Legendary Dishes | Yufka (thin pastry dough)

The thin pastry dough known as yufka in Turkey and filo elsewhere

Yufka, the thin pastry dough for making baklava, banitsa, börek, kadaiyf, manti and other filo confections, usually starts with a combination from flour, oil and water.

Variations call for milk in place of water, the addition of egg or lemon juice or salt, the absence of oil, or the use of bicarbonate of soda (which is usually mixed with the juice). Filo pastries are thought to be a product of the Ottomans because they refined the art and spread it across eastern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. In reality filo origins are much older.

Dough 1

300 g soft white wheat flour
150 ml water
2 tsp salt

Sift the flour on a work surface, make a well in the middle. Add the salt and water little by little while mixing with your hands. Continue doing this until a stiff dough forms. Rest the dough covered on the counter for about one hour. Then divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Rest for another hour covered. Then on a generously floured surface start strecthing a dough with a stardard rolling pin until it is the size of a dinner plate. Then switch to a thin and long rolling pin (if not available continue with the standard rolling pin). Dust the dough with lots of flour. Fold one end of the dough over the rolling pin, and continue rolling until all the dough is rolled onto the pin, start rolling back and forth in this manner, then let the dough loose. This time fold another end of the dough and do the same. Dough will become larger and larger the more times you do this. The point is to achieve dough pieces almost as thin as paper. Do the same with all the dough pieces. Make sure to keep the stretched dough covered in order to keep them moist. Once you have all your dough pieces you may use them to make any type of börek that requires yufka.

Dough 2

300 g strong white wheat flour
100 ml water, warmed
1 egg
15 ml sunflower oil

Sieve the flour onto a clean work surface, make a well, add egg, oil and water. Follow instructions above.