Pide: a taste of old Ramadans

Hamburg / DE. (beu) Until now the German writer of this article thought, that «pide» is an invention of Turkish bakers in Berlin, who needed the right «bag» for Doner Kebap some decades ago – creating the most successful fast food in Germany. Some years ago the German writer also worked in Turkish bakeries in Berlin to learn more about Turkish bakery goods. Since then he knows that Turkish bakers in Berlin work very hard for a small piece of prosperity.

He also knows more about Turkish baguette, ekmek and pide – he thought. «Pide», Turkish bakers said, «pide the people in Türkiye not really know. Germans like it, so we bake it – that´s all». Is that really «all»? Searching around today, what Ramadan means to the bakery industry and around, we unexpectedly received competent information about «really» Turkish bread – pide! More exactly: The «Turkish Daily News» has collected a lot of interesting details under the heading «Pide – A taste of old Ramadans»:

Ramadan has it own culture in Türkiye with its famous Ramadan tables graced with a generous menu, celebrations, candy vendors, and Ramadan shopping. Pide is an indispensable part of this cultural ritual.

Pide – A taste of old Ramadans

Ankara / TR. Almost every year the same ritual takes place: numerous people queue for hours in front of bakeries to buy fresh Ramadan «pide bread» or «pita bread», a traditional Ramadan specialty and an annual culinary feast enjoyed especially in Ramadan.

Pide is a round, brown, wheat flatbread made with yeast and is usually associated with Ramadan, the month of fasting for the Islamic world. The accompaniments in Ramadan tables may differ with the changing season as this traditional month falls at different seasons every year because Ramadan arrives about ten or eleven days earlier each year. The single indispensable and unchanging item of the Ramadan table, however, is undoubtedly «pide bread».

Pide bread can be found at times other than Ramadan but mostly in big malls or some bakeries. It has a flavour invented specially for the holy month of Ramadan. It is a mass produced blessing available to all in Ramadan in which it is more popular and consumed. It is probably so popular in this particular month because of its freshly baked flavour and aroma which satisfies both the body´s need for food after hours of hunger and peoples´ nostrils.

Hence, it is worth the trouble for waiting for hours in front of bakeries to grace Ramadan tables with this delicious and fresh smelling pide and even paying more because Ramadan pide is more expensive than normal bread. This situation, however, is understandable when taking into account the difficult workmanship involved and the special ingredients required.

Pide is a culture

Pide is a variety of flat bread baked in a tandoor oven or on a hot metal sheet. Its dough, which used to be made of special flour and beer yeast, is made with prepared yeasts today. Its dough is extremely soft. After being shaped, it is left on shelves to rise. The pide master then brushes the surface with egg yolk (or water) and sprinkled it with either sesame or black cumin seeds. Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures.

Pide has a long history, covering a broad geography and stretching from India all through the coast of the Adriatic. Ramadan has it own culture in Türkiye with its famous Ramadan tables graced with a generous menu including cheese, olives, honey, soup, pide, kebabs, salads, deserts, tea and coffee. Pide is an indispensable part of this cultural ritual.

Pide is used to scoop sauces or dips such as hummus and to wrap sandwiches like kebabs or falafel. In Anatolia alone there are thousands of varieties of it: Lahmacun, known as Turkish pizza, a thin flatbread covered with a thin layer of spiced minced meat with onion; the country pide of Kastamonu; the meat-filled bread of Konya; the «closed» and «opened» pide of the Black Sea region; Aegean pide made with minced meat and onion, tomatoes, parsley and spices, yellow cheese (kasar), spinach, feta cheese, pieces of meat, braised meat (kavurma), sucuk, pastirma and eggs put on rolled-out dough are some of most common and traditional specialties of the art of baking in Türkiye.

In addition to the mentioned types of pide, Ramadan pide differs from all of them in terms of its taste and composition. It is a special taste unique to one specific month. If it were available year round, would not we miss the ritual of buying a Ramadan pide at the end of a long queue!