A classic Slovak food, especially through the fall and winter, is lokše. Made mostly of potatoes, these are always at markets with various fillings. During the fall they are often served with duck or goose – and the duck or goose fat. And because it’s the potatoes that hold the flatbread together, they are a perfect candidate for making gluten-free.
Like bread, lokše can have either savoury or sweet fillings, as this picture from the Christmas market illustrates:
The listed fillings include: goose liver pate with fried onions; ground duck cracklings; cabbage and smoked meat; chicken liver; lard and garlic; lard; goat cheese and chives; poppy seeds and plum jam; nutella and nuts. But really, you can fill it with anything your imagination can come up with.
As an aside, the ‘brush’ in the top and bottom photos is the traditional Slovak pastry brush – plaited goose feathers!
I was expecting lokše to be much more work than it was but, I think due to the amount of potatoes, the dough was soft and easy to quickly roll out. Flour does end up everywhere though!
Speaking of flour…Slovakia has about a hundred different grinds of flour (only a slight exaggeration). This is not the difference between bread flour and cake flour (hard wheat vs. soft wheat) but varying degrees of fineness, from very fine to very course.
Lokše is usually made with fine flour (hladká if you are in Slovakia) but all purpose flour will work as well. As well, any gluten free flour will work. The purpose of the flour is to dry out the potatoes, not to hold it together, so a grain-free flour might work as well, if that’s your gig. All purpose gluten-free flour can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio, you may have to experiment with other kinds.
(A few more ‘making’ photos below)
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) white potatoes
- 300 g (2½ cups) flour (all purpose, spelt, gluten-free)
- ½ tsp salt
- extra flour for rolling
- Boil potatoes whole with skins on. When soft (time depends on size, about 20 min), drain and cool. The potatoes are then easy to peel with a paring knife. This can be done ahead of time. The older the potatoes the better, as the dough will be less sticky. As well, very cold potatoes will make a less sticky dough.
- In a bowl or on a well floured surface, grate potatoes on the small holes of a grater (this is where a food processor can be handy).
- Mix in flour, (see note above) salt, and potatoes and knead until it forms a not-too-sticky dough, adding extra flour on the surface as needed. Roll into a log about 60 cm (2 feet) long. Once the dough is mixed, work with it right away and don't leave it to sit, otherwise it will get more sticky.
- Cut the log into 15 pieces, about 5 cm (2 inches) wide. If you have a very small frying pan, you can make them smaller.
- Start warming up your frying pan over medium heat. The process is much faster if you have two pans.
- Liberally flour a flat surface. Toss a piece of dough around in the flour and roll into a circle with a rolling pin. It's ok if they are ugly circles. If the rolling pin gets sticky, scrape it off right away otherwise it will build up more dough. You want it to be fairly thin, but thick enough so it doesn't fall apart and so that the final lokše has some bite to it.
- Carefully transfer the flatbread to a dry frying pan (no grease on it). When one sides starts to bubble, you can flip it. Use a butter knife or fork to poke large pockets of hot air (although not necessary). It takes about 2-2.5 min on each side.
- While one flatbread is cooking, roll out another.
- When finished cooking, put the lokše on a plate and brush one or both sides with melted lard (or other animal fat, duck fat is particularly nice) or, especially if you will serve them sweet, with melted butter.
- Serve warm. Can also be refrigerated or frozen, but warm up in oven or microwave before serving. Spread with various fillings or just brush on melted fat and serve rolled or folded into quarters.