What Is Bazlama?
Bazlama is a type of flatbread, popular in Turkey, that resembles naan bread or a thick pita bread. It is a traditional bread in rural villages, and is often also sold in the markets. Bazlama may be served with any meal, and can also be eaten by itself, made into a sandwich, or served alongside curry.
A couple different ingredient combinations may be used for bazlama. The most basic version contains only flour, water, salt, and yeast. Flour may be white flour or a combination of white, wheat and possibly rye. Another version of the bread contains yogurt, which provides another source of fermentation in addition to the yeast. Olive oil and a little sugar might sometimes be added to the ingredients as well.
The dough is mixed like a typical bread dough, first proofing the yeast in warm water and then adding flour, salt, and any other ingredients. The dough is kneaded and then left to rise for several hours. It typically rises for at least three hours, and sometimes even overnight.
After the dough rises, it is divided into pieces and the pieces are formed into balls. Each ball is pressed or rolled out into a large disk. The disks of dough are cooked one at a time.
In Turkish villages, bazlama is traditionally cooked over a wood fire. Each disk of dough is placed on a flat clay or cast iron pan, which is then placed directly over the fire. The bread is baked on both sides until it is browned and cooked through. These flat breads can also be cooked in a cast iron skillet or other heavy pan on a stove top, where the same basic cooking procedure is followed.
This bread is best served immediately after cooking it, but cooled breads can also be reheated. Plain bazlama with a little butter or olive oil is sometimes eaten for breakfast alongside freshly brewed tea — in traditional village cooking, even the tea may be prepared over a fire. The buttered breads are also a common accompaniment to main dishes such as curries or gravies at a later meal.
Bakery vendors in Turkish markets often offer prepared bazlama to feed hungry shoppers. When someone orders a bazlama, the seller splits the bread into two thin halves, then stuffs it with cheese or any other filling the buyer may want. The stuffed bread is then heated and served to the buyer.
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