Ukrainian and Slovak Pagach Bread (Pagac)

Pagach Stuffed with Cabbage
Oxana Denezhkina / Getty Images
Ratings
(37)
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Rising Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 loaf (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
149 Calories
9g Fat
13g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 loaf (12 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 149
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 4g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ukrainian/Slovak pagac or pagach (puh-GAHTCH) is traditionally served at meatless meals as for Advent, Lent, and the beautiful Christmas Eve supper known as velija.

Pagac is a flatbread with a potato or cabbage filling and makes an excellent vegetarian entrée. Some people call this Slavic pizza. The name shares the same origin in Greek with focaccia, and like it would be baked simply in the fireplace or oven in eras past.

This recipe uses a yeast dough to produce a springy bread base. That adds a significant amount of time to the recipe as the dough goes through two rises, but gives a very nice result.

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 1 1/4 cup water (divided)
  • 6 teaspoons sugar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil (or butter if not fasting)
  • 1 package​ active dry yeast
  • 3 cups​ all-purpose flour
  • For the Potato Filling:
  • 2 cups potatoes (diced, cooked, and mashed)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (grated, use if not fasting)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup water, 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar, salt, and oil to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and set it aside.

  3. Place the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or regular bowl and add the sugar-water mixture and the yeast-water mixture. Mix until well incorporated and then knead the dough until smooth, about 7 minutes by machine or at least 10 minutes by hand.

  4. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover it and let it rise until doubled.

  5. While the dough is rising, make the potato filling. Cube the potatoes. Boil them in water until they are soft. Drain and mash the potatoes. Season the mashed potatoes with salt to taste. If it's not a fast day, add grated cheese to the hot potatoes and mix well. Allow the potato filling to cool before continuing with the filling of the dough.

  6. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface and divide into two portions. Cover the dough with greased plastic and let it rest for 15 minutes.

  7. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, roll one portion of dough into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle or 12-inch circle. Spread the potato filling on the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge.

  8. Roll the second portion of dough on a lightly floured surface and place on top of the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal. Prick the top all over with a fork to (this will allow steam to escape during baking). Let the bread rise, covered with greased plastic, for 30 minutes.

  9. Heat the oven to 375 F. Bake the bread 30 minutes or until it is browned on top and bottom. Remove it from the oven and cool the bread on a rack.

  10. Serve and enjoy!

Variation

To make cabbage filling rather than potato, core and chop 1/2 pound cabbage. Sauté the cabbage in oil or butter and season to taste with salt. Allow the filling to cool before placing it on the dough.