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Saç is a large metal or ceramic lid like a shallow bell with which bread dough or meat to be baked are covered, and over which ashes and live coals are placed. It enables even, convection baking, and the bell shape allows the steam to recirculate, which makes the meat, fish and vegetables to remain juicy, and the potatoes, and vegetables to intermix their flavors with that of the meat. It is also used for baking bread and traditional pastry like burek and pizza. The bell itself perhaps comes from bell-shaped ovens used for flatbread baking in middle-east.

Traditionally, the saç was a simple, primitive oven for baking various foods used by less well-off families who could not afford a stove in their homes, and the lid itself often doubled as a plate for flatbed baking. Today, the baking appliance is commonly used by restaurants all over the Balkan Peninsula, Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Greece (called: Παραδοσιακή Γάστρα, Σινί or Χάνι) and Turkey, which have adopted this traditional style of cooking, mostly because of its specific flavor enhancing properties, which enable the food to be lightly smoked, additional to aforementioned convection cooking process. The word saç, can also refer to a dish made of meat, vegetables and potatoes, baked in saç oven.

In Bulgaria, the word сач or сачѐ (sach/sache) refers to a flat clay plate, which is heated to a high temperature, and placed on the table, where thin slices of vegetables and meat are cooked on it. Fat is not used, and it is not covered. In the region of the Rhodopes typically more meat is used.


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