The first food that comes to mind when one says Ramadan is no doubt the pide bread. So much so that, when we see long queues in front of bakeries and feel the delicious smell of pide all around, then we understand that Ramadan has arrived. This 500-year tradition, which is an essential part of Ramadan feast tables, is a delicacy unique to the Turkish cuisine. So, how much do we know about the pide bread tradition which has survived since the Ottoman period until today? Now that Ramadan has arrived, here are 10 facts about pide, an indispensable food item on tables...
1. It is a type of bread
Pide is a type of bread which is common in not only Turkish but also Middle Eastern cuisine.
2. It has different variations
As a food similar to bread, pide is widely eaten in daily life. Although we are mostly familiar with Ramadan pide, there are in fact many other types of it: Kütahya’s pita with ground meat or tahini; Kastamonu’s pita, Black Sea region’s open or closed pitas, Konya’s bread with ground meat, Aegean region’s famous pitas and more...
4. Its equivalence in other countries is “pita”
In foreign countries, pita is the food which comes closest to this delicious bread. Although its has different pronunciations such as pide, pita or pitta, it is widely known on a wide geography from India to Adriatic.
5. The pide culture in Istanbul dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries
Although bread making dates back to 8 thousand years ago and varies from one culture to another, pide culture started to develop in Istanbul in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is known that bread making was very important in the ancient Egypt. The Greeks also learned how to make bread when excessive breads were exported from Egypt to Greece. Bread making was conveyed from Greece to Rome and thus, bread culture became widespread in Europe over time.
6. The name of pide was derived from fodula, a type of bread
When the Turks arrived in Anatolia, they started to produce different types of bread, adapting to the requirements of of settled life. It is known that pide and bread were baked in a compartment called privy bakery inside the Topkapı Palace during the Ottoman time.
7. It is similar to the Armenian bread matnakash
Matnakash differs with the absence of sesame and black cumin seeds. Moreover, our Ramadan pide can have brushed egg on the top.
8. It is known that people used to eat iftar meals late just to buy special pide breads in the Ottoman period
It is known that in the Ottoman time, people used to wait in queues in front of bakeries to buy special pide breads, at the cost of eating iftar meals late. So much so that, pide lovers used to bring their own fresh eggs, black cumin and sesame seeds to the bakeries and ask the baker to add the ingredients in front of their eyes.
9. It is known as “tırnaklı” in some Anatolian communities
In some regions of the Anatolia, bakers shape the dough with their finger tips while making pide bread. However, this is not the same pide which is today baked at kebab restaurants and also known as tırnaklı.
10. A mixture bakers call “remedy” is spread on pide breads before being put in the oven
Remedy is a mixture which is obtained by boiling flour and water, and spread on pide bread. If the bread has brushed egg on it, the remedy should not be used. The purpose of spreading remedy on pide is to prevent dryness.
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