This is the next in our series of educators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new instructor or educator in the fields of baking, pastry, and chocolate.
James Beard Award winner Anna Sortun of Sofra Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has a passion for educating bakers and chefs on how to capitalize on the unique flavors of Turkish and Lebanese flatbreads, using Turkish yufka dough.
Yufka dough is made with ease, using all-purpose flour, kosher salt, warm water and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. This non-leavened dough is thinner than a tortilla, heartier than phyllo dough and has substantial bite, but is very flaky, Sortun explains. It is used to make flatbreads, pastries and börek (a baked or fried pie in Turkey). Sofra Bakery offers a savory börek with fresh cheese and nigella seed at its bakery cafe.
In her 2016 book Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Café, Sortun shares 100 recipes that showcase Middle Eastern spices and flavors in a wide array of bakery products and meals.
Sofra Bakery is the second location created by the Oleana Restaurant Group. The bakery cafe was established in 2008 by Sortun, together with business partner and executive pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick. While traveling in Turkey, still deciding on the name for the bakery, Sortun and Kilpatrick would ask locals what the word “sofra” meant to them. In Turkish, sofra means a table prepared or set for eating a meal.
“Middle Eastern flatbread is used like a sponge to absorb juices of chopped vegetables and roasted meats,” she says. “Non-yeasted doughs — yufka — are similar to a stretchy tortilla. Yufka is the dough we prepare at Sofra for all of our flatbreads. We stuff the dough with vegetable or meat.”