It was almost 6 in the morning, we met with Bayram Usta of Elmacı Pazarı Güllüoğlu at Bakırcılar Çarşısı, had a quick tea and I followed him through the small streets of Gaziantep, we ended up at the soup eatery. The baklava gang was having their breakfast when we arrived and ordered our share and left for the factory. Working since 2 am in the morning, as a baklava usta always in Gaziantep, soup is the remedy, the energy boost.
The soup tray was a morning call with tırnaklı pide, antep biberi, -local green chilies-, lemon and my rich broth with sheep cheeks, chilies, garlic.
The young ustas are working non stop, making baklava yufka, as thin as a see-through thin, you basically can read a newspaper from the other side. It takes skill and hard work not to forget a great Usta to teach them all the craftsmanship like Bayram Usta.
Spreaded some kaymak, not clotted cream but a mixture of semolina and milk, which makes the baklava moist inside. Then Antep pistachio comes along to play the main role. The pistachio used in baklava should early harvest fruits to keep their oily texture and their deep green color, it is called kuş boku locally. One other important ingredient is sade yağ, ghee or clarified butter, made from the spring sheep’s milk.
Baklava is then baked in the stone oven, and there comes another usta, keeping an eye on them, changing their places in the oven and turning them round just at the right moment, when he has the hunch… Then syrup is poured down on the hot baklava and with that as they start to ruffle like Mexican waves in a football game! Hurray for baklava!
This small unique shop is the first shop of Güllüoğlu Baklava in Gaziantep, it is called Elmacı Pazarı Güllüoğlu. Gaziantepliler like to eat baklava when it is warm, they mostly prefer havuç dilimi – literally carrot slices, the big triangle shaped baklava- and they like to take their time during the day for this treat…