Every year, for one month only, bakeries across Istanbul churn out round, flat, yeasty loaves of Ramazan pide bread. Before Muslims break their fast at sundown, they hurry to buy these addictively chewy pides, which are essential to the iftar meal here. Some bakeries rely on machines to shape the pide and stamp the traditional checkerboard pattern on top; others do it the old-fashioned way, by hand in wood-fired ovens.
Tophane Tarihi Taş Fırın is a third-generation, family-run bakery that is known for its simit, the sesame-crusted bagel sold on every corner in Istanbul. They also make excellent Ramazan pide in their 130-year-old wood oven. Two easygoing Eryılmaz brothers run the shop, while additional family members head up many other bakeries in the area. The pide-making process comes easily because they’ve been working in their dad’s bakery since they were 13 years old.
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