Step 3: Make the center pattern

Picture of Make the center pattern
A Chekich is a stamp for stamping the center of Uzbek bread.  This is a pretty specialized piece of baking equipment, and not likely to be in most people's kitchens here in the US. While I'd look at this as an opportunity to make my own chekich, if you don't have a lathe or don't feel similarly inclined, then you can just use a fork to punch a pattern in the center. You want to punch this patter so that the center of the bread doesn't rise, so the bread ends up kind of donut-shaped.

There are a few tricks here:

1. Do this RIGHT BEFORE you're about to put it in the oven. You don't want to give the center enough time to rise again.

2. Punch down the center manually first, but not too thin. If you do it too thin, the center can get crispy like a cracker. The Uzbeks in the Ferghana Valley also sell some other tool that does this (no pins, but just a ridge that's slightly larger than the chekich), but when I ventured farther West, people said they'd never heard of such a thing. You want to punch down an area slightly larger than your stamp. If you're using a fork, this is less of an issue.