Kazakh bread comes in many forms and is eaten in large quantities. The oldest type of bread in Kazakhstan is baursak, small pieces of yeast dough which are fried in oil and served at every feast. Baursak are eaten with both meat dishes and soups. Alternatively, you can slather honey or jam onto these donut-like morsels and eat them with tea for dessert. On September 7, 2014, a culinary contest held in Almaty among seven mother-and-daughter-in-law teams resulted in a whopping 856 kilograms of baursak being cooked and a new Guinness World Record being set.
Samsas are baked pastries made from puffy or flaky, yeast or unleavened dough. They may be round, triangular or square in shape and are usually stuffed with beef and onions, although pumpkin and potato varieties are also common. Samsas are usually baked in a clay oven called a tandoor.
Shelpek (silpek) is a tortilla-like flatbread made from thin, unleavened dough which is fried in oil. There are several variations of this Kazakh break recipe including thin and crispy shelpek, flaky onion shelpek and shelpek cooked with kefir or small amounts of yeast. In some families it is customary to prepare seven shelpek every Friday and distribute them to those in need.
Tandoor naan is a round yeast bread baked in a tandoor oven. The most common type of bread in Kazakhstan, tandoor naan is distinguished by the small imprint created in its center. Sesame seeds are commonly sprinkled atop this naan.
Ak naan is a Kazakh bread which resembles tandoor naan but is flatter and also contains onions.
Taba naan is a round sourdough bread which has butter worked into the dough before it is baked over charcoal.