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Working Lives Turkey: Baker

Baklava, the traditional dessert made with pastry, sugar and pistachio nuts is ever-present in Gaziantep.

It's eaten at births, weddings, funerals, and is a constant feature of social events.

"Baklava is a national dessert which has become synonymous with Gaziantep," says Levent Aktas, a master baker.

"It is a part of us. On our special days, when we are celebrating, even when we are in agony, it is always with us. Let me put it this way. We say: 'Eat sweet, talk sweet.' This is a part of our culture."

There are 45 layers of pastry in every confection, each of them so thin they are as translucent as fine gauze. Making baklava is quite a specialist skill.

Mr Aktas gets up at 3.30am every day to begin the ritual of rolling the pastry and laying the billowing sheets on the trays with ground pistachio.

He says healways wanted to become a baklava chef, and cannot imagine a life without it.

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