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Once upon a time, I had a friend whose family had a bread-maker at home. They were really proud of it because that time it wasn't easy at all to get such a machine in my country (Hungary). I also saw it work, I also smelt the bread while baking, and later I was also allowed to use it. And I immediately knew that I would also like to have one.
Many years later my dream came true. So I began to bake my bread at home, and I also began to experiment with different kinds of flour and flavourings. I also realized that it's great for kneading any kind of yeasted dough, which can be shaped and baked in the oven. Maybe it's not as confortable as if the machine had baked it, but it's still a good method for pizza, rolls or croissants.
The new era began when I bought a new cooker as well, with a really good oven, and realized that even the bread was much better when I baked it there. However, when I didn't have much time, I still used the machine quite a lot.
Nowadays I use wholemeal flour only (mainly wheat and rye, but I'm always willing to try new kinds), and I have some really good recipes I can always use. I still like experimenting, though. I quite often knead the dough by hand, but sometimes (rarely) I have the machine do it for me. I haven't bought bread, rolls or anything like that for years. I believe it's worth taking the trouble and baking all these things at home.
Last year I started my blog, and, of course, I put these recipes there (among a lot of others). And I remember I was really glad when I learnt about BreadBakingDay for the first time. I thought it was really my cup of tea: baking bread and writing about it. And do this in English, which is good practice for me. And reading others' recipes, and trying them, and getting new ideas from all over the world. When possible, for these rounds I make things which are typical in my country or in this region, and I really love reading about (and trying) breads which are typical elsewhere in the world.
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This time I would like to share a new discovery of mine. It's a small bread called pogácsa, a rather popular kind of cake in Hungary (I've discussed this here earlier). Pogácsa with potatoes is really widespread, and the mashed potatoes make the dough softer and delay drying. This one is similar, but instead of potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes - well, I haven't heard this word for it before, but I really like it! :) are used, which add extra flavour to the cake (of course, it can be made with potatoes as well, but the flavour will be much different). (I grow the sunchokes in my garden; for pictures please click here and here.)
Recipe: Pogácsa with Sunchokes
- 250 g sunchokes, washed well
- 100 ml lukewarm water
- 10 g fresh yeast
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 300 g whole wheat flour (plus a bit more if needed for the right consistency)
- 100 g butter or margarine, melted
- 1 Tsp ground flax seeds (or use less water for starting the yeast, and use 1 egg instead of the flax seeds)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (there's nothing worse than undersalted pogácsa :)
- a little ground walnuts on top (if you make it with potatoes, omit this; you can smear with a beaten egg instead)
- Wash well the sunchokes, then cook them in lightly salty water. Let them cool, remove their skin, and mash them in a large bowl.
- Start the yeast in the water with the honey.
- Add the other ingredients to the mashed sunchokes, then add the started yeast, and knead into a ball of dough. Add some more flour if necessary (the exact amount depends a lot on the freshness of the sunchokes). The dough should be soft but not sticky.
- Cover with a tea-towel, and raise it in a warm place until it doubles in size (cca. an hour).
- Roll it out into a rectangle, fold one third into the middle, then do this with the other third as well. Roll it out again, and repeat the folding with the other two sides as well. (This way the cakes will be layered.) Roll it out again, but when it's about 30 mm thick, sprinkle the ground walnuts on top, and continue rolling until it's about 15-20 mm thick. Cut a checked patterned into the top with a sharp knife. The lines should be about 5 mm from each other.
- Cut round shapes with a small cutter or glass. Put the cakes on a greased baking tin, leaving some space between them because they will rise a bit more.
- Knead the nubbins together, and form more cakes from them in the same fashion. Using a small cutter (35 mm in diameter) I usually have a bit more than 50 cakes altogether.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. They are ready when the top and the bottom is brown.
- It's best when still warm, but the sunchokes (or potatoes) don't let them dry quickly. Enjoy!
Other recipes for breads I've shared in English (all were BBD entries):
And more will come, I promise ;)