Recipes from Albania

Every meal that Vita made was a feast to be remembered.   What she did with potatoes!   How she stuffed chicken!   The spices she added to soup!  I have the secrets to a few of these recipes.   However, they remain just that, family secrets.   I am not allowed to share Vita's secrets.   I'll just have to savor them at home, and you'll just have to be jealous.

Fortunately for me, there was more food involved during the visit to Gjirokaster.  When students arrived at school to paint on Saturday, that should have been reward enough.   I mean, seriously, how do you get students to come in to school on the weekend?  But, not only did twenty kids come to paint, they brought food!  And, it is a well known fact with any of my students (and with these students who I didn't know so well) that I love students who bring me food.  My favorite treat on this day of painting was kulaç, an Albanian bread recipe that even I could follow.

The girl who brought the kulaç was Bora, a delightful class leader.  I combined her recipe with one I found on the Internet to get all the information I needed to make the bread.  I need very specific information when I cook anything.  Unfortunately, I'm not someone who can wing it at all in the kitchen.

Bora's Kulaç
Gjirokastra, Albania

2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
a little sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs 
container of yoghurt
1/2 cup of oil

Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, soda, sugar, and salt).  Stir in the yoghurt, oil, and eggs to the dry ingredients.  (No source really indicated how big the glass of oil was supposed to be.  So, I'm guessing 1/2 of a cup.  Real cooks may differ on this.)  Knead the dough until all the ingredients are well mixed.  It is fine if the dough is a little wet.

Place the dough in a greased bowl.  Cover and let it rise in a warm location.  (Again, I found no specific information for the rising, so I'm saying 45 minutes to an hour like I do with other bread.)  Knead it a second time.  Place it in a baking pan and let it sit for a second time.  Don't expect miraculous rising with the bread.  There is no yeast in this recipe, but I read that the sugar is supposed to help some.

Bake at 340 degrees F. until the bread is golden brown on the top.  (Yes, an amount of time would be nice, but I didn't get that.)  Pierce the crust with a knife, fork, or toothpick to see if it comes out clean.  If so, you're ready to eat the warm bread with feta cheese.