Potato Bread Cakes

I have been planning to make zemiakový posúch for quite a while. The idea came from Kathy – an American lady whose Slovak grandma used to make it with extra bread dough. Kathy gave a more detailed description of the cake, and it immediately reminded me of the potato posúch my mother-in-law had sent me on a few occasions.

When I spoke to my mother-in-law recently, she provided the list of ingredients and the instructions, but no exact measurements. And what do you do these days when you’re missing a piece of information?

After browsing a few Slovak cooking websites I got an idea of proportions, made a few adjustments, and put together a recipe for English-speaking readers of Cookslovak website.

potato bread cakes, profile photo

Potato Bread Cakes

Makes 8

For the dough:

  • 500 g bread flour (about 3½ cups)
  • 300 ml milk (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 egg
  • 21 g fresh yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • butter to brush on top, melted

For the filling:

  • 3 large potatoes (about 500 g)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
*If you can’t get hold of fresh yeast in your country, use the dried or instant one (21 g fresh = 7 g instant), and follow the instructions on the packet.

Method:

  1. Peel and wash the potatoes under running water. Dice them and place in a cooking pot filled with water. Bring to the boil, adjust to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and put aside to cool.
  2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Make sure you stir it well into the flour, so the salt doesn’t come in direct contact with the yeast at the next stage. Break the egg into the flour and spoon in the oil.
  3. Heat the milk in a heatproof mug over a low heat until warm. Add the sugar and stir well. Transfer some of the milk into a glass. Between the tips of your fingers, crumble the yeast into the milk. Stir well until the yeast dissolves. Add a pinch of flour to kick-start fermentation. Cover the glass and leave it in a warm place (see photos in this guide for more help).
  4. When the yeast has risen up to the brim, pour all the contents of the glass onto the flour. Add the remaining milk and knead by hand until you achieve a smooth, medium-thick dough. Cover and leave to stand in a warm place for an hour.
  5. Meanwhile, strain the potatoes and mash them with a ricer. Stir in the salt, black pepper and caraway.mashed potatoes
  6. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the oil in a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Throw in the chopped onion and fry until lightly charred. Turn off the heat and add the mashed potatoes. Stir well.
  7. When the dough has doubled in volume, transfer it onto a floured rolling board. Roll out into a square about 1 cm thick. With a pastry wheel, cut into 8 smaller squares. Place a generous spoonful of the mashed potatoes in the middle of each square and wrap up to completely enclose it. Shape a bun and turn it down to have the patched up end at the bottom. Whenever your hands or board become sticky, dust them with more flour. Leave the finished buns to rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Pat the bun down with your hand, then roll it out into a circle of about 20 cm diameter. Let a non-stick pan warm over a low heat. Place the cake in the pan and dry-toast until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Gently slide out onto a clean plate and brush some melted butter on both sides. Continue until you have cooked all the cakes.
  9. Stack the buttered cakes in a pile and cover to keep warm. Sprinkle some more salt on top, if you prefer, and serve with a summer salad or a mug of sour milk.potato bread cakes

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