Spinach and Feta Layered Turkish Bread (Borek)...
I love trying out new breads, so when I saw this recipe posted on Gabriela Cara's blog, I was so excited! It looked wonderful and sounded so unique! I have to admit that I saw it some time ago, but it wasn't until recently that I decided to make it. Boy, was I ever glad I made it! This bread looked so pretty when it came out of the oven, that I wasn't sure why I hadn't made it earlier. I loved the layering technique. I had never done a yeast bread in layers before. Oh, you can imagine how anxious I was to see the final product! It was lovely beyond words... This is the type of bread you want to take on a picnic or to have as a lunch with a salad, or even next to a pasta dish. We prefer eating the bread slightly warm. It's wonderful...sooo pillowy soft and flavorful. I will definitely be making this again and am excited to try it with different fillings and herbs. How about a sundried tomato and basil?...
I had to adjust some of the ingredients in the recipe...as I didn't have any fresh yeast, only instant. I also didn't have the the full amount of spinach the recipe called for...just had a 10 oz package. The recipe called for margarine, and I wanted to use butter. Actually, I used a bit less butter than the original recipe calls for. Finally, I wanted to make my borek in 2 pieces. This way, I could slightly change the amount of filling in each.
The original recipe uses just feta and spinach to make the borek.
For my variation, I wanted to use a bit of chopped smoked ham, use less feta cheese and make one of the boreks with a mixture of feta/cottage cheese. I chose to add the chopped smoked ham so that the layer would be more distinct.... as well as make my husband happy:). Of course, you don't have to use any meat... you can just make it like the original, with only feta and spinach.
Anyway, this post was inspired by the bread I originally saw on Gabriela's blog some time ago. I am happy she posted it. A wonderful recipe and so unique. I am listing my changes and hope it makes sense. You can visit Gabriela's blog... it is in Romanian. Hopefully, you can at least see how it looks, and if you know Romanian, you will understand it as well:). Hope you enjoy....
You will need:
4 cups(600 grams) bread flour
1 1/4 cups(350ml) warm milk(110 deg)
6 TBS(100ml) warm water(110 deg)
1 TBS instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp table salt
4-6 TBS Butter, melted( you might need more or less)
Fillling*: original recipe used 350 grams feta cheese and 400 grams spinach
10-12 oz chopped, squeezed dry, cooked spinach( I used 10 oz frozen spinach)
3/4 cup + 1/3 cup feta cheese, divided
1/2 cup cottage cheese( slightly drained)
2/3 cup chopped smoked ham
* I made 2 boreks. I used half of the spinach for one and half for the other. I used half of the ham for one and half for the other. For the cheese I used 3/4 cup of feta cheese for one and a mixture of 1/3 cup feta +1/2 cup slightly drained cottage cheese for the other. You can just stick with the original... use all feta, add more spinach and skip the ham if you like.
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds, poppy seeds
Tip: It is important to always brush the layers with butter...this will give you the distinct layers.
In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt instant yeast. Stir to combine. Add warm milk and warm water.
Using a mixer, add dough hook and knead for 8 minutes. Or until soft and pliable. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl. Add a little bit of flour if it does stick. Take dough out unto an oiled countertop. Cut dough into 6 pieces( if you want to make a larger, one piece borek, just cut dough into 3 pieces).
Roll each piece thinly into a rectangle (roughly 17x15 if making 2 boreks... or much bigger if you are doing the larger one piece borek) You basically want to roll it out as thinly as possible. It is ok if you get some rips(just fix it). Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with half of chopped ham.
Roll out second dough piece to the same size. Place on top and brush with melted butter sprinkle half of the chopped spinach and half of feta cheese( or 3/4 cup for one borek and a mixture of 1/3 cup feta+1/2 cup cottage cheese for the second borek).
Roll out the third dough piece and brush with melted butter. Fold top of dough, halfway.
Fold bottom half over the top half. Brush with melted butter.
Fold the left side to the middle and fold the right side to the middle where the edges touch.
Turn folded borek seam side down.
For making 2 boreks:
The square will roughly be a 6x6 square. Using a rolling pin, gently roll dough(being careful not to tear the top dough) into an 8x8 square or close to it. Repeat process with the second borek.
Place a piece of parchment paper in a 8x8 square pan/dish( or larger if doing the one piece borek). Lightly oil/butter it. Place the folded borek and cut through the dough completely to form triangles.
Let rise 1 hour in a warm place or until nicely puffed an doubled. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle sesame seeds/poppy seeds.
Bake in a preheated 375 deg. oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.