Wednesday, December 5, 2012



I have finally discovered the most brilliant way to make homemade pizza in Istanbul!

I don’t know why it’s taken me over two years to figure this out, but it has. I’d heard it could be done, but sometimes the language barrier prevents me from doing some of the simplest tasks. 

For example, I didn’t know how to get water delivered to our apartment for the longest time. So we would lug two 5-liter bottles of water home every week. That was a pain! Finally, a Turkish friend set us up with a neighborhood water company. Now, I just call, order and get two 19-liter bottles of water delivered about every two weeks.

Back to the pizza. 

On Sunday night, our Turkish friend, Kartal, and his American wife stopped at their local pide place, Bafra Pide in Esentepe. They asked for hamur, basically balls of pide dough. The pide guy thought Kartal was crazy when he explained he wanted to buy the dough so he could make pizza at home. Turkish pide is so similar to pizza that I don’t know why it would make a difference.

Anyway, Kartal and Nicole showed up at our apartment with four balls of hamur. We had a ton of leftover homemade marinara sauce so we decided to host pizza night at our place.

“So I can just go to my local bakery and ask for hamur?” I asked them.

“You don’t ask for hummer. You ask for hahhhmurrr.” They told me.

Apparently, I kept saying what sounded like hummer. And I certainly didn’t want to walk into the bakery and ask for that.

I think that would be worse than the initial times I would try and order çorap (socks) when I really wanted çorba (soup) at a café. Now, I can laugh about these language mistakes!

Using hamur is the easiest way to make pizza – if you live in Turkey. Simply flour your counter top so you can stretch and roll out the dough out a bit. Place on a hot pizza stone or a flat baking tray sprinkled with corn flour.
Kartal and my hubby making pizzas in the kitchen on Sunday night.
We had homemade marinara sauce that my husband made and simmered on the stove for hours. However, you could simply use some of the tomato rende you can buy in a jar here mixed with a little tomato paste and some spices to make a quick marinara sauce. (Also, here’s a fabulous marinara sauce recipe by The Italian Dish.)

After you spread the sauce on the dough, you can add whatever toppings you like. We had a mix of mozzarella cheese and kaşar peynir, as well as sliced Spanish chorizo and bacon bits (from our travels), caramelized onions, sliced red peppers and dried basil.
Bake the pizza at 200 C/400 F for about 10 minutes, until the dough starts to crisp up and the cheese slightly browns on the edges.
Our first Turkish pizza with chorizo, mozzarella cheese and dried basil. Turkish sucuk makes a good substitute for pepperoni on pizza.
We made four different pizzas that night and enjoyed them with a bottle of Turkish Corvus red wine, followed by a bottle of Italian red wine.
Into the oven the pizza goes!
On Monday, I decided to make pizza again for dinner to use up the leftover ingredients. I went to my local bakery in Beşiktaş and told the guy in Turkish I wanted to make pizza at home. Is it possible to get hamur?

The baker and the guy who normally helps me conferred and he nodded. I got my two balls of hamur for 2 tl and happily walked home.

Now, I don’t think I would walk into any ol’ place and ask for hamur. They guys did look at me like I was a little crazy, but as the yabancı I’m kinda used to that by now.

Lesson learned: buy your hamur from someone you know.

Afiyet olsun!

NOTE: Claudia at A Seasonal Cook in Turkey also offers a recipe for caramelized red onion and anchovy pizza with black olives.
Caramelized onions and bacon bit pizza. This was my favorite pizza!
Roasted red pepper, caramelized onion and fresh basil.

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11 comments:

Katharina said...

These look delicious, great job! Making homemade pizza has been on my mind since over year now- same here, not sure why it's taking so crazy long but will defenitely make some this winter!!! Thanks for the ideas and lol about hummer :)

Joy said...

Thanks Katharina! If you buy the hamur, it makes pizza sooo easy! I've made my own dough before but why bother when it's so cheap and easy to get here. We got a kick out of the hummer thing too. ;-)

Julia said...

Ohhhh how often do I say a word in my best Turkish, only for all my Turkish friends to look at me like I'm speaking a language from another planet. :) I can order a gas bottle but never tried the hamur. Might be a little interesting challenge - especially if we can make a pizza with it.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

your pizza looks so good! i make pizza a lot around here. when my czech friends lived here, i was their local pizza takeout!

Joy said...

@Julia, At least we continue to try and speak Turkish! ;-) With the hamur, the pide seemed a bit better while the ekmek hamuru was more fluffy and stretchy. Although both varieties of pizzas turned our awesome for us!

@Joyce, thanks! I think our homemade pizza was a lot better than the majority of places here that try to make American/Italian style pizza.

Amy said...

your pizzas look great! and don't fret - it's perfectly normal to ask for hamur at the bakery! my turkish friends told me about it and i've been making pizza and rolls and monkey bread with the "hazır hamur" for several years. such a great service and saves time for sure!

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

Your pizza's look so yummy! I never try to make them at home and I have all of the ingredients readily available. Seeing you bake on a Pampered Chef stone (I am a PC consultant) has inspired me to try pizza at home, too! BTW, thank you for sharing your shrimp n grits on my blog...I am excited to try it as soon as I road trip to Charleston to pick up some grits!

Joy said...

@Amy, thanks for the tips! Monkey bread - I haven't made that years but it's sooo good! Glad to know some Turks get their hamur this way too.

@Kim, Hope you like the recipe! It was a hit for us! And I love my pizza stone. In fact, my husband's coworkers wonder if they can find one here...certainly not PC but I will look around.

Nicole said...

Repeat after me, Hahhhmurrr!
It was beyond delicious. Ellerine saglik!

Joy said...

@Nicole, yes, I can say the word correctly now! ;-)

Karen said...

This is a brilliant idea.

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