Bulgarian Mesenitza

A completed loaf of mesenitza.I have a friend who taught me how to cook the very popular Bulgarian national dish Mesenitza, it's also called Tutmanik. It is bread stuffed with cheese. This is a very tasty and cheap meal. The recipe varies, but the basic ingredients are flour, yeast, oil, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt and cheese. Bulgarian cheese is called sirenje or sirene, it can be replaced with Greek feta.


Ingredients for Bulgarian Mesenitza

Prep Time: 45 Minutes + time for dough to rise

Cook Time: 50 Minutes

Total Time: 2 hrs 45 mins

Yield: 8




    1. Crumble fresh yeast, then add 3-4 tablespoons of flour, sugar and mix it. Add 2 cups (100 ml) of warm water, mix it and set aside in a warm place for 15-20 minutes (let the yeast activate).
    2. Mixing dough ingredients.
      Mixing dough ingredients.
      Mixing dough ingredients.

    3. Add the remaining water to the milk, warm it up a little, add salt, stir to dissolve the salt, add yogurt.
    4. Separate an egg white from a yolk. Beat a little (with a fork) one egg and one white. You will use one yolk for decoration.
    5. Beating egg mixture.
    6. Pour flour on the table, make a well, add eggs, activated yeast, milk mixture, 7 tablespoons of oil and knead the dough.
    7. Adding the wet ingredients to the dry.
      Mixing dough ingredients.
    8. Roll out the dough on a greased with oil surface. Grease the dough with 1 tablespoon of oil and fold the dough into an envelope. Knead the dough until the dough absorbs the oil. Then roll out the dough again, grease with 1 tablespoon of oil and knead the dough again. Repeat this with the remaining vegetable oil.
    9. A ball of dough.
      Forming the dough.

    10. Place the dough in a greased with oil bowl, cover with film, then with a towel and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume (about 45 min).
    11. A ball of dough.
      Allowing the dough to rise.


    1. Crumble the cheese.
    2. Melt the butter, mix it with vegetable oil. It should be a little warm.

    Assembling the Mesenitza

    1. Prepare a baking dish with a diameter of about 30-32 cm: put greased baking paper inside.
    2. Divide the dough into four balls of equal weight. Roll first ball of dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch (1cm) or as thinly as possible (stretch the dough with your hands).  Add filling - cheese on top and pour 4-5 tablespoons of warm oil and butter mixture.
    3. Small balls of dough.
      Adding cheese to the dough mixture.

    4. Roll the second ball of dough, cover the filling with it, stretching the edges. The first layer of dough must be completely covered by the second layer of dough. Smear the top with the oil and butter mixture and roll the dough onto itself to obtain a cylinder. Shape the cylinder into a snail-shaped roll and place it in the center of the baking dish.
    5. Forming the dough.
      Forming the dough
      Forming the dough into a spiral.
    6. Make another roll using the remaining two balls of dough and remaining filling. Place the roll in the baking dish around the previous snail-shaped roll. If there is a mixture of oil and butter left, then pour it on top of the mesenitza. Leave mesenitza to rise in a warm place (about 30 minutes). 
    7. Forming the dough into a spiral.

    8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
    9. Prepare mixture for decoration: beat the remaining yolk, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of milk. Cover the mesenitza with the mixture.
    10. Allowing the dough to rise.
    11. Bake for about 55 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes. When the mesenitza is golden, cover the top with foil to keep it from burning.
    12. Remove the mesenitza and let cool on a wire rack.
    13. The baked mesenitza.

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