Our second installation in the Hungarian Recipe series is Pogácsa. A buttery, cheese layered biscuit that is baked and fluffed to perfection. This one is a real crowd pleaser. At almost every Hungarian event I’ve ever gone to (and the list is long), these babies are waiting for you at your table to munch on while you wait for the main event. This particular recipe came from my Nénje, who was here visiting for a few months last fall. For those who follow me on Instagram, you would have seen that she stayed with me for a weekend and guided me through 6 different Hungarian recipes, all from scratch, and taught me her wizarding ways. It was truly an experience I’ll never forget and I’m excited to share this one with all of you. It’s one of my favourites and I DARE you to try one and not go back for at least one more. I don’t doubt it will become one of your favourites to make as well.
2 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
200 mL Sour Cream
100 mL Milk (warm)
2 Eggs (1 whole egg, 1 yolk)
Shredded Cheese (I prefer cheddar)
First things first with any rising dough, activate the yeast in warm water and a little bit of sugar. To help this activation move along more quickly, cover the top of your container to keep all the moisture and warmth in. Should take about 5 minutes.
While that’s bubbling, in a big bowl, add flour and salt and give a quick mix with your hands. Then add your warm (not hot) milk, margarine, sour cream and eggs. Mix well, then add your bubbly starter and fully combine the ingredients. You don’t need to knead this dough into a ball, but you definitely need to make sure it’s all mixed evenly. You’re going to get a loose fluffy dough out of this.
Let your dough rise under a kitchen towel or blanket for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Before I begin this next section, I want to share a tip. Whenever you’ve used yeast in a dough and you need to roll it out, you always want to do so gently so you don’t burst all the air bubbles in your dough. Your yeast put in a lot of work to get your dough nice and fluffy, show a little respect.
ANYWAYS- On a flour surface, roll our your dough ***gently*** into as perfect of a rectangle as you can. Sprinkle it with as much or as little cheese as you want. 3-way letter fold your dough and roll it out again. Sprinkle more cheese, 3-way letter fold your dough and roll it out again. One. Final. Time. Sprinkle more cheese, 3-way letter fold your dough and roll it out again. By doing this, you’re creating buttery, cheesy layers. If you watch the video down below, you’ll see when I break one in half how crucial and stunning this layer effect is.
Using a circular cut-out of some kind, cut out circles of the dough. Go all the way to the edge of your dough, they don’t have to be perfect because you’re going to rough ‘em up a bit anyways. In this case, it’s more of a travesty to waste dough than it is to not have a perfect circle.
Once all of your circles are cut it’s time to roll them in your hands. This is how you do it. Keeping the dough on the counter, gently rub the dough between your hands as if you’re rolling a stick to start a fire, but only in one direction. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, watch the video below to see exactly how to do it. The objective is to make them a little tighter and slightly taller.
Place your rolled circles on a baking sheet, egg wash the tops and sprinkle with more cheese.
In a pre-heated to 350℉ oven, bake your Pogácsa for 30 minutes.
Eat these babies hot out of the oven. There’s nothing better!
This is just my favourite way to make this, but there are a few other ways as well.
Instead of (or in addition to) cheese, you can add small pieces of bacon (or töpörtyű in Hungarian) to add a nice little crunch to all your layers.
You can even make these with no cheese! But why would you do that…
Instead of adding cheese to the top, you can skip that and cut a lattice pattern into the top. Adds a nice crisp to the dough and is a little more showy.
Break these babies in half horizontally and you’ve got a perfect slider or mini sandwich bun. In Hungary, we eat this with Fasírozott (which is a meatball of sorts) and a little bit of savanyúság (literally means sour things- like pickles or sauerkraut). The PERFECT little Hungarian sammy.