The Balkan Travel Kitchen: Bosnian Burek

We will start our travel kitchen dedicated to the Balkans with the most famous and favorite dish in Bosnia, the Bosnian burek.

The goal of our Balkan Travel Kitchen is to share with you recipes for the Balkan’s traditional dishes, and dishes that are super easy to prepare with just a few ingredients.

People from the Balkans are big gourmets. We cherish old recipes that are passed from generation to generation. Therefore, we are sure you will enjoy preparing and eating all our dishes!

Below you can see a video on how to make Bosnian burek, but here on the site you will go through all the steps of making it.

What is Bosnian Burek?

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the burek is the name for a meat pie. Certainly, Bosnian’s don’t use name burek for pies from cheese, spinach, or potato. However, in Croatia, the burek is a name for any pie.

Indeed, word burek means pie, but in the Turkish language. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, is possible to notice a big Turkish influence on language, culture, and food. This influence is logical because our country was for centuries under the Ottoman Empire.

For locals in Bosnia, burek is the king among the pies. Therefore, be very careful not to order cheese burek in some of the numerous pie shops in the Old town of Sarajevo, or anywhere else in Bosnia. Because for citizens of Bosnia, especially Sarajevo, this is an insult.

If you travel to Sarajevo make sure to take Bosnian cooking lessons to learn to make burek and other Bosnian dishes. And most importantly you will learn that in the home of a chef with a great view of Sarajevo.

Homemade Filo Dough

Filo dough can be bought. But, as we mentioned above we in Bosnia try to use anything homemade. If you can make it why buy it? Also, you will see a difference in flavor. Every single ingredient can make a huge difference in taste.

Don’t worry we have also covered preparation of filo dough in our video. We promise it’s not difficult!

There are numerous techniques on how to prepare a filo dough. The techniques differ depending on which method you use to roll out the dough. Here I will describe, and show you in the video, how is my mum making a filo dough.

“This is a great technique for people who don’t have a big table or a lot of space on the table to make a filo dough”, said my mum while smiling.

The most important thing you need to look after when preparing a filo dough is that it needs to be thin!

Roll out the dough

Ingredients for the Bosnian Burek (serves 3):

Filo dough:

500 g white flour (type 400) 

1/2 tsp of salt

4 tsp of sunflower oil

2 dcl of lukewarm water


500 g minced (ground) beef meat

Salt and pepper according to your wish

1 onion, diced (as smallest pieces as possible)

1 dcl water

Last touch:

25 g butter 

0.5 dcl cow milk

How to make filo dough

Step 1: From 500 g of flour keep 4 tablespoons in a cup for later, and the rest pour in the bowl. 

Step 2: Make a hole in the middle of the flour and pour 3 tsp of sunflower oil and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Step 3:  Stir through (from the middle toward sides of bowl) while adding 2 dcl of lukewarm water until it holds together.

Step 4: Start to knead the dough in the bowl or on the table. You need to get a smooth dough, that does not stick to your hands. If it’s sticky add that 4 tsp we have left aside, in the cup. Knead the dough for a few minutes (around 5 minutes) until it gets soft and smooth. 

Step 5:  Make the shape of a ball and leave it in the bowl. Pour the dough with 1 tsp of sunflower oil. Cover the bowl with a plate or something that will stop air flow. Leave it for 1:30-2 hours. 

How to make the filling

While we are waiting for our filo dough to be ready we can start preparing the filling. 

Step 1: Diced one onion into the tiniest pieces. 

Step 2: Mix the onion with minced meat. 

Step 3: Put as much salt and pepper as you wish. 

Step 4: Pour 1 dcl of water. Mix it all with hand. 

Diced the onion

How to fill the dough

Before we start filling the dough make sure you have turned on the oven to heat to around 200°C (400°F).

Step 1: Sprinkle flour on the table, working surface, and on the filo to keep it from sticking. 

Step 2:  Use the rolling pin to roll out the dough to a paper-thin thickness circle. The middle must be around 1 cm, but the edges must be thinner. The edges (around 3-4 cm) must be transparent. 

Step 3: When you roll out the dough sprinkle it with sunflower oil. 

Step 4: Spread the meat evenly along the edges of the dough.

Step 5: Stretch the edges of dough over the meat. Start rolling out the edges of dough with hand until the middle gets so tin that you can see through it. 

Step 6: Cut the dough in the middle with a knife.

Step 7:  Finish rolling the edges of the circle to use the remaining dough. You will get a circle tube full of meat & onion filling.

Step 8:  Cut the tube and twist it into a few small snail shell spirals or one big. 

Spread the meat on the edges
You will get a circle tube full of meat & onion filling.

Baking and last touch

Step 1: Oil the pan before putting the burek in it. 

Step 2: Brush the burek with oil and place it in a preheated oven. 

Step 3: Bake Bosnian burek for half an hour on 200°C (400°F), until its golden.

Step 4: Melt 25 g of butter in 0.5 dcl of milk. 

Step 5: When the Bosnian burek is done brush it with a mixture of butter and milk.

Step 6: Cover the burek with a dishtowel and let it stay for around 10 minutes.

Step 7: Serve it with sour cream

Ready to bake

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