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The Recipe of the Mighty Pogácsa

2007.12.16. 22:20 :: Zeno Vernyik

The special event of baking real Hungarian pogácsa we performed two weeks ago on a Thursday with Lenka proved to be an overwhelming success. Or at least people like flattering me, or are not willing to be critical. Hopefully the first version is the real one.

In any case, a lot of people asked for the recipe. Baking pogácsa is actually a very simple process, albeit it might be time consuming if we plan to prepare them in a higher quantity, as we did. For smaller batches, we won't need too much time though. (It all really depends on the capacity of our oven.)

Of course, Hungarian readers might interject that there are probably well around 20-30 different types of pogácsa, and they are right at that. The one below is just one possible kind. One more or less based on, but slightly modified from, this recipe.
The actual type is pogácsa with cheese and potatoes.

400-500 g flour
250 g margarine
250-350 g potato
100-120 g smoked cheese
24-25g yeast
1 or 2 eggs
1 cup of milk

Start by peeling the potatoes, cutting them up into 4-6 pieces per potato, and boil them soft in slightly salty water.

While the potatoes get ready, mix the flower with 1 and a half coffee-spoons of salt. Make a little volcano out of it, that is, create a little crater in the middle. Crumble the brick of yeast and place its pieces in the crater, then pour 1 coffee-spoon of sugar on it. Warm the milk (but do NOT make it hot), and pour it on top, paying attention not to spill it outside the crater. In a few (at most ten) minutes, the mixture in the middle should be bigger and foamy.

Once the potatoes are ready, crush them, and then mix the potatoes, the margarine, the pre-prepaired flour and half an egg with the yeast volcano until it turns into dough. Add flower if it is too sticky and soft, add milk or the potatoes' boiling water if it is not soft enough. Cover it with some soft clean cloth, and leave it rise. Use the time needed to grind the cheese.

When the dough is ready, gently spread it with a rolling-pin. Spread some ground cheese on the spread-out dough. Fold it in half, spread it again, spread the rest of the cheese on it, then fold in half again, and spread with the rolling-pin to an average thickness of two-three centimeters, depending on how big thick you want them. Make a squared pattern on top of it with a sharp knife, then cut them into spherical shapes of 3-5 cm of diamter, depending on your idea of the ideal pogácsa and what kind of form you have to use for this purpose. (Some drinking glass will do, too.) Paint the top of each using the other half of the egg.

Bake them in an pre-heated oven at 175-185 degrees centigrade. The baking tray should be covered with baking paper or with margarine and flour, so as not to let them stick.

Enjoy the pogácsa.

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