How to make the perfect Serbian burek from scratch in just 24 steps


How to make the perfect Serbian burek from scratch in just 24 steps

This baked pastry uses thin dough such as filo, filled with cheese, meat or vegetables



Burek guide
A step-by-step guide to making burek at home Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

Burek is a Turkish dish that made its way to Serbia through the Ottoman empire – even today there’s easily a 100 varieties of burek available in Turkey. Fillings vary, from meat and cheese to vegetables. In the Balkan regions it is made with ample amounts of butter, a deviation from its water-based variations in Turkey. It’s a dish that calls for less ingredients but a lot of skill, says Chef Urosh Mitrasinovic, Head chef at the Balkan restaurant 21Grams, who demonstrated the burek for us.

Head chef Urosh Mitrasinovic of the restaurant 21grams
Head chef Urosh Mitrasinovic of the restaurant 21grams Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Before you start:

• You need a big surface to roll the dough out – a round table will do nicely. Put the edges of the dough around the table and pull towards you - this is the old-school way of preparing the dough.

• The use of plenty of butter is very important so the burek isn’t dry – beef fat and ghee or clarified butter can be used as an alternative.

• Frozen filo pastry doesn’t do the dish justice. You can buy fresh filo sheets from some Turkish suppliers around the UAE.

• This is a many-layered, richer version of the dish. You can choose to reduce the number of layers.

Ingredients

Burek ingredients
Burek ingredients Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

440gm flour

380ml cold water

5gm salt

300gm labneh

100gm butter

Method

1. Add the flour, water and salt to a stand mixer.

Burek Step 1
Burek Step 1 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

2. Mix at medium speed until the dough is smooth.

Burek Step 2
Burek Step 2 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

3. Take it out from the mixing bowl.

Burek Step 3
Burek Step 3 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

4. Divide it in four pieces

Burek Step 4
Burek Step 4 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

5. Shape them into balls.

Burek Step 5
Burek Step 5 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

6. Cover each ball generously with butter.

Burek Step 6
Burek Step 6 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

7. Let it rest for two hours – this is a very important step for elasticity when stretching dough. The filo will then be crispy after a day and butter will be incorporated, or will be smooth like pasta. This makes it rustic.

Burek Step 7
Burek Step 7 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

8. Once rested, the dough is ready to be stretched.

Burek Step 8
Burek Step 8 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

9. Take a dough ball and press it with your hands to make it as thin as possible.

Burek Step 9
Burek Step 9 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

10. Spread a bit of butter on the dough.

Burek Step 10
Burek Step 10 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

11. Then stretch it even more, by lifting it off the table.

Burek Step 11
Burek Step 11 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

12. Continue stretching the dough following the above steps. The final product should be a transparent (see-through) dough.

Burek Step 12
Burek Step 12 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

13. Repeat the process to make a second layer of dough following the above steps. 

14. Spread a bit more butter on the rolled dough. Then fold the sides, making a square.

15. Spoon half the cheese on top. This is your burek base. Place this base on top of the first dough layer you made.

Burek Step 15 - 1
Burek Step 15 - 1 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Step 15 - 2
Burek Step 15 - 2 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

16. Close up the base dough layer with the second one and make a square again.

Burek Step 16
Burek Step 16 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 16 - 1
Burek Step 16 - 1 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 16 - 2
Burek Step 16 - 2 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 16 - 3
Burek Step 16 - 3 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 16 - 4
Burek Step 16 - 4 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 16 - 5
Burek Step 16 - 5 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

17. Make the third and fourth dough layers. Place the first and second dough layers on the third layer.

Burek Step 17
Burek Step 17 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

18. Put more cheese on top.

Burek Step 18
Burek Step 18 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

19. Close up with the third layer. (You can repeat the above steps to add a fourth layer to the burek.)

Burek Step 19
Burek Step 19 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

20. Fold into a square. Place your burek in a pizza tray of 28-30 cm in diameter.

Burek Step 20
Burek Step 20 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

21. Bake at 220C for 40 minutes or until it turns golden brown.

Burek Step 21
Burek Step 21 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 21 - 1
Burek Step 21 - 1 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 21 - 2
Burek Step 21 - 2 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

22. Brush melted butter on top.

Burek Step 22
Burek Step 22 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

23. Flip over.

Burek Step 23
Burek Step 23 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Step 23 - 1
Burek Step 23 - 1 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

24. Cut in 4 pieces. Enjoy

Burek Step 24
Burek Step 24 Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer
Burek Serving
Time to eat some warm burek! Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque, Gulf News photographer

Location courtesy: 21Grams

Tell us about your favourite dishes or recipes at food@gulfnews.com

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