Soft and Chewy Balkan Bread
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Courtney Lynn Hernandez
"Pogaca (Bosnian/Croatian) or pogacha is a type of bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace, and later on in the oven. This bread is found in the cuisines of the Balkans and Turkey. So I searched high and low for a great bread to bake for my homemade panini. I tried maybe a dozen bread recipes over the years just to get it right. I needed a bread that was light and airy that you could press using a panini press and wouldn't get too hard to chew or too thick to eat."
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Ingredients2 h 5 m servings 296 cals
Original recipe yields 5 servings (5 rectangular breads)
- Mix milk and water in a pot over low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pot reads 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour mixture into a cup or other cylindrical glass; sprinkle yeast on top. Let mixture rest until yeast is frothy and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Stir flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Turn dough out on a floured work surface and knead quickly for 5 minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add dough; toss around the bowl a few times to coat evenly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Return dough back to the work surface and punch down. Coat your hands with a little olive oil and knead again for 1 minute. Divide into 5 balls. Flatten the balls out into thick rectangles. Place the rectangles of dough onto a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a thin coat of olive oil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) while the dough rests.
- Bake bread in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Switch to the broil setting until the top of the rolls turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Cut rolls in half lengthwise.
- Cook's Notes:
- For an Italian taste, I add 1/8 cup of one or more of the following: rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes cut-up Kalamata olives. I top the bread with thin onion slices, mozzarella, and/or Parmesan cheese.
- Or for a kick I add 1/8 cup of one or more of the following: jarred jalapeno slices or diced fresh jalapenos, shredded Cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and red onion. I top the bread with additional shredded Cheddar cheese and jalapeno.
- For a flavor that mimics Red Lobster® Cheddar biscuits, I add 1/8 cup of one or more of the following: cayenne pepper, garlic powder, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onion, and dried parsley. I top the bread with extra shredded Cheddar and parsley.
Per Serving: 296 calories; 12.3 g fat; 38.4 g carbohydrates; 7.6 g protein; 3 mg cholesterol; 249 mg sodium. Full nutrition