These soft Slovak biscuits use ground up lard cracklings to create layers in this traditional baked good, moist, rich, and addictive.
Warm milk (I prefer in a pot on the stove) until warm but not hot. You should be able to hold a finger in the milk without it being too hot. Stir in sugar or other sweetener. Crumble in fresh yeast or sprinkle in dry yeast and let sit for 7-10 minutes.
In a large baking bowl stir together flour and salt. Add sour cream, egg yolk, and lard. When yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is too heavy, then switch to mixing with your hands. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a flat floured surface and roll or pat into a rectangle about 3/4 to one inch (2-3 cm) thick. With your fingers, spread the ground lard cracklings to cover the dough. As you spread the lard crackling paste, make sure there are no overly large hard bits.
Fold the dough into thirds in both directions, from front/bottom and side to side. To do this, fold the top down a third of the way and the bottom up overtop. Then from the right side a third of the way and the left side overtop.
Let the folded dough rise for 20 minutes, then roll out to the same size and fold again. Some people say the folds must be the same way every time, other people say each time needs to be different, so I'm going to go ahead and say that until proven otherwise, it doesn't really matter. Do not turn the dough over.
Let rise another 20 minutes, roll, fold, and let rise again for 20 minutes. (So, in all, the dough will have been folded and risen 3 times). Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Roll the dough out about an inch/3cm thick. Use a small glass or round cookie cutter to cut rounds out of the dough. Take each piece and build it up between your hands by gently pressing your hands together on the sides of the pagáče as they move in opposite directions. This is more simple than writing makes it sound.
Place on a greased or parchment-papered baking sheet. Whisk an egg and brush each pagáč with the egg wash. If desired, sprinkle sesame seeds or caraway seeds on each one.
Bake the pagáče 15-20 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool (if you can!) and enjoy. While the pagáče will keep for some time, they are best fresh or by the next day.