Founded in 1985 by Seyfullah Güz, who has been baking bread for over 30 years, the Beslen Bakery serves up delicious, high-quality fresh bread, cakes and pastries. When I first entered the bakery, I was overwhelmed by the visual feast of the colorful and tasty cakes and pastries on offer. There were chocolate cakes and pastries with various fruits, all beautifully designed and appealing to the eye.
One side of the shop is allocated to cakes and pastries, while the other side is all for bread. The bakery's personnel serve with smiles on their faces and are very friendly. Most of the bakery's customers are regulars, as the place has been in the same area for 27 years. However, you don't need to go to Bahçelievler to be able to sample the great variety of cakes, breads and pastries; you can taste them in your own home because the Beslen Bakery also has a home delivery service.
Güz says the bakery is a long-established, family-run business, as his father and grandfather also worked in the bakery business. Güz said his grandfather was a baker in Russia during the 1880s and that his father established a bakery in İstanbul's Pendik district in 1940. Having learned the art of baking from his father, Güz opened his first bakery shop, the Beslen Bakery, in 1985.
Güz claimed that his bakery was one of the first bakeries to make milky bread in İstanbul, adding that, apart from managing the shop, he also helps prepare the bread. However, he doesn't know much about making cakes or pastry, he said, but there are professional staff dealing with cake and pastry making at the shop.
The bakery employs 29 personnel, 12 of whom take care of bread making, six are in charge of making cakes and pastry, and the rest do other things. Güz said he has a circle of friends who invite potential customers to the shop to make a purchase. In fact, most customers know the staff by name and often stop to chit-chat while waiting on their order. “There are certain criteria we follow when choosing personnel for the bakery. Our employees must be professional, but they must also be well-behaved because customer satisfaction is very important in our service,” he said.
You can buy higher-quality products at low prices at the Beslen Bakery. The bread is produced daily and anything that is left over and not sold the following day is given to people in need in the surrounding area.
The costumers, Güz said, will be satisfied with all of the products made in the bakery because the Beslen Bakery uses first-class ingredients in all its products, which are also produced in the most sanitary conditions.
The ‘askıda ekmek' tradition
A humanitarian tradition has been in place at the Beslen Bakery for a long time. “Askıda ekmek” (bread in suspense) is a tradition that many Turks are familiar with. You can go to the bakery and buy bread, and if you want, pay for an extra loaf that will be given to someone in need.
Going into further detail about the tradition, Güz noted that customers can buy bread for someone who cannot afford it by paying a few extra liras. When someone in need comes to the bakery, they can ask for one of the loaves of bread kept in a box near a white board on which “Askıda ekmek bulunur” ([free] loaves of bread are available [for those in need]) is written. The bakery also states the number of free bread loaves available.
Some people, Güz added, may be unfamiliar with the tradition, so when they come into the bakery and see the white board in the middle of the shop, they may not initially understand what “askıda ekmek” is, but when they ask the staff what it is, they are delighted by the practice and donate money.
Güz said it is a good example of sharing, cooperation and mercy in society, going on to say that all personnel, including him, are very pleased to see the happiness on the faces of the less unfortunate as they receive their free bread. “You can observe a feeling of gratefulness in their eyes and the charitable people who donate bread to these people can also feel satisfaction because they can be sure that they have made a person they don't know somewhere in the city that day happy.”