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“Once upon the time the young man left home to try his luck in the world. He took nothing along except a bundle of “hamuban  sült pogácsa” (savory biscuits baked in ash) tied to the end of his walking stick.” Thus starts many Hungarian fairytales. To this day when young people graduate, they carry a small haversack with pogácsa. The day I left Hungary my grandmother handed me a bag of pogácsa. She said in case I got hungry on the way. When my plane landed in Vancouver I still had a couple left in the bag. Grandmother's pogácsa came with me to the New World.

Pogácsa was a staple in Hungarian bakeries; even the most prestigious coffee houses in Budapest had their signature pogácsa. Drunks liked it too; there was no kocsma [pub] without beer and pogácsa. The version with the pork crackling was always part of our New Years Eve festivities. There was a pogácsa at every crossroads of life, pogácsa for the “grey weekdays”; as no bureaucratic meeting could go without water and pogácsa. Pogácsa varieties are endless. Some are to die for and then there are the “dry pain” types. Pogácsa is best on the first day, but the real good ones are good for several days thereafter. This one is one of those. Make it ahead, prepare it for baking and freeze. Thaw it out just before the party, and just pop them in the oven. Put it on trays and watch it disappear. 

Useful Pogácsa Information:

I have been testing pogácsa recipes. The good ones have lots of butter or lard in them. It is not a good idea to reduce or substitute the ingredients. Never add sugar, it will feed the yeast. Pogácsa is a yeast biscuit, but it only needs chilling and resting times. Those recipes that call for rising time produce doughy biscuits and are only good if eaten right out of the oven. If you fold the dough a few times, it will give you layers, but this is tricky. You have to be exact with the layers or the pogácsa will rise lopsided in the hot oven. For the same reason, be careful to spread only the tops with the egg yolk. The foremost importance is uniformity, make sure the dough has an even thickness. 

Hungarian Potato Biscuits

480 g potatoes

1-3/4 cups butter
1-1/2 Tbsp salt
4-1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 extra large or 4 large egg yolks
5-1/3 cups flour
1 egg yolk for glazing the tops

  • First, cook the potatoes in the microwave or over steam. It is much quicker in the microwave.  Don’t cook them in water, they will absorb too much moisture that way.  
  • Peel and dice the potatoes.
  • Place in a heatproof bowl.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water.
  • Place the bowl in the microwave and cover with a sheet of paper towel.
  • Microwave or steam the potatoes until tender.
  • With an oven mitt, remove the bowl from the microwave.
  • Using a large sieve, immediately drain the potatoes.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and let them cool to room temperature. 
  • Once the potatoes have cooled down, mash them truly.
  • Add the soft butter, salt, instant yeast and the egg yolks to the mashed potatoes.
  • Using a large wooden spoon, combine the ingredients.
  • The last ingredient to add is the flour. The reason for this is you don’t want the egg yolks to bind to the flour.
  • Kneed the dough until uniform in consistency.
  • Line a small tray with parchment paper; flatten the dough on it to 2 cm thickness.
  • Wrap the tray with plastic and place it in the fridge overnight. 
  • Next day divide the dough to 2 or 3 parts.
  • Place the first batch on a board. Rewrap the rest of the dough and return it to the fridge.
  • Cut or rip the dough into smaller pieces. That way they will warm up faster and uniform.
  • Let the dough pieces sit for 5-10 minutes and then kneed each piece until pliable. At the end, combine the pieces.
  • Roll the dough out [no need to flour the board] evenly to 1 cm thickness.
  • Score the top crisscross with a chef’s knife.
  • Dip a small round cookie cutter into flour and firmly cut as many rounds into the dough as you can fit. It is important to dip the cookie cutter into the flour before each cut.
  • Gather the scraps, kneed and reroll the dough. Repeat the scoring and the cutting.
  • When all the dough used from the first batch, line them up side by side and baste the tops with egg yolk.
  • Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheet and let them rest for 30 minutes, no longer.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425F.
  • After resting bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size and the amount you are baking.


  1. Your pogacsa look lovely ... tall and flaky. I've never used potatoes in mine. I should give it a try. :)

    1. Lara follow the recipe closely. Lots of things can go wrong with it.

  2. These look amazing Zsuzsa! As my Grandfather never used yeast in his pogacsas, it's not something I've tried before. Before I start losing my mind here, did I ever see a recipe for a yeast free sour cream pogacsa in your blog? The directions outlined many folds of the dough and returning them to the fridge for some time just before the next fold. They made the best ones I ever made :-) P.S It's great to see you back online and posting once more!

    1. Oh yes I have several pogacsa recipes. Click on the cookbook picture and go to savory breads chapter and there they will be. Once inside the cookbook, always click on the link, not the picture.

  3. Zsuzsa, I have a Krumplis pogácsa recipe that I have been using for years and works well with Canadian ingredients. How can I send it to you? Szivesen megosztom.

    1. Hello Frank, I cannot make my e-mail adress public. Feel free to cut and paste the recipe here. Thank you. :-)

    2. Krumplis pogácsa

      Hozzávalók 4 személyre:
      1 dl tej
      2 dkg élesztő
      1 csipet cukor
      1 evőkanál liszt
      30 dkg burgonya
      1 dl tejföl
      15 dkg margarin
      45 dkg liszt
      1 db tojás
      1 csapott evőkanál só
      1 db tojássárgája a kenéshez
      liszt a nyújtáshoz


      Langyos tejben megfuttatjuk az élesztőt egy csipet cukorral és 1 evőkanál liszttel. A burgonyát megtisztítjuk, kockákra vágjuk, puhára főzzük, leszűrjük a levét, és áttörjük. A margarint és a tejfölt belekeverjük a burgonyába, és langyosan a többi hozzávalóval együtt alaposan összedolgozzuk. Lágy tapintású, nem túl kemény tésztát készítsünk.

      Meleg helyen 40 percig kelesztjük a tésztát, majd borítsuk lisztezett deszkára, nyújtsuk ki, néhányszor hajtsuk össze, és a végén nyújtsuk 2 cm vastagra. Szaggassunk belőle pogácsaszaggatóval közepes méretű pogácsákat. Tetejüket kenjük meg tojás sárgával, és kelesszük még 20 percig. Előmelegített, 190 °C-os sütőben 20 perc alatt készre sül.

      Még forrón szedjük ki törlőpapírral bélelt tálba, és takarjuk le konyharuhával. Langyosan a legfinomabb.

    3. Thank you Frank! I am going to try it. My husband really likes pogacsa. I will translate it into cup measurements, but at first glance it doesn't appear too different from mine. Except maybe for the fact that you make yours with margarine and not butter. I expect it to be crunchier with the margarine. If I end up writing up your recipe I will let you know... I guess here.

  4. These look like an answer to my prayer as to what bread/roll to offer on Christmas day that can be made ahead!
    I wish you a wonderful holiday and a very healthy new year!

    1. The very same to you Dolores! Thank you for being a faithful visitor. Happy Holidays!

  5. Hi Zsuzsa,

    I see that you've tried to make many differnt types of pogacsa. Based on your experience in doing so, I wonder if you could help my mother and I figure out the best way to replicate my Hungarian grandmother's recipe. She passed away and we never got her recipe.

    I've tried to make it based off of others' recipes, but I cannot replicate it. My grandmother's recipe was not traditional in the sense that it was very dense, almost hockey puck like. It may not be traditional, but it is what we knew and loved. We think it had potato in it and we know it had a lot of lard. My grandmother always told us not to eat too many because it was full of lard! We're not sure if it had yeast, but in reality we just don't know much about it.

    Are you aware of any recipes where the pogacsa would be very dense -- not fluffy at all? Or how we could alter a recipe to make it more dense?

    Thanks in advance,
    Rick Wilson, Austin TX

    1. Well I looked on line and thought about it and I can offer you some ideas, but to reproduce your grandma's pogacsa you will have to do the experiment. Every pogacsa gets denser by the following day and pock like by the 4th. So unless your grandma’s pogis were hockey pock like out of the oven, they may simply have been a day or two old. They may have not have been pogacsa, but pogacsa shaped tea biscuits. Take a look at my recipe titled TINY SALTY TEA BISCUITS. I cut them into squares and rectangles, but if you watch the video, you will see the author also made some round biscuits. I doubt your grandma put cooked potatoes in it, the potatoes would have made her pogis soft and moist. The only other thing I can think of is she may have added a small amount, no more than 1/4 cup of potato flour to the flour. Hockey pock like pogacsa is actually a culinary failure, but who am I to say one cannot enjoy it. My husband likes burned toast and I am forever adjusting the toaster to a lighter setting. :D




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