You’ll never meet Serb whose first association on bread is not the traditional Serbian bread pogaca. We mostly associate pogaca with words “bread,” “village,” “grandmother,” and “tasty.” The best thing about pogaca? There are many different versions with slight variations in the ingredients. The best one is the simplest one - and you need only four ingredients for it.
You can make pogaca with or without yeast, eggs, milk, etc. My favorite is a lenten version because it’s both tasty and super easy to make. It will take around one hour and lots of patience, as the smell of freshly baked bread will keep you looking at the oven every few minutes.
The ingredients: 500g of wheat flour, 300ml of warm water, two spoons of oil, 40g of fresh yeast, one tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of sugar.
Put the fresh yeast in 150ml of warm water with one tbsp of sugar and then leave it for few minutes until it rises. Then add that to all other ingredients, and after thorough mixing leave the dough covered for half an hour in some warm place. Mix the dough once again, leave for couple more minutes, shape it and then it's ready for baking. Bake in 200C for half an hour, or until it smells so tasty that you can not wait any longer.
After you take pogaca out of the oven sprinkle it lightly with cold water. You may also put a thin layer of oil on top (in order for the crust to be soft, so these steps are optional). Voila, your pogaca is ready. Now you have the qualifications to become a traditional Serbian grandmother chef!
Traditional Serbian pogaca goes well with fresh cheese, salami and salads. For health reasons, it’s advised to wait for bread to cool down a little bit. However, if your decision-making is affected by the irresistible smell of pogaca, you will enjoy eating it hot. What happens the most of the times is that it’s so good and so easy to eat, that you end up overeaten (and happy.)
If you still doubt your cooking abilities, here is where you can try Serbian pogaca of a guaranteed good taste. Bakeries will always be a good choice, as most of them do offer some version of pogaca. Some of the good ones: "Bakery Brankovic" in Nis, "Kao Nekad" in Novi Sad, and "Toma's Bakery" in Belgrade. Also, most of the traditional restaurants will have one or the other version available in their menu, mostly as a side dish to the main course. But the best way to try traditional Serbian pogaca is to join a Serbian friend for a traditional dinner. I am sure they will be glad to share and make it for you!
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