Expedition To Slovakia II: Breads and Baked Goods

Bread is a common theme across Eastern Europe. And there are many similarities in the breads of the Bohemian neighbours – Czechia and Slovakia. But each has its own subset of specialties and traditional baked goods that set it apart from the rest of Europe, and the world…

Lokse - © cooklikeczechs.comLokše: A true Slovak staple, used for sweet and savoury fold-overs and wraps…

On our menu today

Eastern European countries run to pretty much the same tastes in breads: Always a national staple Rye, usually a national wheat flour style (often whole wheat), rolls, flatbreads, pancakes and dumplings. So we’re going to devote our oh-so-limited space here to those bread items that are specifically Slovakian.

Halusky: Egg Dumplings. Think German Spätzle, but thicker and in longer, noodly strands. The recipe is simple – just a few ingredients, but the technique for making them is a little complicated.

Halusky - © taseatlas.com

Still, fans insist the fuss is worth it! This is the noodle most often used in assembling the Slovak national dish, Bryndzové halušky (see ‘Expedition To Slovakia I’).

Lokše: Potato Pancakes. A true Slovak staple, used for sweet and savoury fold-overs and wraps. And all they take is boiled potatoes, flour and salt. Again, though, its the preparation that makes them what they are!

Pagáče: Soft Lard Cracklin’ Biscuits. You’ll want to eat them, hot from the oven, with just a smear of butter. Some of the many variations include cabbage, potato and cheese. As with the preceding specialties, it’s not so much the ingredients but the way the dough is worked and the biscuits are assembled.

Pagáče - © tortyodmamy.sme.sk

Not an analogue of the baking soda or buttermilk biscuits western diners are familiar with, but more like a cross between brioche and puff pastry. Or not. They’re hard to describe. Just make a batch and see for yourself!

Slovak Daily Bread: Wheat or Rye. Different regions of Slovakia boast their own versions of daily bread. The grain-growing region in the south makes a white wheat flour-based loaf.

Slovak Daily Bread - © slovakcooking.com

Other parts of the country make a whole wheat version, and some even make a potato bread as their go-to loaf. Rye bread (above) is found everywhere, and it’s pretty much like the rye loaves you’ll find anywhere in Eastern Europe.

Rožky: Slovakian Bread Rolls. This yeast-raised dough, composed of bread flour, water, yeast, milk, oil, sugar and salt comes out silky and fine-textured (see photo, top of page). The dough, after one rising, is traditionally rolled out to about 1/2 in / 1.5 cm thick and cut in triangles, then rolled up like croissantes. Another rise and they go in the oven for just 15 to 20 minutes. That’s it.

Make some breads you never even knew existed before

I was entranced by the prospect of making Pagáče, Halusky, and Rožky! I can see them al finding a place in my go-to cookbook! Tomorrow, we’ll survey Slovakian desserts and beverages…

~ Maggie J.