Lepinja Bread (Flatbread from the Balkans)
Lepinja are flatbread rolls typical of the Balkans. Made with yoghurt and milk, they are soft and fluffy and are the perfect accompaniment to a Balkan-style kebabs or any sandwich!
Why should I make lepinja flatbread?
- Takes less than an hour from start to finish!
- No long proving times.
- Lepinja are so fluffy and soft!
- Try a bread from a different culture.
Bread from the Balkans – Lepinja
Known as the ‘daily bread’ of the Balkans, Lepinja flatbreads are super soft and fluffy. I can see why they are made on the daily! They take less than an hour to prepare, from start to finish, and require no lengthy proving time.
Lepinja is also known as Lepinje and Somun bread (in case you ever come across these name variations!)
READ: My guide on Bosnian Food, Background and Culture – ALL you need to know!
Lepinja bread is typically served with cevapi (a beef shish-style kebab), topped with red pepper ajvar sauce.
Ingredients for Lepinja Flatbread
- Strong white bread flour – To achieve a good rise, I find that strong white bread flour works really well. Leave some extra for dusting on top.
- Dried active yeast – I like a good quick action yeast, so any dried fast-action yeast will work for this recipe. You could use fresh yeast but you’d have to mix the water (it’ll need to be warm) and leave it to activate first.
- Salt – always need a bit of salt to help regulate the rise of the bread. It’ll also give that nice, savoury bread flavour.
- Water – to help combine ingredients.
- Milk – the milk gives the bread that lovely, soft texture.
- Natural yoghurt – using yoghurt in bread makes it softer by the relaxing the gluten. I love it!
- Cumin seeds – these are optional but are a lovely touch to the baked breads. You can also use poppy seeds, nigella seeds.. experiment!
- Milk pan or small saucepan
- Medium mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Stand mixer with dough hook (or use your hands – it’ll just take longer!)
- Tea towel
- D-scraper for dividing dough
- Large baking sheet
How to make lepinja bread
My recipe for lepinja bread from the Balkans is really not that difficult to make. It only requires two proves (the second is only for 5 minutes!) and if you have a stand mixer, they’ll be done in less than an hour!
The dough: you first start by warming up your milk. Next, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the milk, yoghurt and water and mix until the dough has all come together. It will look sticky and that’s fine! In the stand mixer, knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes. It’ll still be sticky and that’s exactly how you want it to be!
First prove: lightly oil a medium bowl, add in the dough, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Shaping the dough: once doubled in size, knock back the dough by pushing the air out with your hands. Tip it onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. About 2 mins. Divide the dough into equal parts (should make 6). Shape the dough pieces into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand (to about finger thickness).
Second (mini) prove: place the dough pieces onto the baking sheet lined with baking paper and leave to rise slightly for 5 minutes.
Baking: make slits on the top of each bread and sprinkle each with a little water, some cumin seeds and a light dusting of flour. Bake in a hot oven (220°c) for 10 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and wrap immediately in a tea towel. Serve warm or cold!
Here’s a step-by-step guide to further show the steps for this yummy Balkans flatbread!
Balkans lepinja bread recipe step-by-step
This bread from the Balkans is wonderful as a sandwich bread. One of my favourite ways is to serve it like they would in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Make a batch of beef cevapi (beef-style shish kebabs) and top with the ajvar sauce. A little bit of sour cream and a guandilla chilli will top it all off nicely!
You could also serve this bread with my lamb shish kebabs too! A little of of tzatziki sauce and salad would make it the perfect BBQ dish or a very filling lunch!
Lepinja Bread (Flatbread from the Balkans)
- 850 g strong white bread flour
- 14 g dried active yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 200 ml water
- 200 ml whole milk
- 100 g natural yoghurt
- Warm the milk in a small saucepan. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (the stand mixer bowl that you'll use, to make things easier)
- Add the warmed milk, yoghurt and water. Mix utill the dough has formed. Knead with dough hook attached, for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky and this is ok.
- Place in the dough in a different bowl which has been lightly oiled. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Knock back the dough with your hands and knead for 2 mins until smooth. Divide the dough into equal parts. Shape each part into a ball and flatten with your hand (about finger thickness).
- Place the flatbreads onto a baking sheet which has been lined with baking paper. Leave to rise for an extra 5 minutes.
- Make slits on top of each flatbead, sprinkle with water and cumin seeds. Dust lightly with some flour. Bake in a hot oven at 220°c for 10 minutes or until risen and golden.
- Remove from oven and wrap immediately in a tea towel (or just cover the tray). Serve warm or cold.