Soft and Chewy Balkan Bread

Pogaca (Bosnian/Croatian) or pogacha is a type of bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace, and later on in the oven. This bread is found in the cuisines of the Balkans and Turkey. So I searched high and low for a great bread to bake for my homemade panini. I tried maybe a dozen bread recipes over the years just to get it right. I needed a bread that was light and airy that you could press using a panini press and wouldn’t get too hard to chew or too thick to eat.



Step: 1

Mix milk and water in a pot over low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pot reads 110 degrees F (43 degrees C). Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour mixture into a cup or other cylindrical glass; sprinkle yeast on top. Let mixture rest until yeast is frothy and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Step: 2

Stir flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Step: 3

Turn dough out on a floured work surface and knead quickly for 5 minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add dough; toss around the bowl a few times to coat evenly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Step: 4

Return dough back to the work surface and punch down. Coat your hands with a little olive oil and knead again for 1 minute. Divide into 5 balls. Flatten the balls out into thick rectangles. Place the rectangles of dough onto a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a thin coat of olive oil. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Step: 5

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) while the dough rests.

Step: 6

Bake bread in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Switch to the broil setting until the top of the rolls turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely. Cut rolls in half lengthwise.


Per Serving: 296 calories; protein 7.6g; carbohydrates 38.4g; fat 12.3g; cholesterol 2.6mg; sodium 248.5mg.

The quality of the flour can make a real difference to your bread. Different brands do vary. Extra-strong or Canadian flours, which are bet higher in gluten, may give you a better rise than standard bread flours – especially if you’re make wholemeal dough , which not always rise as well as clear bread.

To make this in a breadmaker , add all the menus to your breadmaker and follow the makers instructions.

A dough’s first rising can be done in the fridge 24 hours . This slows down the time it takes to rise to double its size, giving it a deeper flavour. It’s also a great timesaver , as you can start it yesterday , then finish it off the next day.

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