Grill season is here and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve a smile on my face just thinking of all the F&Bs we’re going to consume this year on the patio. Our back yard is not huge by any measure, but that’s not stopping us from doing cookouts. Let the good times roll!
It’s true the weather can be quite unpredictable in April around here (it’s sunny and then a minute later there’s a shower) so to open garden season, I thought we’d play it safe. In the time Husband mowed the lawn and I tended to my awakening herb garden, a batch of langalló dough has risen nicely.
Langalló (pron. laan-gaallow), also called kenyérlángos (pron. ken-yeer-laan-gosh) is a type of flat bread baked with various toppings. Traditional Hungarian fast-food, or our take on pizza if you please. Let’s start with a brief lesson in history. I promise to keep it short!
Still with me? Great! So according to the Hungarian Baker Association, we eat langalló since the 14th century. Round and somewhat thicker than the Italian cousin, it was the typical meal of bread baking days: prepared from the leftover dough after loaves were shaped, eaten fresh out the furnace.
Today, we don’t have to bake bread to eat langalló, it’s available at bakeries and is a favorite of fairs, markets and festivals. The shape changed to rectangular over time to fit commercial baking trays, but it’s still best eaten fresh and warm.
Baked in a hot oven until golden, langalló smells and tastes like fresh bread. Crust should be crunchy outside and soft inside. Classic toppings include cottage cheese with dill, sour cream with garlic, smoked sausage slices, bacon or pancetta, red onions, grated cheese and – although not as often as I would like – bone marrow or duck cracklings.
A very filling meal high in simple carbs and fats of not exactly the best kind. Precisely what was needed in the times people worked on the fields from dawn till dusk, but not exactly what we call healthy these days.
But it’s OK to indulge sometimes when you’re on an otherwise balanced diet, and making langalló is doing it good while you’re at it. Just wait until you smell the baking bread and roasting garlic!
Sadly, I don’t have a wood-burning furnace and while that would be peak hygge for me, the oven is an acceptable compromise. Surely, smoke adds more flavor to any food but it adds more clothes to the laundry as well, so let’s just count our blessings on this one shall we. 🙂
Back to the dough: it’s not at all complicated, basically just flour, water, salt and yeast. Additionally, almost every recipe calls for boiled potatoes and I use them too to soften the dough (remember reserving the cooking water to add extra starch).
Whichever topping you decide on, be it traditional or something entirely let’s-see-what-we-have-in-the-fridge kind of spontaneous, I’m warning you: beer and wine spritzers go equally well with langalló. Are you drooling yet?
A type of flat bread baked with seriously sinful toppings.
For the dough:
500 g (4 cups) bread flour
1,5 tsp salt
1 medium potato
300 ml (10 fl oz) of the boiling water reserved
3 tbsp vegetable oil
20 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast
250 ml (1 cup) sour cream
2 garlic cloves
50 g (½ cup) grated cheddar
2 medium red onions
200 g (7 oz) bacon or smoked sausage
- Peel, cube and boil potato. Reserve 300 ml of the cooking water, set aside. Mash potato with a fork and let cool.
- Sift flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer attached with the dough hook, add mashed potato, oil and lukewarm boiling water, crumble yeast on top.
- Start kneading on low until dough comes together, then increase speed to medium. Knead until dough is shiny and not sticking to the side of the bowl.
- Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 45 min.
- While dough is rising, prepare toppings: season sour cream with salt and pepper to taste, add crushed garlic. Grate cheese, peel and thinly slice red onions, cut bacon or sausages. Set aside.
- Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Turn dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out and fit into baking tray.
- Top dough: cover with sour cream, pile on cheese, onions and bacon or sausage.
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F, let dough rise until oven is heating up.
- Bake until crust is golden, about 30 min. Serve warm. Enjoy!
What are some of your favorite foods to prepare outdoors during warmer months? By the way, grill or BBQ? Store bought spice mixes (which brand?) or secret family concoctions? I’d love to hear it all!