Pogacsa

Hungarian style cheese biscuits. A staple at Paradi family gatherings from Judy Paradi.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups flour (best with white bread flour but can substitute one cup for whole wheat)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp Becel – it is a Margarine (I use the lite variety)
  • 1 pkg dry active yeast (not the quick acting kind)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 fluid ounces kefir or buttermilk
  • 2 whole large eggs (plus one for painting the tops)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup finely grated hard aged cheddar cheese
  • (mix the two cheeses)

Steps

  1. Take all the ingredients out of the fridge a few hours before you start – this is not imperative but it does make the whole process go faster if the ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Turn the oven on for 10 min to 200 then turn off – you will need a warm place for “proofing.”
  3. Put one ounce of the kefir or buttermilk into a heat proof one cup measuring cup – the liquid should be body temperature – if it is too hot it will kill the yeast, if too cold the yeast won’t bubble.

    Stir the yeast and the sugar into the buttermilk and set aside – it can take anywhere from 10 min to half an hour or even more to grow.  The yeast mixture should bubble up to the top of the cup. If it does not bubble in 30 min. your yeast is dead (too old, or too hot) and you will need to try again with new yeast.
  4. While you are waiting for the yeast to rise – put 3 cups of flour into a large bowl and three cups into a Cuisinart or similar mixer, Add the Becel and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse oatmeal. (I do this because it is faster than using a pastry cutter to incorporate the Becel.)
  5. Dump the flour and Becel mixture into a bowl add the three remaining cups of flour along with the two eggs, the remaining 7 oz of buttermilk, salt, and the bubbly active yeast mixture. Mix with a large wooden spoon until it holds together somewhat and then dump the whole thing onto a surface suitable for kneading. I use my countertop.
  6. Knead the dough until all the materials are evenly incorporated and it is firm but not dry. It should have a sheen and bounce a bit to the touch – we say like a baby’s bottom. This is the part that takes some “feeling” to get it right – if the dough is too wet it will stick to your hands in that case you can knead in a bit of flour. If it is hard / heavy and looks dry you will have to add a few tbsp. more of the Kefir and even Becel – this is a bit trickier but I have done it. You just have to be patient and work it in.

    Put the ball of dough into the bowl and cover with a light-weight damp cloth – be careful that it doesn’t stick. You can spray the dough lightly with a cooking spray so the cloth doesn’t stick.
  7. Your oven should be about as warm as a warm room – if you have a pilot light that should do. If it is a warm summer day that is just as good. Yeast needs warmth to grow.

    Keep the cloth damp or it will stick to your dough. Your dough should take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to rise – it should be at least 4 times the size.
  8. When the dough has risen – punch it down. Literally punch it down with your fist. Now you are ready to roll it out.

    Roll to a rectangular shape – maybe 10” by 20” about ½” thick. Moisten the edges all around and sprinkle the top half with some of the cheese to cover. Fold, crimp the edges shut and turn 90 degrees. Roll out again to 10” by 20” and repeat the whole process – you should cover and fold at least 5 times.

    After the last filling roll out the dough to finger thickness and cut out with a cookie cutter. I use a 2” round cutter. Try to cut out with as little wastage as possible because when you reroll the dough you loose the nice layered effect – however they are still good to eat, just does not look as nice.

    Place cut out pogacsas on cookie sheets lined with parchment.
  9. Beat the last egg with a fork, add a bit of salt – and paint the top of the pogacsas with this mixture.
  10. Bake in a 325 oven for 20 to 30 minutes – check after 15, should be way puffed up and golden in colour – time will depend on your oven.

Source: Family Recipe and YouTube



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