The king of Turkish pastries, five Brek recipes you can make at home

Mayıs 2022 | Ada Dunn, Waitress

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Brek is the king of all Turkish pastries, one of the dishes that made Turkish cuisine famous worldwide and has been handmade in Turkey for hundreds of years. Traversing all continents, Brek has so many varieties that an encyclopedia could be written about it.

Brek is a savory pastry made of yufka (a delicate, silky dough) that can be filled with unsalted Turkish cheese, parsley, chicken, minced meat and the occasional vegetable such as potatoes, spinach, leeks or fried zucchini. For centuries, this delicate and delicious dish has been the food of nomads and travelers. Over time, however, it earned its place at the table in the Ottoman era.

Research shows that nomadic Turkic peoples of Central Asia first invented Brek in the seventh century. When various Turkic peoples migrated from Central Asia to the West, taking their favorite pastry with them, Brek became part of the cuisine of the Turkic settlements.

It was so popular in the Ottoman Empire that in Istanbul in the early 16th century, there was one Brek store for every four bakeries. Today, every region of Turkey has its own variety of this delicious snack. However, you don't need to set foot in Turkey to taste this Turkish delicacy. Here are five easy Brek recipes that you can try to make at home.

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1. Gül brei
You will love the crunchy outside and soft inside Gül (rose) Brei, which will make your table colorful. You can serve this delicious pastry to your guests at breakfast or tea time. And, it's effortless to make!

Place the dough on a board and divide it into four equal parts. Prepare the filling with chopped parsley and cheese, then place them on the wider side of the dough and roll it up. Brush the dough with egg yolk, garnish with sesame seeds or black cumin, and put it in the oven. It will make the whole house smell great! Be sure to share it with your neighbors and your loved ones!

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2. Paanga Brei
Paanga Brei is one of the indispensable appetizers in Turkish cuisine. It is very simple and easy to prepare. Paanga brei can be prepared as a hot appetizer for tea or dinner. And the pastrma (a Turkish corned beef) filling really makes this Brek very special.

Divide the crust into eight equal portions and slice the pastrma and kaar cheese. Peel the tomatoes and dice them finely. Place the pastrma, cheese and diced tomatoes on a piece of crust and wrap it neatly. Finally, fry the Paanga Brei in hot oil on both sides and serve.

3.Su Brei
One of the most popular pastries in Turkish cuisine is undoubtedly Su Brei. İt is one of the unique flavors of the Ottoman Empire period and is named Su Brei because it is cooked in water. It is made by filling the individual layers with cheese or minced meat.

Su Brei is at least 200 years old and has an important place in Turkish culture. A good Su Brei technique is to roll out the dough very thin, like Baklava dough. Today, it is served at festivals, circumcision and henna parties, engagements, and even at funerals. In the past, it also played a huge role in marriages. Brides-in-law asked their brides-to-be to make them some Su Brei to test the bride's cooking skills. If the Su Brei was done well, they would let the bride-to-be marry their son.

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4. İBrek
The traditional dish of the Crimean Turks who immigrated to Eskişehir is i Brek. However, its real name is i Brek without the final letter. It means "delicious, beautiful" in Tatar and is one of the most famous dishes in the city.

iBrek, which has been made in Turkey for at least 250 years, is made with a pasta crust filled with ground beef, onions, black pepper and salt. It is fried in oil for only 15 seconds and must be served while still hot. A good Gi'i Brek must be very thin and almost transparent. If no juices come out when you bite into it, it's not a true i Brek. I have to say, despite being fried in oil, it has a surprisingly light flavor. When my friend and I traveled to Turkey, we went to huqqa kuruçeşmer restaurant, which is famous for making iBrek, to taste the authentic iBrek.

To learn more about Brek, visit the yummyadvisor, a Turkish Cuisine website. In addition to Brek, you can also find information about other specialties and recommended restaurants in Turkey.
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