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Ekmek (Basic Turkish Flatbread)

(recipe, Nick Malgieri)


The Turkish name for this merely means "bread," owing to the fact that this is so widely made. There are many variations of it, too, some made with a sourdough starter instead of yeast. Cut into thick slices, this is an excellent bread to serve with a meal.


  1. 1 batch Middle Eastern Flatbread Dough
  2. Cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan sprinkled with a light dusting of cornmeal or lined with parchment paper


  1. Without folding over the dough, scrape it onto a floured work surface. Turn the dough over so that the smooth top surface is uppermost. Round the dough by repeatedly pulling upward all around the perimeter and pushing and pinching those flaps of dough into the center. Turn the dough over, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Without deflating the dough too much, stretch and pull it into an oval shape the length of your baking pan and half its width, about 5 by 15 inches. Slide both hands, palms upright, under the dough and transfer it to the prepared pan. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap.
  3. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Have a spray bottle filled with hot water nearby.
  4. Let the loaf rise until it just starts to puff, about 20 minutes.
  5. Use a fingertip to dimple the top of the loaf gently at 1-inch intervals without deflating it.
  6. Place the pan in the oven, spray the inside of the oven all over with the water, and quickly close the oven door.
  7. Wait 5 minutes and spray again. Decrease the heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake the bread until it is well risen, is deep golden, and has an internal temperature of 200 to 210 degrees, about 20 minutes. Slide the bread onto a rack to cool.
  8. This bread is best on the day it's made. Wrap any leftovers and reheat them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes before serving again; it's delicious warm.


Variation: Seeded Flatbread. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Round a piece by repeatedly pulling upward around the perimeter and pushing those flaps of dough into the center. Repeat with the second piece. Invert both pieces of dough, cover with a towel, and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven and form the breads by gently pressing each piece of dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Arrange on the prepared pan and cover. Let the dough rest until it starts to puff. Gently dimple the dough and spray with a little water. Scatter 2 Tbsp. white or black sesame seeds over the breads. Bake, cool, serve, and store. Variation: Zatar Flatbreads. Stir together 1/3 cup zatar (see Note, below) and 4 Tbsp. olive oil. Divide the dough into four pieces, form the pieces into rounds, and let them rest as in the Seeded Flatbreads variation. After preheating the oven, shape the rounds into four 6-inch disks, place them on the prepared pan, cover, and allow to puff. Dimple the formed loaves and spread each with a quarter of the topping. Bake, cool, serve, and store. Zatar is a blend of herbs, white sesame seeds, and salt popular in Middle Eastern cooking. Many regional variations exist, and packaged blends are easy to find. Just be sure not to buy the finely ground variety, which, when combined with the oil, will form a paste unsuitable for topping.