This recipe for Serbian Lenten pogacha (POH-gah-cha), also spelled pogača, uses no eggs, milk or butter, so it is perfect for fasting times, like the period before Christmas (Advent) and Easter (Lent).
Christian Orthodox Great Lent, in general, is a time of great fasting and there are many rules on what types of oil, if any, can be consumed, which types of fish and so on. This lean Lenten white bread fits well within the guidelines.
Compare this with a nonfasting pogacha recipe.
Makes 1 Serbian Lenten Pogacha Bread.
- 1 1/4 cups water (warm, not more than 110 degrees)
- 1 package yeast (active dry)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar and oil and stir until completely mixed.
- Add flour and mix until a cohesive dough forms. Knead until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
- Heat oven to 300 degrees. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat round. Transfer to a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Prick loaf all over with a fork. Rub top of bread with oil. Let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes in a warm place.
- Bake 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
A Word or Two About Pogacha
Pogača (Balkan spelling), Pogacha (Anglicized spelling), Pogácsa (Hungarian spelling), poğaça (Greek), pogaçe (Albanian) are all rustic leavened or unleavened breads made with white flour or whole-wheat flour or a mixture a combination of the two. Some breads have a potato or cheese filling and herbs like dill and sesame mixed in with the flour.
As you can imagine, every country, and every cook for that matter, makes pogacha its own way, so they can be found in different textures, flavors, sizes, and heights. Some have a crumbly scone-like texture while others are more like tender white bread.
In Bulgaria, where the bread is known as pogačice, it is more of a puff pastry affair and often served hot as an appetizer filled with sour cream or curd cheese or Bulgarian feta cheese. This is also popular in Turkey.
In Hungary, for example, pogácsa are made from either short dough or yeast dough. There are dozens of shapes and sizes with round being the most traditional.
A multitude of add-ins can be found either in the dough or on it. -- fresh ceese, aged cheese, pork crackling, sautéed cabbage, pepper, paprika, garlic, red onion, caraway, sesame, sunflower or poppy seeds.