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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Baking a Hungarian Split Farmhouse Loaf

I am having so much fun trying out a variety of bread recipes from around the world. What makes it even more fun is that I can bring you on the journey with me by means of these blogs. Just a pity it isn't possible to cut yourself a slice! Today we visit Hungary to bake one of this country's signature loaves, the Split Farmhouse loaf. If you research this recipe, you will find that it has the same basic ingredients across the board. However, since I am not a fan of White Bread, I swapped out some of the ingredients to give it my own South African(?) twist. Don't worry, I'll give you the original recipe as well, if you want to stick to it. As always, I will be using the sourdough starter blogged about earlier, while giving tips for using alternative raising agents as well.

In the original recipe only White Bread Flour is used. I used 2 cups (500 ml) White bread Flour and 2 cups (500 ml) Brown Bread Flour in my version. To this is added 2 teaspoons if salt (10 ml).

Crush and add 1/2 teaspoon (2,5 ml) of Fennel Seeds.

Add a tablespoon (12,5 ml) of sugar. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Alternative 1: Add one packet of Instant Yeast to the dry ingredients before mixing.
Alternative 2: Dissolve the sugar, 125 ml of the lukewarm water and a packet of Active Dry Yeast. Allow it to develop/bubble for about 15 minutes. Add it with the wet ingredients.

Add 2 cups (500 ml) of your sourdough starter to the dry ingredients. You can read all about cultivating your own sourdough starter here.

Mix the yeast into the dry ingredients.

Add about 1,25 to 1,5 cups lukewarm water (310 ml to 375 ml).

Mix the liquids into the dough.

Melt 75 g butter.

Mix the melted butter into the dough.

Your dough should now come together nicely.

Cover a the dough and let it rise in a warm dry place.

It will almost have doubled in size once it has risen.

Prepare a baking sheet and your work surface with a coating of flour.

Knock the dough back and knead for about 10 minutes.

Form into an oval and place on the baking sheet.

Cover with plastic and allow to double in size again.

See how beautifully my loaf has filled out?

Split the loaf the traditional way by making a cut across the length of the top.

Brush the top with some egg.

Sprinkle with a handful of Fennel Seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven at 225°C for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 175°C and bake for another 10 minutes at the reduced heat, or until done. You can tell it is done when you hear a hollow sound when you knock on the bread.

Remove from the pan immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.

This step is optional, but you can cover the hot loaf with a damp towel. The steam will prevent the crust from becoming hard and chewy.

You may have your own preferences, but I found that some butter and cheese on the still warm bread is the best way to eat it.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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