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How to make Hungarian butter biscuits a.k.a. vajas pogácsa

In this post, I would like to share another Hungarian recipe with you. Butter biscuits/scones (Hungarian: vajas pogácsa).

“Pogácsa is a type of bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace, and later on in the oven, similar to focaccia found in the cuisines of the Carpathian Basin, the Balkans, and Turkey. It can be leavened or unleavened, but only experienced cooks can make good-quality unleavened pogača, while the pastry with yeast is easier to make. It is generally made from wheat flour, but barley and sometimes rye may be added. There are many variations of pogácsa….It can be stuffed with potatoes, ground beef, or cheese, and have grains and herbs like sesame, black nigella seed, or dried dill in the dough or sprinkled on top.” 1

Pogácsa is a definitive element of Hungarian folk tales. These savory scones are often mentioned in Hungarian folk tales, fables as the sustaining food that the young man off on a world trip takes in his backpack.

In Hungary, pogácsa is a popular savory snack for family or any type of gathering.

Thanks to Szoky’s konyhája for inspiring me. He has the original recipe, only instead of butter that recipe calls for lard.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Flour: I used all-purpose wheat flour. (T45 in France, BL 55 in Hungary)

Yeast: I used active dry yeast, which needs proofing. If you use instant yeast you can skip the proofing step. In Hungary, we usually use fresh yeast.

Butter: Use unsalted, chilled butter. Cold butter is ideal for baked goods that should be crisp. Butter that’s straight from the fridge doesn’t get fully incorporated into a batter; instead, it gets broken down into small pieces throughout your dough. It also helps create those beautiful, flaky layers.

Sour cream: Provides extra fat and makes the biscuits super soft and helps them to remain soft longer.

Happy baking! Jó étvágyat! Let me know if you try this recipe…you can use #cutecuisine on Instagram. Let us connect.

For more Hungarian recipes click here.

How to make pogácsa

Ingredients

  • 400 g all-purpose flour (2 and 1/2 cups)
  • 150 g chilled butter (2/3 cup)
  • 150 g sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg for egg wash
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 5 cl lukewarm water (3-4 tbsp)
  • 11 g active dry yeast (1 tsp)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F/ 180º C, fan bake, and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the sugar into the lukewarm water to help it dissolve. Once the sugar has been evenly distributed throughout the water, add the yeast. Stir gently and let it sit. After 5 or 10 minutes, the yeast should begin to form a creamy foam on the surface of the water. That foam means the yeast is alive. If you use instant yeast you can skip this step.
  3. Take the butter from the fridge and cut it into cubes. Tip the butter into the flour. Using your fingertips and thumbs take small amounts of the mixture and rub them together, from little finger to first finger. Raise your hands above the surface so they are not warming the rest of the mixture – the idea is to keep the butter cool, not allowing it to soften. Keep rubbing in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the salt, black pepper, egg yolks, the proofed yeast mixture, and the sour cream to the flour-butter mixture.
  5. Mix it with your hand or with a spatula, wooden spoon. After a few minutes, it will form a dough.
  6. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes. Let it rest until it doubles in size. (Took me 45 minutes but it was a hot day.)
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. If you’ve made it by hand, knead briefly to make sure it is nice and smooth and non-sticky. If made with the mixer, just coat it lightly with the flour.
  8. Roll the dough 1/2-inch-thick (1,3-1,5 cm) (no thinner!) on the lightly floured surface. Make a shallow cross-hatched pattern with a sharp knife all over the dough surface.
  9. With a floured cutter (I used a small glass), stamp out rounds with a 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-inch (4-5 cm) diameter. If the biscuits stick to the cutter, nudge them loose with the tip of a paring knife. If you wish, cup the palms of your hands around each biscuit to smooth the sides. Gather the leftover dough and reshape it into a ball. Roll out and cut our circles as before.
  10. Arrange the biscuits in rows about 1/2-inch (1,5 cm) apart on the baking sheet. Put the pan in the oven and. bake for about 15 minutes, until the pogácsa are nicely browned on their tops and bottoms. Cool completely and store airtight.

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