In my last post, I shared my story about my trip to Hungary and my love affair with this bread. It has been at least 25 years since I've had one. I was given a copy of Culinaria Hungary from a friend, and I was so happy to see a recipe for this long-lost bread recipe!
I scratched my head, a bit, because the recipe listed fresh compressed cake yeast. Um, I don't use that. I much prefer to work with instant yeast, or active dry yeast. While researching other versions of lángos recipes, I noticed that there are versions that use water, instead of milk. Some recipes didn't use potatoes. Ultimately, I decided to trust the recipe in the cookbook that I had. So, I cooked one potato and used my food mill to rice it.
The beauty of instant yeast is that I don't need to proof it with sugar. Instead, I measured all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of my stand mixer...
The potatoes were HOT, and I added milk to it and gave it a stir, which cooled the mixture down really fast.
NOTE: If using active dry yeast, I'd suggest heating the milk to lukewarm, measuring out about 1/2 up of the milk with the sugar and adding 3 1/2 teaspoons of the yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Once the potatoes are riced, let them cool, as active dry yeast doesn't like super hot heat.
Then, I added the potato-milk mixture and combine it. Last, I added some oil...
Here we go.
The dough was so soft and sticky, that I had to add a handful of flour at a time and gently kneaded it in. See, the original recipe called for 1 2/3 cups milk and 3 1/2 cups flour. In the recipe card I'll post, I suggest decreasing the milk by 2/3 a cup--or you'll need at least another cup of flour! At last, the dough stopped clinging to my hands.
I cut the dough into 8 pieces. I found that if I lightly floured my hands, and patted the dough to be a little flat-- then grabbed the dough with my fingers and stretched it (sort of like pizza dough), I had the shape similar to what I'd seen in Hungarian restaurants.
I heated about 3" of vegetable oil until hot. Now the recipe doesn't say to what temperature, but 300F was too hot and the first piece got pretty dark brown. So, I turned the temperature down to about 250F.
I carefully placed the lángos dough into the oil, and it turned golden brown in just a little over a minute. I turned it over, and it took no more than 3 minutes to be golden brown.
I let the oil drain off, well, before placing the Lángos on paper towels.
As soon as the lángos was set on paper towels, I added a little kosher salt and generously rubbed a clove of fresh garlic all over it.
I couldn't wait to see if my first attempt at making this worked!
Even Craig got in on the garlic-rubbing action.
TASTING NOTES: While I didn't make the prettiest lángos, I'll have a few more chances to improve on that. I say that, because these were the BOMB, and I'm definitely going to make them again! I was so happy with how the bread had a very light and tender texture, and they were thoroughly cooked (thank goodness). They weren't greasy, either. Craig loved the bread, as well, especially the rubbed garlic. I've read that some folks love lángos with sour cream and grated cheese, and that does sound good. However, I wanted to recreate that moment when I first had lángos with Gulyas Soup at that restaurant in San Francisco. If I do say so, myself, I did it! I cannot wait to make these for my brother, who literally ate himself sick on them when I first introduced these savory treats to him. I'll just dole them out carefully to him, so he can enjoy them. Trust me, two are plenty.
Oh, the next day, I removed the leftover refrigerated dough (I only made four of them the first night). I formed four more lángos, and they turned out great. These really are best fresh and hot, but if you reheat them in a toaster oven it's second best.
A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. I hope you try them. They are a special treat!