What better accompaniment to the Sauerkraut and bean stew below than this cumin and salt encrusted bread. This recipe is taken from the approved specification for Belokranjska pogaca with the recognised designation traditional speciality by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia of 28 October 2004 (324-25 / 01).
Bela Krajina bread
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Skill level: easy
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 300ml water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 20 g yeast
- 1 pinch of cumin seeds
- 1 egg
- a pinch of coarse sea salt
Mix the yeast with three teaspoons of the flour and 50 ml of water until you have a thick substance. Leave the yeast starter to double in volume (half an hour should do it).
Stir the yeast mixture and two teaspoons of salt into the remaining flour and add 300ml water. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until it becomes smooth. The dough should not stick to your hands and should not be too hard.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a bowl until doubled in size. About an hour, depends how warm your kitchen is.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Take the the risen dough and place it on a greased baking tray. This is a circular bread. Spread it with your hands to 30 cm in diameter and press it to a thickness of 1 to 2 cm. The thickness should decrease towards the edge and the dough should not touch the sides of the baking pan.
After stretching the dough, cut deep lines, about 4cm apart, right across it, Technically there should be seven. Then cut across the other way so you have a grid. Beat the egg and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with cumin seeds then brush once more with egg. Finally, sprinkle a pinch of coarse sea salt over the dough.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. It should be a light brown colour and give a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
Verdict: Lovely firm crust, almost like a particularly salty pretzel, the cumin seeds add a spicy note. If possible, eat as soon as it’s cool enough to cut (and then wonder why you didn’t manage quite as much of your main course).
Drink: Voda iz pipe (or tap water v anglešcini).
Entertainment: ‘Winter Watch’, Chris Packham firing off a glorious volley of innuendo-laden asides for the parents watching.