Making Byrek with Tefta, Part 2: Byrek – Djathe I Barthe

In part two of the byrek journey, we will be making byrek! Do not be scared of the duration time of this recipe. At the end when you sit down and take your first bite of byrek, you will know it was all worth it!

Te befte mirë! Good eats! Bon appetite! Καλή όρεξη!

This is part two of our journey in making byrek with Tefta. To learn a little about who Tefta is and what byrek is, please read part one: Making byrek with Tefta.

In part three, we will hear about Tefta’s upbringing in the communist regime. We will also hear about the central role she has played in the Orthodox Church in Albania.

Byrek-Djathe I Barthe
Alexandria and Tefta making byrek

Ingredients for filling:
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
13.5 ounces of diathe I barthe (substitution=feta)
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of butter

Ingredients for dough:
2 cups flour and ½ cup flour, seperated
3/4 cup water
Vegetable oil-about 1/4 cup

Equipment:
It may be tempting to use a Kitchen Aide Mixer, but it will be much more rewarding to work the dough out by hand!
Clean table top
2 Medium size mixing bowls
Rolling pin
Whisk
Baking dish (we used an 8×10 baking dish, but any shape would work)

Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.

Recipe for Filling:
1.In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat the 4 eggs with a whisk.

2.Add the pinch of salt and milk. Mix well.

3.Break up the Diathe i barthe/Feta with your hands into the bowl.

Crumbling cheese into the bowl by hand

4.Break up the butter with your hands into the bowl.

5.Mix well and let sit on the countertop.

Recipe for the Dough:

1.In the other mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with ¾ cup of water. Stir with a spoon until the flour is combined with the water. Turn onto the tabletop and knead the dough.

2.Have the ½ cup of flour near-by for the next step.

3. If the dough gets too sticky, add more flour one tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, until it is firm. 

4.Split the dough in half.Rolling out the 9 balls of dough

5.With one half of the dough, make 9 (Significance being 3 for the Father, 3 for the Son, and 3 for the Holy Spirit) balls.

6.Take one ball and roll it flat as a disk. Repeat 8 more times.

7.With first piece of dough that is flattened- lay in the middle of your work space. Put ¼ teaspoon of vegetable oil on top of the disk and spread it around with your fingers. Place the second disk onto the first and put ¼ teaspoon of vegetable oil and spread it around. Repeat 7 more times.

8.Add flour to the top and bottom of your dough stack. Take your rolling pin and indent the dough firmly so the disks do not separate. 

Pressing disks together with rolling pin

9.Take your rolling pin and roll out the stack of dough. Roll out the dough until it is big enough to drape over the sides of your pan.

10.Drape the dough on top of your pan. Set aside.

Using rolling pin to drape dough across pan

-Take the other half of reserved dough and repeat steps 5-8.

11.Take your rolling pin and roll out the dough stack. This time, you only want the dough to be as wide as the top of your baking dish.

12.Take your pan (that already has the bottom dough in it) and add the filling. Spread it out.

Bottom dough and filling in pan

13.Take the top piece of dough and place it on top of the filling.

14.Take the part of the dough that is draped over the sides and firmly roll it with the top piece of dough to seal off the byrek.

Rolling top and bottom dough edges to seal filling inside

15.Put 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil on the top of the byrek and spread it around. This will help keep the dough from drying out. 

16.Put the byrek in the oven and turn it down to 400o F. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350o F and bake for another 25 minutes.

17.Take out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Slice of byrek on plate

 

Te befte mirë! Good eats! Καλή όρεξη! Bon appetite!

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Stephanos Ritsi, son of Father Martin & Presvytera Renee, grew…
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