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Growing up in Istanbul, the only bread I knew was ekmek—a torpedo-shaped roll that was made every morning in a wood-fired stone oven by a bakery a few doors from my apartment. No Turks bake their own bread at home because the price of bread has been subsidised by the government since Ottoman times (when the sultans followed the Roman emperors’ practice of pacifying the populace with ‘bread and circuses’).

Bread is subject to a multitude of laws specifying minimum size of loaf (250 g/9 oz), minimum flour type, maximum salt content (1.5 per cent) and hygiene for shops and delivery trucks (delivery truck needs to be washable), and can only use flour, yeast, salt and water.