~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spinach and Feta Layered Turkish Bread (Borek)...


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.


Sailaja Damodaran said...

Interesting..........superb with any filling of our choice i suppose.

Speranta said...

Arata excelent ...cred ca este tare buna,felicitari!

toni_n said...

Burek has become incredible!
I'll save the recipe and do it:)

Sunny greetings from Bulgaria:)

Unknown said...

OK Ellie, I am spooked out. Here's why! I have a kale, spinach, feta recipe that I wanted to stuff in some sort of dough. I could not figure out what, so I though let me go one Ellie's blog and see if she has a good bread dough recipe....and then I see this.....how perfect and totally coincidental :) I cannot wait to make it tonight and I will come back and tell you how it went. Multumesc si un weekend placut!

Sarah said...

Hey Ellie,

These photos are amazing, the dough puffed so well! This is such a wonderful post! I really wanna make this Borek, I just really don't like Spinach! So I'm looking forward to other fillings suggestions. :)
I was thinking maybe something sweet as well? Fresh Cream and honey for example?

Sarah from Egypt

Ellie said...

Sailaja and Speranta,
Thank you..yes, you can use whatever filling you like.

Ellie said...

Tony, Thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment. I hope you can give it a try someday. Have a great day!~ Ellie

Ellie said...

Corn, Aww...thanks for your sweet and kind comment! You really put a smile on my face:)...so glad I could be of help. I really hope you enjoy this recipe. Both my mom and sister have made it and they both loved it...It looks so pretty too. What a great idea to use kale. Have a wonderful day!~Ellie

Ellie said...

Hi Sarah, Thanks for stopping by...I do hope you get a chance to make this. In case, you would like to try it with other filling, here are some suggestions. But with all fillings it is important that the filling not be wet as the dough will get soggy and will probably not rise as much. Also, you want to be able to butter each layer...this keeps the layers separated.
Keep in mind that I haven't made the borek with the following suggestions, but they sound like they would work. I would like to try them myself sometime soon:)

a. instead of spinach, use sauteed onions/mushrooms
b. sauteed/grilled chopped vegetables (bell peppers,etc..)
c. grilled chopped chicken/sausages
d. minced ground seasoned beef
e. chopped sundried tomatoes

as for the sweet (it sounds like a great idea.

a.how about adding some raisins and sweeten a bit of drained cottage cottage cheese/ricotta
b. make this similar to a baklava with chopped nuts and dried breadcrumbs
c. you can easily use some chopped dried fruit/turkish delights
d. sprinkle some cinnamon/nutmeg with pistachios.
e. use some chopped chocolate

I hope this gives you some ideas...Do let me know if you try it with something that you like. I would love to hear about it. Have a wonderful day! ~Ellie

Corn said...

Hi Ellie,
I made it yesterday but it wasn't nearly as beautiful as yours, however, I figured out what I did wrong, so I will keep trying it because my husband and I loved it. Plus we were trying to come up with some creative fillings. Thanks again. Hope you are having a lovely weekend and expect me to drop by a lot ;)

Cherine said...

Yummy! This looks absolutely delicious!

Ellie said...

Thanks for letting me know about the recipe outcome...I am glad that you still liked it:). I really think that it is important for the filling to be on the "drier" side, as a moist filling will be too heavy. I am so glad you tried the recipe and that you still want to do it again:). I know I have done the same with many recipes...
I enjoy having you come on the blog...so feel free to stop by whenever you like!:) Have a great day!~Ellie

Unknown said...

Wow! This bread looks amazing with all its layers. Yum!

Gwen said...

I made this yesterday for a knitting party. I didn't have instant yeast so I used two packets of active yeast. It didn't rise as much as yours did, but it was still delicious. Everyone was raving about it. Thanks for the recipe!

Ellie said...

Gwen, Thanks for the feedback...I am so glad you liked the bread! Thank you for taking the time to write. I really appreciate it. Have a great day~Ellie

Anonymous said...

Hi, great site - so many great recipes I don't know where to start!

I was wondering n regards to this recipe, how long does this keep (in the fridge?) and do you think it would be OK to freeze?



Ellie said...

Lauren, Thank you for stopping by and for your sweet compliment....I am hoping you will find at least 1 recipe you might like to try:)...

In regards to keeping the borek in the fridge, I probably wouldn't do that....just because all breads when refrigerated will go stale and dry up much quicker.
On the other hand, I have frozen the borek with wonderful results. I personally will opt for freezing it versus placing it in the fridge. Hope that helps~Ellie

megi said...

I'll try the layered bread now then, I am a bit nervous about it but if it ends up looking half as good as yours, I'll be happy. Every so often, I come to this page, admire it and tell myself I should make it soon. :)

One quick question before I get started though, do you let the dough rise at all once you mix it or do you just roll it as soon as it's made?

Did you get my e-mail? I hope both of you like the orange chocolate cake, it's delicious.

Ellie said...

Megi, you do not let it rise after it's mixed...you will roll it out right away. Only after the rolling, brushing filling, cutting, etc you will let it rise.
It only gets one rise, after it's basically assembled and cut.

You want it to rise to double... or when you see the layers expanded a bit(like in the photo). This might take longer than one hour, depending how warm/cold your house is.

I sure hope you will enjoy it...

By the way, I did get your e-mail and already responded:)...thanks!

megi said...

Hi Ellie, I thought I would let you know that I made the borek, it's rising as I type. It was really easy to roll. I made half a recipe since we are only two and a half people and the half will be asleep by the time it'll be baked. :)

For half the recipe, I used 1 1/3 cup unbleached bread flour and 2/3 cup sifted spelt flour. For the filling I used sauted onion and spinach and goat cheese.

I can already tell it'll be a hit here, thank you so much for the recipe, for all the detailed information and especially the step by step photos.

Ellie said...

Megi, Wonderful! I like your filling combination...and I think I will try that next time:). Love the spelt flour substitution...I wish I had a piece right now:).
You know, I think you can be so creative with the filling, that's it's fun to experiment.
Glad you are liking it so far. Thanks for letting me know how it went for you. I appreciate it!

megi said...

Hi Ellie, the borek turned out to be very pretty and the taste and texture are perfect. I can't wait to make it when we have friends coming over. Just one question, do you think I could make the dough, rolling, assembling, cutting etc. ahead of time and let it rise in the refrigerator so I don't have to do it right before they arrive? I could maybe use slightly less yeast, let it ferment at lower temperature for longer? Thank you Ellie.

Ellie said...

Megi, SO glad you enjoyed the borek:)... I don't see why you couldn't do the prep work beforehand and refrigerate it. It works for most breads...you will also probably get a better flavor in the dough.
Though, I probably wouldn't use to wet of a filling when making it...but the one you did with the caramelized onions and goat cheese should work.
You will need to take it out of the fridge in plenty of time to let it come to room temp. and rise a bit more if need be...before baking it. It is definitely worth a try:)
Glad you enjoyed it...and thanks again for your feedback.

Anonymous said...

can we use mozzarella cheese or any other cheese instead of feta cheese or make without using cheese?

Ellie said...

Anon, You can use other cheeses....though the melting cheese( mozzarella, cheddar, etc.) will probably make the layers fuse together....just won't have distinct layers.
You can opt to leave the cheese out and fill it with spinach and drained cottage cheese or cream cheese....or a myriad of vegetables that have been sauteed/grilled, etc. You have the option of filling it with ground meat and vegetables... I think you can be quite creative with the fillings...it won't be the same as with the feta cheese, but I am sure still delicious:)

Bergamot said...

This is a wonderful recipe. I tried and have posted it on my blog. I like the idea of do-it-from-scratch.

Ellie said...

Bergamot, Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed the borek... Your borek came out looking wonderful! Thank you so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

Unknown said...

Well, Mz Ellie, I have spent the morning going from recipe to recipe on this site I just discovered. What happened to my starting laundry? Wii fit? Shower?? Sorry, I keep finding tempting recipes to try. I already have 3 of your recipes in line for the next 2 days. This bread to go with our soup tonight. The phylo-asperagus with company dinner tomorrow night. I think this will be a long and beautiful relationship. God bless.

Ellie said...

Aww, Linda... sure didn't mean to keep you from your "chores":), But your kind comment made me smile, as I too, get lost many a time in cookbooks and cooking sites. But I sure hope the time spent browsing here will be worth it! And welcome to my humble little blog. I hope you will be inspired...

The 2 recipes you mentioned are a favorite, so hopefully at least one will be delicious to you as well... maybe both:). Have fun baking, and I hope your family and guests will enjoy the fruit of your labor.

BarefootLilyLady said...

I recently found this recipe floating around on Pinterest (and in doing so, found your lovely blog). I'm making this for a dinner for 6 party tonight...we're going with a middle eastern recipe theme. I think the dough is quite easy to work with and have mine rising right now. It looks like it will be yummy. I used fresh spinach, cooked down with a little olive oil and thinly sliced onion; once cool, I squeezed it out til relatively dry). I added sun-dried tomatoes to one layer, but otherwise followed the recipe using the cottage cheese and feta cheese. Can't wait to serve it.

Ellie said...

Cindie, Welcome:)... and thanks a ton for trying out the recipe! I sure hope you will enjoy it as much as we do. Your fillings sound wonderful, especially the sundried tomato variation. What a great idea!

I'm hoping you and your guests enjoy the bread... I sure love the idea of a middle eastern party:). LOVE anything middles eastern, well, most things:).