Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to make lipioshka

I finally did it! After weeks of internet searching, polling the locals, and one failed attempt, I finally successfully made lipioshka! I must've asked every single one of my students the same question, "How do you make lipioshka?" and they all gave the same abstract answer, "My mom knows!" My Russian language teacher, Katya (who is married to Kazakh and a bomb-diggety cook), finally put me out of my misery when she shared with me her method for lipioshka which took some of the guesswork out of the ingredient proportions. (Ask Bethany about that failed first attempt; salty!)

Lipioshka is a round, unleavened Central Asian bread. The kind described below is, I think, a little bit different than Uzbek lipioshka: it's not prepared in a tandr, the center is not thicker than the edges, there's no design in the middle, and it's fluffy, not dense. Maybe this is a Russified version of lipioshka? Nevertheless, it is the kind sold at the magazine next to our language center, the kind my students brought me on Kurban-ait and Easter, and is second only to baursaki in my heart. I'm so excited that I'll be able to recreate this favorite even when I'm back state-side.

You will need . . . !

500g kefir*
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
As much flour as it takes (a little more than 4 cups)
Some amount of cooking oil (I used sunflower)

Then you should . . . !

Empty your kefir into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and the baking soda. Begin mixing in the flour, and continue adding flour until a dough forms. Then let it sit for a half hour or so.

When you come back to it, split the dough into five parts. (Or more, if you'd like, but probably not less.) Roll each segment out on a floured surface into a circle, a little smaller than the diameter of your pan. It shouldn't be so thick.

In your pan, heat the oil on medium-low. When the oil is hot, add one of your discs of dough. Cook around five minutes each side. You'll notice as it cooks it'll puff up; if it doesn't do this then it's possible the dough was too thick. If you don't want to deep fry the lipioshka, you need only a little bit of oil.

*A note about the kefir: Katya, who is well-versed in assisting foreigners with finding specific food products, told me to buy the small green carton. I chose one at random and it worked like a charm, but I'm not sure about a conduit for this kind state-side, as it appeared much thicker than I kind I usually see back home in New England. On the carton it specifies 2.5%, which I think is referring to the fat content. So if possible, opt for kefir that's just a touch runnier than yogurt. 

I doubt I'll be able to master piroshki or pelmeni or manti before I leave (to be frank, stuffed breads and pasta sound like too much work), but I can content myself with the simplicity and the memories this bread conjures up. 

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