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I mean the flat but thick bread you get at turkish restaurants. I've tried it twice now, with two difference recipes, and each time it's come out hard and crunchy, more like a thick pizza crust.

Seriously, two separate recipes? Obviously I'm doing something wrong but I don't know what. Can someone who knows how to do this ask me some questions about what I did to try and help me find out what I did wrong?

Edit: I can't find the first recipe I tried, but this was the second:

http://mediterraneanturkishfoodpassion.blogspot.com/2009/05/turkish-flat-bread-pide-ekmegi.html

Also: I used unbleached enriched flour from the bulk section of the health food store, if that makes a difference.

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Can you give us the recipes you followed? I think that pide is AP flour at high hydration (just a hunch, not 100% sure), but I don't know how they make the soft crust. –  rumtscho Mar 28 '12 at 23:49
    
Thanks, I just added that detail to the question! –  Sean Mar 29 '12 at 21:45
    
I don't know how enriched flour bakes, but you may want to perfect your technique with AP flour before starting experiments with other flours. As for the crust, it seems that the continued moistening is what keeps it soft, did you follow it through? –  rumtscho Mar 29 '12 at 21:56
    
OK, so a lot of people are suggesting that my recipe looks funny.. if anyone has any suggestions for a good turkish-style pita (pide?) bread, I'd sure love a copy... –  Sean Apr 11 '12 at 22:59
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5 Answers

Three reasons come to mind why your bread may have turned out too hard-

1- If you didn't let it rise enough. Flat breads often don't have a proofing step. The dough should double in size on the first rise and then after you divide the dough let it rest to make rolling out easier.

2- Working the dough too much without resting. When rolling or stretching the dough be gentle. You don't want to force all the air out. If you do think that you overworked it, letting it rest for a while will let the yeast work a little more.

3- Too low of oven temperature Traditional flat breads are often baked in large, wood-fired, brick ovens. Your recipe calls for 475F and I would say that that would be a lower bound. Since flat breads are so thin they dry out quickly. In general the hotter you can bake them the better. Try throwing a couple loaves on a very hot grill but indirect heat. Expect this to take less baking time than your recipe. If you get some charring that is ok and even desirable. If you get charring that goes all the way through then you rolled the loaves a little too thin.

Personally- I am skeptical of the milk basting. This would keep the surface of the bread moist but it would cool down the oven which would be horrible for the bread. I never saw turkish bakers basting their flat bread but maybe it is a regional thing.

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My thoughts as well (for 'too hard'). I'm not sure the recipe would taste that great, lots of yeast, short rise times, but 'hard' should be fixed with this advice. –  rfusca Mar 30 '12 at 17:34
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You don't kneed the dough, you stretch it.

See a recipe here with step by step instructions: http://www.turkishthymecooking.com.au/turkish-recipes/breads/pide-turkish-flat-bread.html

update: the link given has since gone away, but is available via archive.org's Wayback Machine. Just in case something should happen again, I believe the relevant portions of the instructions are:

Pide Dough Stretching – Not Kneading

  1. Do not knead the dough but stretch it and fold it over and over again using your fingers to work the dough.
  2. Use olive oil to help with the process of stretching it. Do this for approx 15 minutes. The dough will need to be a little moist and sticky when done, so if you need to add a little water, then do so but be careful not to add too much.
  3. When kneading is complete, add 2 tbsp of olive oil over the top of the dough and cover with a tea towel.
  4. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down once to expel the air, then divide the dough into two even balls portions.
  5. Roll into balls, but do not knead.
  6. Grabbing one dough ball, fold the dough from underneath stretching the ball, continually keeping the shape of the ball but kind of kneading in your hands from underneath. Do this for about 5 minutes for each ball.

Shaping Pide

  1. On the baking tray, using your fingers, stretch out the dough in a flat circle.
  2. Using your fingers is much better than a rolling pin as the rolling pin will loose the air.
  3. Once you have both pieces on an oven tray, possibly two (allow enough room for them to both expand in size) place another tsp of olive oil over each flat dough.
  4. Cover with a tea towel for another 1 hour.
  5. After an hour, pre heat the oven to 210 degrees Celcius.
  6. When ready, using your fingers, indent the surface making a border approx 3cm in thickness.
  7. Then inside the border, indent the dough with your fingers every 2-3 cm and then turn the bread to the side and do it again the other way.
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I would suggest that your recipe is partly at fault. Even if it worked the bread would taste awful from that much yeast. The ratio of water is off as well. Increase it to 1 cup to give you about 40 percent hydration instead of the 30 percent stated. Flat breads only require a small amount of kneading. One method to make this bread would be to knead as directed then spread the dough out on parchment paper in a shallow pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm area (80 F) until it looks about 1 1/2 height. Preheat your oven and stone then gently lift the parchment and place on the stone. Brush with egg wash ( 1 egg white in 1/2c water whisk) after 5min to give the bread a golden shine. Maybe 20 min at 425F convection and adjust your time on the next bread if required.

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2.5 cups of flour...roughly 312 g of flour. 3/4 cup of water is 175 g. SO 175/312 is like 56% hydration....no idea where you're getting 30. –  rfusca Mar 30 '12 at 17:27
    
This is why I hate volume measurements - my preferred converter says it is 250 g flour, not 312. But this gives even higher hydration, of course. The amount of yeast is indeed high, but not unusual for homemade bread. –  rumtscho Mar 30 '12 at 19:07
    
@rum what converter do you use? I can't find any so low. –  rfusca Mar 31 '12 at 1:00
    
@rfusca convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking, gives 99.37 g per cup of AP flour. –  rumtscho Mar 31 '12 at 12:50
    
my bad on on the hydration, thanks for the correction. –  Michael Mar 31 '12 at 17:37
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It's not the recipe you're using, it's the method.

Place a small broad but shallow dish of water in the bottom of your oven. This shape of dish makes it easy for the water to boil and release steam into the confine of your oven, steam is what will give you the soft doughy texture you're looking for.

As well, get a small spray bottle, like the atomizer type you would use to spray an indoor plant with, fill it with water. When the bread is all but ready to come out of the oven, remove the flat shallow dish of water from the oven, crank the heat up as high as you can get it, then when the oven is hot as hell, spray the top of your bread with a mist or two of water, this will help develop that thin crust.

Once the crust has been achieved, THEN apply your egg wash, which will give you a nice finish.

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I haven't even read your whole answer, but I downvoted it for not reading what the poster wrote. –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 27 at 12:35
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I'm making a batch right now, which consists of

*450 grams high protein bread flour

*175 grams warmish water

*8 grams dry active yeast

*2 tablespoons lebne (greek yogurt would work here)

*2 tablespoons olive oil

*1 tsp (aprox) salt

I mix, knead, rest until size is doubled, punch down, shape into two largish flat loaves (some people roll it, I prefer flipping it from hand to hand until it's about 1 -2" thick), rest for 30 minutes or until I have a chance to get back to it. Preheat oven to 425F, oil a half sheet tray with a little olive oil, and slide the tray into the oven to get hot.

Place the loaves (one at a time) on a well floured bread board, brush the top of the loaves with an egg wash and add sesame seeds if desired. Using a bread board or other non-lipped tray, slide the loaves onto the hot tray.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

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How does providing a recipe answer the question? The OP stated that he gets the same problem with different recipes. He wants us to give him ideas what to change about his current approach, not to give him yet another recipe. –  rumtscho May 28 '12 at 11:39
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