh out of the oven, and if they need to be resuscitated before eating sprinkle them with water and place them in a hot oven for a few minutes.


  • ½ oz/15 g fresh yeast, or ¼ oz/7 g dried yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 4—6 fl oz/125-175 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 lb/450 g strong unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons thick yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon nigella seeds a few drops olive or sunflower oil


  • Preheat oven to 450F/Mark 8/230C
  • Preheat 2 baking sheets
  • Cream the yeast with the sugar in a little of the lukewarm water. Leave to froth.
  • Sift the flour with the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast, the tablespoons of oil, the yogurt and the rest of the water, using your hands to draw in the flour from the sides and work the mixture into a sticky dough. Add more water if necessary. Knead until the dough becomes pliable and leaves the sides of the bowl. Continue to knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll it in the few drops of oil in a bowl, cover with a damp towel, and leave to prove until doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down, knead it again and divide it into two pieces. Knead each piece well. Flatten them out with the heel of your hand, and stretch them into large uneven rounds or ovals, creating a thick lip around the edges. Indent the dough with your fingertips.
  • Lightly oil two hot baking sheets and place them in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Place thepzt/e on them, brush with a little beaten egg, and sprinkle the nigella seeds over the top. Bake them for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden with a crisp crust around the edges. Transfer them to a wire rack. If you want them to retain their soft, spongy texture all day, wrap them in foil or in a dry towel while still warm.