Lepinje_Balkan Flatbread

 

Lepinje – Serbian Flat bread. Perfect for any occasion.

Lepinje are small, soft, round and airy flat breads which you can find all over the Balkan, only in different countries it goes by different names.
In Greece for instance, this bread is know as 'Pita' (probably the origin of the word 'pizza'). In Bosnia they call it 'Somun', in Turkey 'Pide' meaning pie, and so on.
What is specific about Lepinje is that the dough should be allowed to rise three times so that the structure of this bread is airy, light and fluffy and must have a crispy crust.
Very often baking powder or bicarbonate soda is used to aid the expansion of the dough.
For this particular recipe we stick to the ancient and tried method of using yeast only.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting time; 15+10+10 minutes35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Baking, Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Balkan, European
Keyword: baking, Bread, Burger, easy
Cost: 1-2 Euro, 2 US$

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • oven
  • Oven Tray
  • Chop Stick or spatula

Ingredients

  • ¼ L. warm water the water should be no warmer than 26°C/79°F and not cooler than 20°C/70°F
  • 10-12 gram dried yeast If using fresh yeast double the amount
  • ½ tsp cane sugar Sugar activates the yeast. It is possible to use honey or simply refined white granulated sugar instead.
  • ½ tsp salt salt adds taste therefore use as much or as little as you are used to.
  • 2-3 cups strong white flour and some extra for kneading an folding the breads
  • 1 tsp oil You could use olive oil but for this recipe I recommend using ordinary sunflower or corn oil

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix the water with the yeast and the sugar.
  • Then, to start, add only about a single cup of flour, mix with a spoon/spatula (I use a chop stick for this purpose because the dough won’t stick as much), then add the salt and then add the rest of the flour and mix again.
  • The point is that the dough should be really soft and sticky. Once you have reached a consistency that is neither fluid nor solid but sticky and soft you can remove the dough from your bowl.
    The dough is going to stick to your fingers so the easiest way to remove the dough from the bowl is to sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the dough. Roll the dough in this flour and now, while it is still soft and sticky, it is easier to handle.
  • Continue kneading the dough gently with one hand, folding and stretching, for a few minutes.
  • Remove any excess flour from your bowl and place your dough ball back in the bowl. Now pour a tsp of oil over your dough ball and roll this ball, while in the bowl, so that the oil covers the dough all round.
  • Now leave the dough to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the dough and very gently (without squashing the dough) roll into a sausage shape. Separate into 4-6 equal parts.
    Fold the edges to the centre and roll into balls, again without using pressure so that the dough remains soft and fluffy.
    Leave the dough balls to rest, in a warm place, for 10 minutes
  • Place the dough balls on an oven tray which has had a generous dusting of flour. Press the dough balls, starting from the centre and working your way to the edges, till you have a dough patty of about 12-15 cm in diameter and about ½ a centimeter in thickness.
  • Leave to rest for a further 10 minutes. Then bake at 300ºC/570°F for about 10-12 minutes (flat breads, as does Lepinje, likes a very hot oven) or, if you can’t get your oven that hot, bake at 240ºC/465°F for about 14-16 minutes, or at 220°C/430°F for up to 20 minutes.
  • The final result should be bread which has a crisp thin crust and a soft fluffy centre.

Notes

Lepinje is an ideal accompaniment at the dinner table and is versatile enough to be used to make sandwiches with or to be used as a vessel for dipping into gravies, soups, salads and stews.
lepinje is the choice bun for holding a burger like the Pljeskavica or  Cevapi (small sausage shaped meat rolls).
I would say that Lepinje is suitable for any type of food but however you choose to use lepinje, the best way to enjoy this bread is definitely warm and fresh from the oven.
Enjoy!

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