Sunday, November 25, 2007

Handmade phyllo dough Turkish Burek( Borek)

You can check in Wikipedia the meaning of the word burek, but basically it is an unbelievably tasty home made phyllo dough pastry, that was originally developed in Turkey.
Although you can always bake burek with phyllo dough from the store ( you can find it in the freezer section even in Walmart, Athens Food are the most popular here in US), the taste is not the same.
The recipe can seem a little intimidating, but trust me, it is easier than it sounds, I have a lot of pictures step by step( thanks to Alex!) you can follow, but believe me the taste of this thing is worth every single minute you spend making it!

The preparation time is 1 hour and 30 minutes, as you are waiting 30 minutes for the dough to rest, so you can say it is approximately one hour. If you have a pasta machine, you can cut the preparation time more than a half, but I don't so I use a rolling pin instead.

The baking time is around 40 min.


For the phyllo dough-

8 cups sifted flour
8 tsp ( 4 oz or 1 stick) melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 cups hot water

For the filling-
8 tsp melted butter
2 cups feta cheese ( grated or mashed)

For the topping-
3 eggs
4 tbsp yogurt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Sift 7 cups of flour in a big baking pan. Make a whole in the middle and put the flour close to the ends of the pan so it looks a little bit like a volcano).

In the middle pour the hot water, add the egg, the salt and the melted butter. With a tablespoon start stirring and gradually add a little bit of flour from the sides. When the mixture gets ticker, start kneading the dough with hands as you sprinkle flour from the side of the pan over the dough. Before you knead it really well it has to look like this:

Continue to knead until you it has nice and smoot surface and you use all of the flour in the baking pan.
Place a big piece of aluminum foil on a big table so you can have room to roll out the dough.
*Tip- use a scotch tape to attach it to the table, so it does not move when you are rolling the dough out.

Sprinkle some flour over the aluminum foil and divide the dough into 5 "balls" (see the picture)
Sprinkle some flour on top of them so they don't get dry and leave them to rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, in a bowl mix together the ingredients for the topping- 3 eggs, 4 tbsp yogurt and 1/8 tsp baking soda. Stir thoroughly and set aside.

You will need to make 5 (almost) square sheets of dough. If you have ever rolled out a dough before, skip this section, but if not, follow this pattern:

1. sprinkle flour below the dough ball and start rolling it out.

2. sprinkle flour on top of the dough ( see the picture)

3. roll the dough out using both hands, slide and push at the same time.

4. sprinkle flour on top of the dough, then gently rub it on its surface with your hand.

5. roll the dough ON the rolling pin

6. Lift the roling pin and unroll the dough on the table upside down.

7. Sprinkle flour over the sheet of dough and repeat the whole process until you get really really thin sheet of dough ( as thin as a sheet of paper, almost transparent).

Don't get discouraged if your sheet tears here and there, this wont affect the finished product that much, just try your best!

After the sheet is ready, brush with melted butter ( the remaining 8 tsp for the filling).

Then sprinkle with the feta cheese ( picture below)

and start to roll the dough from the long side inwards

Then place the phyllo dough roll in a round greased pan in a spiral from the outside in.( if you don't have round pan that is bigger than 10 inch, you can use square one instead). When you roll out all of the dough, and place it in the pan, brush it on top with the butter you have left.
Preheat the oven at 350 F.

Then spread the topping evenly over the burek.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 min on 350F or until golden brown on top ( see the picture).Leave it to cool down for at least 15 minutes, then cut.
Serve warm.
*I promise, for the people that think it is difficult to post in the next couple of days a recipe for phyllo Bulgarian banitsa, which is a lot easier to make, but still delicious.

P.S: Recipe in Bulgarian here


Anonymous said...

Wow this is the most detailed and simple receipe I have run across on phillo dough; even though I don't eat eggs I notice many recipes can do without so I'm gonna try it and see how it comes out thanks a bunch. You should post videos of your creations on youtube. Great instructions, awesome pics, beautiful results!! Thanks a bunch and hope you post more.

Tandoori said...

I am really glad you find it useful! Unfortunately I don't own a video camera ( even my digital camera is not working properly at the moment), so I can't post videos yet, but maybe in the future ( I am planing a camera upgrade soon :-) I will be able to.
I think that you can very well bake it only with the butter and cheese, in fact there is a lot of phyllo dough pastries in Bulgaria that are without eggs, but they are usually commercially rolled out, so they are thinner. I am curious to see the result when you try it without eggs, keep me posted!
And thanks for the nice comment!

Charles said...

Awesome....I spent a year in Kosovo in 2000 and have been looking for the right way to make Burek. I have finally found it and it is great! Thank you for your time to detail out a perfect plan to make Burek at home. Chuck

Tandoori said...

Thanks Chuck,
I wish I had a video camera to shoot a small movie or something, it would have been better, but I guess the pictures are OK as well :-)

Nikko said...

Your Burek looks fantastic! I will be giving your recipe a try...

Annie said...

Thank you, Nikko! I hope you like it when you make it!
You know, on the home page of my website I am giving away a prize on 22nd of August. If you want to participate, just leave me a comment and you are in! :-)
Enjoy your summer!

Anonymous said...

This is so great! My husband and I traveled through Croatia, Bosnia (his home Tusla) and Serbia and of course enjoyed lots of home made burek his baka made for us. Unfortunately Due to language barrier I didn't get to learn how to make it while I was there I just watched. So, this is excellent because now I have made burek and he absolutely loved it!!!!

Annie said...

Thank you so much!!! This is the first post with feedback from somebody who actually made it from the recipe here! I am so glad you and your husband liked it! :-)
I am planing on shooting videos with the actual rolling out of the dough by the end of the year and adding more recipes for Baniza, Tikvenik ( pumpkin strudel) etc.
If you want to see the recipe for something that is not on the website, let me know! I'll make sure I post it :-)

Anonymous said...

I think that this recipe look wonderful! Do you think it could be made without the Feta Cheese, not that I don't like Feta, I've just run out of it

Annie said...

Yes, it can be made without the Feta! You can use ricotta ( with salt), or goat cheese, I think that you can even use blue cheese too, whatever you have! Let me know how it turns out! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe! Living in Vienna, I have made many friends from Bosnia and Turkey. I am always amazed at their beautiful and delicious Bureks, but I have been intimidated to try the dough myself. Your great tutorial has inspired me to give it a try, and just in time for the holidays! Greetings,

Annie said...

I'm glad to help! I'm sure your friends will appreciate it!

Anja Jakubovic said...

Great job!

Anonymous said...

OMG!! This looks delicious!! I'm wondering if you have any ideas for different fillings??I'm going to try it ASAP!!

Aneliya Kochneva said...

Anonymous, anything that has egg and cheese is fine. :-) Ground meet, ham, spinach, different cheeses, chopped and sauteed vegetables, etc.

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