Multi layered Turkish bread/Borek

Thanks to Home Cooking in Montana, I found this new type of bread (new to me) that fills out a soup meal wonderfully.

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It also makes great leftovers for school lunches. Look at all the goodies peeking out of the layers, hinting at wonderfulness.

This bread is up there with the Italian Cheese Swirl (Cesar Salad) bread that won a ribbon at the county fair. I am thinking of entering this bread in the fair for this year too. (note: I did enter this in the OC County Fair and it took 1st place in its division!)  I have tried a few variations with great success. In fact, this recipe allows for all kinds of personalization.

It is layer upon layer of thin bread dough filled with meats and cheeses, spinach and whatever. The original recipe, which I did not read as it was all in Romanian, was just feta and spinach. But this bread lends itself to the breadth of your imagination. It smells divine in the oven and makes the eyes pop when it is served up. It is sliced like pizza and is like eating a warm sandwich, but much better.

You start by making the bread dough (see recipe below) and cutting it in half and each half into thirds. This recipe makes two Boreks. Each Borek uses 3 layers.

You line up the fillings you decide to use. There will be two layers of fillings. I have used diced up ham, spinach, feta cheese, cottage cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan and once I spread a layer with a mixture of mayonnaise, olive oil and garlic instead of the melted butter.

So, you have 6 balls of dough and you set aside some fillings as well as some melted butter.

Lets make a Borek.

Make the dough. Here is the weird thing: You don’t let the dough rise! You just start right in rolling and assembling. I love this!

Roll out one ball of dough on a floured counter into a pretty thin rectangle. I didn’t measure but Montana rolls hers about 15″x17″.  You will be rolling all three the same size, for each Borek, (6 total) because then you stack them.

Brush the rolled out dough with melted butter. Add the sliced spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.

Here is layer #1. I used fresh chopped spinach. You could use frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry.
Here is layer #1. I used fresh chopped spinach. You could use frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry.

Roll out another ball of dough to the same size as your first one. The size is not as important as that they are all the same.

Lay this rectangle on top of the first one. Brush with melted butter, or a mixture of mayonnaise, olive oil and garlic. Over this spread feta cheese (or Parmesan or ?) and ham.

Here is layer #2, with ham and I think grated cheese. The other layer is ready to go over it.
Here is layer #2, with ham and I think grated cheese. The other layer is ready to go over it.

Roll out the third ball of dough. Lay this over the others. Make sure the edges are all lined up. There may be some dough tugging involved. Brush the top with melted butter.

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I am not sure if it was this one, but at least one of my batches had half whole wheat for the flour.

You are going to fold the dough into thirds. Fold the short top edge down about 1/3 of the dough. Then fold the bottom edge up and over the first fold, you know, like you are folding a letter.

Now it is a long skinny dough. Fold each edge down to meet in the middle. Turn the whole package over and gently roll it with a rolling pin until it is about an 8×8 square.

Here I am starting the fold.
Here I am starting the fold.

Lay it, seam side down in an oiled baking dish, such as an 8×8 Pyrex dish.

The only picture I have of it folded is here in the pan.
The only picture I have of it folded is here in the pan.

Now you actually cut the dough, all the way through, 4 times to make 8 slices. Then you cover the whole thing with plastic and now you let it rise, about 1 hour.

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Here it is, raised, with an egg wash and sprinkles, ready to go in the oven.
Here it is, raised, with an egg wash and sprinkles, ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the bread with a beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds or a mixture of both. Put into the hot oven to bake 25-30 minutes.

Remove and cool slightly. Serve warm. (Although my men will eat cold leftovers, no worries.)

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Turkish Bread/Borek

  • Yield: 2 loaves (16 Servings)

A multi-layered flavorful bread stuffed full of an assortment of goodies of your choice.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make the dough, mix the milk and water, add the flour, salt and yeast. If using a standing mixer, mix until smooth and pliable, tacky, not too sticky. Add flour or water by tablespoons if needed until the right texture.
  2. Cut the dough into 6 same size pieces. You will use 3 for each loaf.
  3. Roll each piece into an equal size rectangle. You could use the dough to make one very large loaf, in which case, cut the dough into only 3 pieces and use a large mat or floured counter to roll out the dough.
  4. Laying the first layer out, brush with melted butter. Top with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Lay the second layer over this first one and brush with melted butter. (Or if using the option, spread with a mixture of mayonnaise, olive oil and garlic ). Scatter diced ham and the cheese over this layer.
  6. Top with the third layer of rolled out dough. Gently press down to make sure the layers are in contact. Brush with melted butter.
  7. Now fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, bringing one short end down over 1/3 of the dough, then folding the other short end over this.
  8. Now it is a long skinny loaf. Fold the now short ends to meet in the middle. Turn over and place in an oiled 8×8 baking pan or something similar. Cut into 8 wedges with 4 cuts going all the way through the dough layers. I use a bench scraper for this job, cutting straight down.
  9. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375. Just before popping into the oven, brush the egg wash over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds and garlic salt.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or more, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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4 thoughts on “Multi layered Turkish bread/Borek

  1. that looks wonderful, but I need you to come over and make it as it has too many steps for me. I think you coming over to make it is a great idea.

  2. Wow, you ended up making that! So complicated, yet so pretty. How did it taste? I wonder if I had something similar in Turkey…?

    1. Probably not, I modified it quite a bit as did the woman I got the recipe from who was from Romania. Kind of like playing ‘post office’ but with a recipe. I’ll make it for you some day.

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