adventures in bread-making: pide

I do love Turkish bread; soft and chewy and glorious with that hint of nigella and sesame seeds on top. It is perfectly accompanied by dips like hummus or beetroot - and makes a fabulous sandwiches or toasties. I found a recipe on the SBS website and have modified it a bit as well as experimenting with a spinach and feta filling. It may seem like a complicated process, but it really isn't - actually the hands on parts are rather fun! And I especially like that the dough doesn't take hours and hours to proof - so you can whip up a fresh batch on a whim (which in bread making terms would be in about two hours instead of twelve!)

You will need:
(for two large loaves)

1 tablespoon dried yeast
pinch of sugar
375 ml warm water
4 cups or 480 g strong bread flour (I experimented with multi-grain flour and it worked well too)
1 teaspoon salt
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
50 ml milk
nigella & sesame seeds

**optional filling for half of your dough**
1 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach, or 1 cup of freshly cooked and chopped 
1/2 cup feta cheese (I used the sheeps milk kind)
1 egg
ground cumin
ground coriander
pinch of salt
lemon wedges (to serve)

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 125 ml of the warm water and set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes until frothy. Use your fingers to work 3/4 cups of the flour into the yeast to make a sloppy paste. Sprinkle lightly with a further 1/4 cups of flour, then cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to form a ‘sponge’.

Put the remaining 3 cups of flour and the salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the sponge, oil and remaining water. Use your fingers to work it to a soft, sloppy dough - its meant to be very sticky! Transfer to an electric mixer/bread-maker fitted with a dough hook and knead on a low speed for 10–15 minutes until very smooth and springy. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl & cover with damp tea towel (or leave in the bread-maker) to rest at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to its highest setting (230'c +). Divide the dough in two, then form into rounds and leave, covered, to rest for 30 minutes. Mix the egg and milk to make an egg wash. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use the heels of your hands to press and flatten each piece of dough out to a 20 cm oval - then brush liberally with egg wash. Now for the fun bit... dip your finger tips into the egg wash and mark rows of deep indentations across and down the length of the dough. Life the dough up and onto a lightly floured baking tray - as you life the bread stretch them gently and evenly. Add a good sprinkle of
 nigella and sesame seeds on top and bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

**for spinach & feta filled pide**

Combine spinach, cheese, egg, spices and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine. Now using 1/2 of your dough (So one of the two balls you left rest for 30 minutes). Using your fingers flatten the dough into an oval shape - then spoon spinach filling in a line along the centre. Next bring up the sides of the dough to meet each other - then fold them back on themselves   (so that you can see a bit of the filling underneath). Brush with egg/milk wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.