Yufka, which originated from the Central Asian Turkish tradition, was the basic and earliest form of bread prepared by nomadic Turkic tribes in Anatolia from the 11th century onwards. Yufka, a very thin and round bread, still constitutes the staple food in Turkey in rural areas. It is made from a simple recipe that does not include any leavening agents to make it rise. Like other unleavened breads, yufka includes only a few basic ingredients. It is made using whole-wheat flour and salt that is added to warm water to form a soft dough. Using a thin rolling pin without handles on both sides, the cook rolls the bread out to around 30 centimetres across. After being prepared, the unleavened bread can be cooked on a heated metal plate called “sac” for about two minutes per side. The dried dough can then be stacked and stored in large bundles and pulled out as needed for various dishes. To rehydrate for use, the dough can be sprinkled with water. Dried yufka can be consumed as bread and it can also be used in the preparation of sweet and savoury pastry. Yufka dessert is a simple sweet prepared with dried yufka sheets, especially in the Black Sea region in Anatolia. Semi- cooked yufka also constitutes the basis of famous pastry dishes in Turkish cuisine. Both savoury pastry (called börek) and sweet ones (like baklava) are prepared with semi-cooked yufka sheets.
MAKING YUFKA BREAD Sift the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre. Add the water gradually until you get a smooth dough.Rest the dough for 10 minutes.Take the pastry and divide into 6-8 walnut-sized pieces.Place one of the pieces on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into circles until it is a couple of millimetres thick and 30-40 cm in diameter.Heat a non-stick tray (or frying pan if large enough) until very hot and cook each yufka briefly on both sides. Repeat the 5th and 6th step for all pieces. Note You can keep yufkas wrapped in a large cloth for 5-6 months. MAKING YUFKA DESSERTSoak one yufka in water until the pastry becomes wet but still crunchy and place it on a greased tray.Brush the pastry with olive oil and repeat the 1st and 2nd steps three times.Spread walnut filling on the pastry. Repeat the soaking and oiling steps for all the yufka sheets.Pour the melted butter over the tray and bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 45 minutes.To make the syrup dissolve the sugar thoroughly in the water.Pour syrup over the hot yufka dessert and allow to soak for one hour.