November 11, 2008

Pagach (Slovak Cabbage Bread)

In between rounds of Sushi Go Round (Thanks Allergy Mom! It's my new game addiction) I found myself in the mood for some comfort food. My cravings turned to something I've wanted to make for awhile, pagach. Pagach is Slovak bread filled with cabbage or sometimes potatoes. I always loved it slathered in butter when my mom and grandma Helen would make it. I had my parents dig out the recipe from my grandmother's church cookbook a while back only to find out that the recipe calls for ten cups of flour!! My dad also found this recipe online for a smaller batch and with a few alterations I made my first batch on my own. I was happy with the result. Though my batch was a tad thinner it could have easily passed for one made by my mom or grandma. Here's what I did:

Pagach (Slovak Cabbage Bread)
Makes 2 large flat breads (approximately 11x14 inches)
Adapted from and The Sacred Heart League Cookbook from Livonia, Michigan.

3 1/2 cups flour (I used white spelt, but I plan on using all-purpose next time)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon of sugar
2/3 cup scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm (I used warmed soy milk)
1 egg
1/3 butter, melted (I used Earth Balance margarine)

1 medium to large head of cabbage, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
4-6 tablespoons of butter (again EB for me*)
salt and pepper
*Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic (I found that when I'm using Earth Balance instead of margarine a tiny bit of dry garlic makes cooked cabbage taste more like it was cooked in butter. I have no idea why this works but I do it all the time.)

Additional butter (or EB)

-Stir the yeast in the water and a pinch of sugar and let sit for a few minutes to proof.
-Add flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and stir together to distribute.
-Beat the egg into the warm milk along with the melted butter and remaining sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and salt and mix until a smooth dough forms.
-Place the dough in a oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest until doubled.
-When doubled, punch the dough and give it a few quick kneads before recovering and allowing it to double again.
-Make the cabbage filling by cooking down the cabbage, onion and butter (garlic powder optional) with salt and pepper to taste. You want the cabbage and onion to get soft and golden brown. I cook it over medium-low heat and stir frequently. Allow it to cool.
-When the dough has doubled a second time divide it into quarters. Take one quarter and roll it out on parchment with a little flour until it is ~1/2 inch thick. Spread half of the cabbage mixture on top. Roll out a second quarter to match and lay it on top of the cabbage. Pinch the edges closed, cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rest for half an hour. Repeat with the remaining quarters of dough.
-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Roll out the sandwiched dough and cabbage as thin as you like (1/2 to 3/4 inch.) Brush with butter (or EB) and prick the top with a fork. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cut into pieces and serve with more butter (or EB.)
-Realize that cabbage and starch is a wonderfully comforting thing.

These places have a potato filling if you are interested in trying it that way:
The Joy of Soup: Pagach

I'm adding this to Yeastspotting which is a wonderful weekly collection of recipes that use yeast. My collection of to-do bread, cracker, and other recipes always increases with each roundup.


VeggieGirl said...

Interesting recipe!!

Nirvana said...

Will definitely try this one -- fresh, homemade bread is always the perfect comfort food! Thanks for sharing it! :)

Nowheymama said...

Ooh, this sounds like my uncle's pierogi--but in bread!

Adam said...

I've never really seen something like this before, but it would totally belong on grandma's table. Cabbage and brussels sprouts are popping up, so this looks perfect. Now that my yeast fears are subsiding, I'll have to take a shot at it :)

TavoLini said...

How neat! I've never had anything like this before--I think it would be great for lunches. Yum.

Cookiemouse said...

Lovely recipe. I have a good friend from Prague, so I know how great the food is from this part of the world.

shellyfish said...

I love this bread! I used to eat it when I was little, but I had no idea what it was called! Pagach - must bookmark this. My grandma's neighbour used to make this for us - yum!

miss v said...

oooo. i have never ever heard of this, but i'm really excited. i love cabbage and can't wait to make this myself!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

This sounds great! New to me. I love cabbage but don't usually think of it for anything but cole slaw.

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Amazing recipe I just love the triangle that you have formed.

Maggie said...

VeggieGirl: Thanks! I figured it wasn't something a lot of people have had.

Nirvana: I think just the smell of bread baking can make me feel better.

Nowheymama: I think cabbage and starch are eastern European staples.

Adam: I hope you try it.

TavoLini: It would be great for lunch with soup.

Cookiemouse: Thanks!

shellyfish: You'll have to let me know if you make it vegan.

miss v: I hope you get a chance to try it.

Susan/Wild Yeast: My grandmother rarely had a day without cabbage being served in some fashion.

Ramya Vijaykumar: Thanks!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

What an interesting bread. Bookmarked.

toxobread said...

Ten cups of flour! That must have made a lot of pagach.
I'll make a note to get some cabbage during my next grocery shopping trip and try this out. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Jesse said...

My family is Eastern European, so I grew up eating cabbage and love it! I think this sounds fantastic!

Jane said...

What a wonderful recipe! My father's parents both came over from Bohemia in their teens, but the family didn't pass down very many authentic recipes, so I'm really glad to get this one! My dad is now 89 and will be thrilled to get an Old Country favorite! Thanks again!

Tix•R•Us said...

This sounds wonderful. For true vegan What you suggest in stead of the egg?

Tix•R•Us said...

This will be a great way to use those cabbages I still got out in the garden. I tried cabbage halwa (indian) as well, very interesting but waaaaay too sweet plus we do a lot of German (non milky based) coleslaw.

Mommy Gourmet said...

Oh that looks and sounds so good. It looks a bit like naan with stuffing.

Anonymous said...

Slovak girl-frozen bread dough can be used! My grandmother also made this when I was a child.