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Balkan Bakery

1107 E. Bell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85022
602-996-4598
Balkan Bakery

Chris Malloy

Mornings, in-the-know customers trickle into Balkan Bakery, inhaling the bready fragrance of its tiny room on Bell Road. Some get French-style rolls. Some get rope-like kifli. Some get dark twists of pretzels still hot from the oven. All seem to have an unspoken respect for Jasenko Osmic, the man behind that oven, who bakes, peals, and shapes dough with the endurance of an Olympic athlete. His prized baked good is the bourek, available in three styles; it’s so central to Balkan Bakery that boureks have their own section of the menu. Osmic makes them in the style of Sarajevo, which his family fled in 1997. Shaped like a butterfly’s tongue, the tight coils of baked homemade phyllo dough come from the oven warm and soft, rich and fragrant, pretzel-brown on top and utterly stuffed with a meaty or cheesy filling. The newly baked discs sit in a tiered display, steaming behind glass. Those who come for bread and pretzels often find, as they exit the shop, the toasted lip of a spinach bourek against their own. Quietly, Balkan Bakery’s bourek is one of Phoenix’s finest baked goods.
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