Bazlama Bread

Bazlama is a type of Turkish flat bread. It is soft and flavorful with a wonderful chew. It can be eaten as a flat bread, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs. Or it can be split open like a pita for sandwiches.

What makes this recipe for Bazlama special is that it uses full-fat yogurt and powdered milk, which not only makes this bread beautifully tender and moist inside, but adds incredible flavor as well.

bazlama bread

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here. (Recommended)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 g (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 10 g (2 1/4 teaspoons) sugar
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) warm water, no warmer than 110°F (49°C)
  • 500 g (4 1/8 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 16 g (2 tablespoons) powdered milk
  • 12 g (2 teaspoons) sea salt
  • 180 g (3/4 cup) full-fat yogurt

1. Activate the yeast.

– Stir the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water.
– Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until foamy.

2. Mix and knead the dough. (See TIPS)

If mixing by hand:
– In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, powdered milk, salt, yogurt and activated yeast until combined.
– Using hands, bring the mixture together into a shaggy dough, making sure there are no dry spots of flour.
– Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes (to allow the flour to absorb some of the moisture.)
– Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. (No need to flour the counter. As the dough comes together, it will become less sticky.)

If using a stand mixer:
– In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine the flour, powdered milk, salt, yogurt and activated yeast. Mix on low speed (setting #2) until everything comes together as a shaggy dough.
– Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. 
– Give the dough a few turns by hand, if needed, to make the dough nice and smooth.

3. Let the dough rise until double in volume.

– Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.
– Flip the ball of dough so that the top is now greased.
– Cover loosely with plastic wrap. 
– Rest the dough for 1 hour or until double in volume.

4. Divide and shape the dough into 8 balls of dough and let rest.

– Ease the dough out of the bowl.
– Using hands, flatten the dough slightly and then roll into a log. 
– Cut the log into 6 or 8 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball.* 
– Cover the dough balls loosely with some plastic wrap and a towel and let rest about 15 minutes, until the dough is relaxed. 

*Divide the dough into 6 pieces for thicker loaves which are good for pita pocket-style sandwiches. Or divide the dough into 8 pieces for thinner loaves which are good for gyro-style sandwiches.

5. Roll the balls of dough out into flat rounds and let rest.

– Lightly flour the countertop, the rolling pin and a round of dough.
– Roll upward and downward, then lift the round and turn 90 degrees. Continue this way until the round is at least 8 inches in diameter. (It is important the round is relaxed and not sticking to the counter, otherwise it might shrink in the pan.)
– Place the rounds single-layer on a lint-free kitchen or tea towel and cover with plastic wrap and another towel.
– Let rest for about 10 minutes.

6. Cook the bazlama. (See TIPS)

– Preheat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Let the pan sit on the heat at least 5 or 10 minutes until nice and hot.
– Gently place a round of dough in the center and let cook for a minute or so, shaking the pan occasionally to make sure the bread is not sticking.
– When the dough starts to bubble, flip the bread with a spatula. 
– Cook the dough for a minute or so, shaking the pan occasionally to make sure the bread is not sticking. The bread should begin to puff up like a pillow.
– Use the weight of the spatula to gently push and direct the air in the puffed areas to the areas of the bread that are not puffing.
– Flip the bread as needed until cooked through and the bread has browned in areas.
– Place the cooked bread on a cooling rack over a towel.

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ABOUT THIS RECIPE

Bazlama is one of my favorite flat breads. It is soft, stretchy and very flavorful. In our house, we use it in place of pita bread. One of the differences between Bazlama and regular pita is the addition of yogurt, which contributes to its softness and flavor.

Making Bazlama will take about 3 hours. But the time and effort is well worth it as this bread beats grocery store pita by miles. Bazlama can also be frozen and reheated so you can enjoy it any time you want.

tips:

Here are 4 helpful tips:

1) Make sure your yeast is active.

– Yeast must be alive and active for bread dough to rise. All that is needed to activate yeast is a little sugar and warm water. When activating your yeast, make sure the water is just slightly warm to touch, but no warmer than 110°F (49°C). Yeast will not activate in cold water and may die in hot water.

– After stirring the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water, wait 5 to 10 minutes for the mixture to become foamy. If it isn’t foamy by then, throw it out and start over.
– Do not let the yeast sit too long after it has become active and foamy. If the activated yeast sits too long, it may be less effective.

2) Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

– Be sure to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Properly kneaded dough will cook up into soft, light, stretchy loaves. Bread that has been under-kneaded will still taste delicious, but may be heavy, not as stretchy and may not puff enough to form pockets.

  • Test if the dough is ready by taking a small bit of dough and stretching it thin. (This is called the windowpane test“.) If it can stretch thin enough that light can shine through without tearing, the dough is ready.

If your dough didn’t pass the windowpane test, don’t stress.
– If you have kneaded for the allotted time but your dough is not passing the windowpane test, don’t stress. Rest your dough for 10 minutes then test again.
– If the dough is still not smooth and elastic, knead for 2 or 3 minutes and then re-test.
– Repeat, if needed (rest and knead) until your dough passes the windowpane test. But if you start to feel the dough becoming firm and less stretchy, stop kneading or else you risk over-kneading your dough.

Kneading by hand:

– Kneading by hand may take a little extra effort and muscle, but is a sure way to bring your dough to the correct consistency without fear of over-kneading. Here’s one way to knead your dough:

  • On a smooth surface, fold the dough toward you, then stretch it back by pushing the dough with the heel of your hand in a rolling motion. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat until the dough becomes smooth and elastic enough to pass the windowpane test.
  • If the dough is very sticky, do not add any flour. Instead, use a pastry scraper to scrape, push and fold the dough toward you while kneading. With time and patience, the dough will come together. Adding extra flour may make your bread dry, heavy and dense.
  • In my experience, there is no need to flour the counter when kneading this dough. As the dough comes together, it will become less and less sticky.

Kneading by mixer:

– Be sure to scrape the bowl every so often while mixing to ensure even kneading.
– I find my dough is never as smooth when using the mixer instead of kneading by hand. If your dough is nice and stretchy, but not as smooth as you like, just knead the dough a little bit by hand at the end.

3) Be sure to allow the dough to rest after shaping and rolling.

– Giving the dough time to rest makes the dough easier to roll out and will prevent the dough from shrinking up in the hot pan when cooking.

balls of bazlama dough balls resting
  • Give the balls of dough time to relax to make rolling out easier. Stiff, tense dough will shrink back under the rolling pin making your rounds of dough thick. Thick rounds of dough will not puff as nicely as thin ones, if at all.
rolled out rounds of bazlama dough resting
  • Let the rolled out dough rest before cooking. Unrested dough will tighten up and shrink in the hot pan and then won’t puff nicely. The bread will still be delicious, but won’t have a pocket and may be a bit thicker and heavier.

4) How to cook the bazlama:

  • Carefully place a round of dough in the center of the hot pan.
  • When bubbles appear, flip the bread with a spatula.
  • The bread should slowly puff up like a pillow. If the bread seems to only be puffing in one area, gently nudge the air to other areas with a spatula. No need to press down. The weight of the spatula should be enough to push the air to the needed areas.
  • When the bread has fully puffed, gently flip the bread over again to allow the other side to brown as well.
  • Place the cooked bread on a cooling rack over a kitchen towel.

– Preheat the non-stick pan over medium heat for at least 5 to 10 minutes to get it nice and hot before starting to cook the bread.
– Each round of dough should only take about a minute on each side to cook. Adjust the heat accordingly.
– Don’t forget to occasionally shake your pan to make sure your bread isn’t sticking.
– Place the cooked bazlama bread immediately on a cooling rack.

bazlama with hummus, spicy ground beef and giardiniera
Bazlama with hummus, spicy ground beef and giardiniera.

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