Essential Ingredient for Borek and Pastries

A discussion on boreks’ (Turkish empanadas or pockets or savory pastries as we have been calling them so far) couldn’t be complete without a little bit of a deep dive into the world of filo dough and puff pastry.  Some call is phyllo dough, some call it puff pastry. But what is the main ingredient in a borek? What brands of dough are out there? There are pre-cut sheets, there are thicker and thinner sheets of dough.  How do you know which to use for various types of recipes we have been featuring? What are the differences between puff pastry, phyllo dough and the original “yufka” used to make boreks in Turkey?

With this article, we hope to bring you a bit closer to the world of filo dough, or yufka, thin pastry sheets of Turkey, the essential ingredient for your amazing borek creations!

Triangular or rectangular sheets of yufka to match the shapes you want to create in your recipes.

More on Filo Dough from Saveur
We also liked this recent article - perhaps a study will be more appropriate to call it-  on filo dough from the Saveur magazine. They tested a variety of brands and types. Check out the results of their tests and what brands they suggest by clicking here.

Omur is one of the common brands  of yufka you can find out of Turkey.

What is the difference?

Puff pastry is pastry dough rolled over several times to create a dough that puffs up when bakes, and creates a flaky, croissant-like layered and buttery pastry.  Filo or phyllo dough on the other hand is thin sheet of pastry dough that can be layered with melted butter between layers to create a similar effect. The original yufka, Turkish sheets of dough, are thicker than filo dough and can be used as single sheets to create these baked goods.

How to choose the right pastry for your borek type?

Turkish brands offer thicker sheets of dough better suited for boreks that do not require the very thin and multiple layers.  Use those when making cigarillo borek, water borek or pan boreks. Brands most commonly found outside of Turkey are Merve and Omur for these types of pastry sheets.

The market brands such as Pepperidge Farm for puff pastry offer the already layered sheets that are most appropriate for more flaky and buttery crusts. Use those for flaky pastries such as talash borek for a puffed up, empanada-like appearance.

Filo dough sheets are most appropriate for individually layering with butter, to create multi-layered desserts such as baklava where layers matter and make an impact. Popular brands include Pepperidge Farm and Athens.

And what about speciality cuts and shapes? Cigarillo borek is most suitable for pre-cut, triangular filo sheets. The Turkish brands Omur and Merve have cigarillo borek sheets, pre-cut into triangles. Rectangular cuts are the best for your pans that are, surprize!, rectangular.  Enjoy your creations and remember, experimentation is key for better cooking.

Meltem, Copyright 2010 Foods of Turkey

Two Videos for More...
A video on how to make puff pastry at home. It doesn’t get any easier than this but it is also scary to see how much butter goes into it!
Now see the Turkish way of making Yufka.

Borek Recipes?

Take a look on EAT!