A pişi is a fluffy ball of fried bread served with breakfast in Turkey. If you think there is nothing more comforting than warm soft bread, then they are perfect for you. Pişi is the star of any Turkish breakfast spread! They are served to accompany cheese, slices of cucumber & tomatoes, olives, eggs, cold cuts, and a number of flavorful pastes & dips. Pişis are delicious and so indulgent, I’m sure they’ll soon become a staple of your brunch too!
BAKING POWDER OR YEAST
There are 2 different types of pişi. One type, called kabartma tozlu pişi, is made with baking powder instead of yeast. These pişis are lighter, crispier and their centers are basically big air pockets waiting to be filled. They are faster to make since you’re not making bread dough. You should still leave the dough to rest for while though if you want airy pişis.
The other type of pişi, called mayalı pişi, is made with yeast and this is the one I’m sharing a recipe for today. These pişis are denser, fluffier and more akin to donuts texture-wise. My in-laws usually make kabartma tozlu pişi because it’s easier, unless they can buy bread dough from the bakery. Then it’s easier to make yeast-based ones. If you can get your hands on some bread dough, you’ll have Turkish fried bread in no time. I have a slight preference for mayalı pişi over the baking powder ones because they are so pillowy and decadent! The only trouble is that they are more filling so you can’t have as many. I realize that this is a great problem to have!
FRESH IS BEST
You can easily double the recipe if you’re having lots of people over for breakfast/brunch or if you simply want more. However, your eyes shouldn’t be bigger than your stomach because pişis don’t keep very well. Turkish fried bread is best eaten on the day it’s made. If you double the ingredients, the indicated proving times remain the same. You can make the dough in advance and leave it to prove in the fridge overnight. Remove the mixing bowl from the fridge in the morning and let the dough prove in a warm environment for half an hour then continue on to step 3. The balls of fried bread might not be as puffed up as if you had prepared the dough on the same day, but they’ll still taste great!
You can fill the balls with crumbled cheese and chopped parsley to make cheesy pişis. Lor peyniri (cottage cheese) or beyaz peynir (brined cheese similar to feta) are the most common cheeses used for this type of fried bread. Be sure that the filling is sealed properly so you don’t end up with a leak while frying.
FRYING BREAD? HECK YEAH!
The first time I had pişi was at a Bed&Breakfast on the Aegean coast. For whatever reason, the owner took a liking to me and wanted to make me taste something Turkish I never had before. She made me pişi and what a revelation! I can still see her bringing a small basket full of steaming golden fried bread to my table. I wolfed it down in minutes, my husband was lucky he got any! I loved it so much that she surprised me with another batch the next morning and flat out refused when I tried to monetarily compensate her for all her extra efforts. She claimed that my appreciation of her cooking was enough. Eating bread is life’s greatest pleasure (I’m French, I can say that), but fried bread? I can’t think of anything more indulgent!
My in-laws were surprised I had never eaten pişi before that vacation. I had been living in Turkey for a couple of years by that time but it just never came up. When they found out how much I loved it, fried bread became a central part of our Saturday breakfast. Now every time we eat a Turkish breakfast together, you can bet there will be pişi on the table. I think that the moral of the story is that Turkish people are very proud of their cuisine, and if you show a genuine appreciation for it they will feed you until you can literally not have another bite.
Are you looking for other Turkish breakfast recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
- Turkish breakfast dips & spreads (sausage dip, tomato walnut spread, salad dip, honey spread)
- Olive rolls
- Ekmek (White loaf)
A pişi is a fluffy ball of fried bread served with breakfast in Turkey. If you think there is nothing more comforting than soft warm bread, then wait until you try a pişi! It’s super indulgent and oh so delicious.
- 375g all-purpose flour (2 ⅔ cup)
- 1 tsp salt
- 5g instant yeast (1 ½ tsp)
- 185ml whole milk (¾ cup)
- frying oil (I used peanut oil)
- Make the dough. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other. Gently heat the milk on the stove over medium heat until lukewarm. It shouldn’t be hotter than 43°C (110°F). Make a well in the flour and add the milk. Turn the mixture around with your fingers to pick up the ingredients from the side of the bowl. If you can’t gather all the flour, add a little bit of milk (1 tbsp at a time) and mix gently again until you form a dough.
- Knead the dough. Coat the work surface with a little bit of oil and tip the dough onto it. Knead for 10 min until you have a smooth ball of dough. You can add more oil to the work surface if the dough sticks too much while kneading. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot. I like to heat the oven to 50°C (120°F) for a couple of minutes before turning the oven off and placing the bowl in there. Leave the dough to rise for 1h, or until doubled in size.
- Shape the pişi. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and lightly flour it (or use a clean working surface). Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball. With your finger, make an indentation in the center of each ball but don’t go pierce all the way through. Place them slightly apart on the prepared tray. Loosely cover the balls with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for a further 30 min. They only need to puff up a bit, not double in size.
- Fry! Line a plate with 2 layers of paper towels. Fill a pan no more than ⅓ full with the oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 180°C (355°F). Fry batches of 2 to 3 pişi at a time for 5 min (turn them halfway through cooking). Carefully remove pişis from the pan using a slotted spoon, drain on the paper towels and serve immediately.
Turkish fried bread is best enjoyed the day it’s made. You can store any leftover in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days but they will get drier.
- Serving Size: 1 pişi
- Calories: 449
Keywords: brunch ideas, turkish breakfast, breakfast platter, fried breakfast