Bread

The BBQ season has started. I love it because practically everything and anything can be grilled and get a lovely smokey taste. One of my favourites is naan bread.

  • Mix 250 g white flour, 2 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda or baking powder (I use half and half).
  • Add minced garlic or Nigella seeds (optional).
  • Add 2 tablespoon olive oil and 1-1.5 dl milk or yoghurt.
  • Make a dough and set aside for at least 1 hour (can be more). It will not rise but become softer.
  • Cut handful loafs and roll them out to 3 mm thickness on a generously floured surface. The shape can be oval or round.
  • Place the dough on the grill, cook until it gets lightly browned. Then turn over and cook the other side, too.

This is a salty Hungarian delight. Here is the basic recipe as I learned it from my granny:

    • Mix 3 g fresh yeast with 1 dl milk and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let it stay in a warm place until the yeast pops up on the top of the milk (about 5-10 minutes).
    • Measure 500 g flour, 2 tablespoon salt, 200 g butter and 1,5 dl sour cream in a big bowl.
    • Add the yeast mixture to it and make a nice, soft dough.
    • Cover with a tea towel and let it grow for about 45 minutes (or, until it gets double sized).
    • Roll the dough out, spread a thin layer of butter on 2/3 of it and fold as is shown on the photos below (in U-direction).

      • Put it back to the bowl, cover and let it grow for another 30 minutes.
      • Beat an egg in a smaller bowl. Roll the dough out to 2-3 cm thickness. Cut the dough with a round cookie cutter and dip the top of the puffs in the beaten egg.
      • Place them on a baking tray and add grated cheese on the top.
      • Bake them on 200 ºC for about 20 minutes, or, until they get golden brown.

Variations - topping:
Instead of adding cheese, you can dip the puffs in sesame or poppy seeds.
Or, mix sour cream with paprika and spread it on the puffs before baking.

Variations - dough:
With potato: The ingredients and the proportions are slightly different, but the method is the same. 300 g flour, 150 g fresh, warm, mashed potato, 60 g butter, 1 egg, 2 tablespoon salt + 3 g fresh yeast, 1 dl milk, 1 teaspoon sugar.
With spices: add a generous amount of ground cumin and dried, crumbled dill to the flour before making the dough. It goes well with sesame topping.

Variations - folding:
After rolling out and spreading butter on the dough, season it generously with chopped wild garlic or stewed cabbage (as it is prepared for cabbage pasta).

I believe that there are many other variations and every kitchen has its own specialty. Pogácsa is a lovely snack for friends gathering, served with wine or beer. After a soup, pogácsa makes a nice second dish of a light dinner. Pogácsa is also great as part of the luch box.

When I was a student, I used to have a part time job in a bakery with free access to the daily leftover. That was the time when I fell in love with focaccia. It is nice by itself, excellent with a glass of good wine and perfect with creamed soups.

  • Mix 2 g fresh yeast with 1 dl milk and a teaspoon sugar. Let it stay in a warm place until the yeast pops up on the top of the milk (about 10 minutes).
  • Measure 400 g white flour, 1.5 tablespoon salt and 0.5 dl olive  oil.
  • Add the yeast mixture to it and make a nice, soft dough.
  • Cover it with a wet tea towel and let it grow for about 1-2 hours (or, until it gets double sized).
  • Coat a baking pan richly with olive oil.
  • Put the dough onto the pan and stretch it out with fingers. Push some holes on the dough in order to make a craggy surface.
  • Add some topping. It can be pickled garlic, pickled tomatoes in oil, olives, onion in thick slices… whatever you like.
  • Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle dried basil and oregano.
  • Let the dough grow in a warm place (it can be the oven on 45 ºC) for about 1 hour.
  • Bake it on 200 ºC for about 30 minutes, or until it turns to golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt.

The other day I made a bowl of guacamole but forgot to buy tortilla chips. So, I had to make something to dip. Grissini is an easy and delicious choice. What makes it taste great is using high quality olive oil.

Here comes the recipe:

  • Mix 2 g fresh yeast in 1 dl milk with a teaspoon sugar.
  • Add the mixture to 400 g white flour.
  • Add 1 dl olive oil, 1 dl water and a tablespoon salt.
  • Mix it well and let it grow to double.
  • Cover the dough with a wet tea towel and let it grow for about 1-2 hours (until it gets double-sized).
  • Roll about 15 cm long, 0.5 cm thick sticks of it.
  • Place them on a baking tray.
  • After 10 minutes turn the oven on and bake the sticks for about 15 minutes at 190 ºC - or until they get golden brown.

Optionally, you can use seeds (for example sesame seeds or Nigella sativa) either in the dough or as topping.
Grissini is also great to hummus, cheese or vegetable dips and creamed soups.

This is one example of how I use candied orange peel - not just around Christmas!
I usually prepare these buns for breakfast, that is why I make the dough in the evening before.

  • Mix about 10 g yeast with a handful sugar very well in a bowl, until it becomes a brown liquid.
  • Add about 2 dl water and mix it again.
  • Measure about 400 g white flour in a big bowl (I use my stand mixer's metal bowl). A part of it (no more than 50%) can be whole flour, but it will result a dense dough.
  • Add a pinch of salt, a tablespoon grained cardamom, a generous handful of diced candied orange peel and about 0,5 dl oil (sunflower or rapeseed oil is fine).
  • Add the yeast-sugar-water mixture to it.
  • Make a nice, soft dough. Add more water if it is necessary.
  • Cover the dough with a wet tea towel and keep it in a warm place an overnight.
  • Shape nice balls next morning. Place them on a baking tray and let them grow for about 20-30 minutes. (I place the tray in the oven and warm it up to 40 ºC.)
  • Bake them for about 20 minutes at 190 ºC.

This is one of my favorite breakfasts. The original bun recipe was found in "Kager der smager" of Alette Bertelsen. I love this recipe because it is fast and simple. Though I make different variations week by week with cinnamon, raisins, nuts, almonds, cocoa…