This recipe for Serbian bread is known as lepinje za cevapi because it is traditionally served with cevapcici sausages and raw chopped onion tucked inside, and kajmak served on the side.
Lepinje, also known as somun, is a yeast-raised flatbread that is a popular street food in the Balkans. Variations exist -- some cooks use oil in the dough and scatter the bread tops with sesame or cumin seeds before baking. It is baked initially at high temperatures to get that hollow, puffy shape like Middle Eastern pita. This egg-free bread is a great project for the kids.
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 7 ounces water (lukewarm)
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- In a small bowl, mix yeast with 7 ounces lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon of the flour, and sugar. Set aside until it starts to foam and bubble up.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine remaining flour, salt, yeast mixture and as much of the 2 cups of water (or more) as necessary to make a soft dough. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
- When dough as doubled, remove to a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes. Return to the bowl to rise again, covered, in a warm place until doubled.
- When the dough has risen for the second time, remove it to a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 equal balls. Cover the balls with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Roll each ball into a 1/2-inch-thick circle (don't roll thinner than a half-inch, lepinje is thicker than pita bread). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking pan. Brush the bread circles with water and, using the back of a knife (not the sharp side), make a crisscross pattern on the top.
- Bake the lepinje until they just start turning golden, then immediately reduce the temperature to 300 degrees, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Best when eaten hot, but they can be eaten at room temperature.