Monday, December 24, 2007


So now I know I'm not a good blogger in December. But at the moment, Mark and the kids are gone, the washing machine is running, sadly the dishwasher isn't, but tomorrow's breakfast casserole is in the fridge and the pogacha is rising.

Of all the many domestic accomplishments of my mother's life, one of the greatest is her success capturing Micah's pogacha recipe. My mother's father was born in Yugoslavia, and his mother made pogacha, a egg-and-raisin bread, in a truly old world style: some of this, a handful of that, no set recipe.

My mother pinned down the genius, making Micah measure each handful before it went into the bowl and taking notes on all the variations of method. In the end, she created the pogacha recipe we all now follow every Christmas.

Three-year-old me watching Micah herself knead pogacha in her San Diego home. Sibs, recognize that kitchen stool? How about that apron? Both lived in our own kitchen for years. Anyone see a bit of Levi in that face of mine?

Despite Mom's genius capturing the recipe, I've always found it a bit hard to follow. So here's my rewrite of Mom's recipe--same recipe, just more detail to help you keep you from throwing away that egg white you need:

Micah's Pogacha

Soak 1/2 - 1 c white raisins in warm water
Soften 2 t yeast in 1/2 c warm water

Add the following ingredients, in the order listed, into a 4 c measuring cup:

1 c boiling water
1/4 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c milk
2/4 t lemon extract
4 drops yellow food color
3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg, beaten
(Here's the tricky part: Take 2 T from this egg mixture and put it in a small bowl. Also, put in this small bowl 1 egg white.)

Add warm water to the above mixture to make a total of 3 c

Add yeast (with its water) and raisin (without its water) to the above mixture. Add 3 c flour. Add about 3 c more until dough is soft and holds together. Knead 10 minutes. Let rise til double.

Form into 2 round loaves in sprayed pie pans. Let rise again. Brush top with that small bowl of egg you saved. Split top in thirds using sharp knife.

Bake 20 minutes at 375. Then bake 20 more minutes at 350.


  1. Okay, I've been consulting with Mom. Here's an even clearer explanation of how to do the eggs:

    Get out two bowls and 4 eggs.
    Stand by the sink
    Crack first egg, drop white into sink and the yolk into Bowl #1.
    Repeat with egg 2.
    For third egg, drop yolk into Bowl #1 and white into Bowl #2.
    For fourth egg, crack entire thing (egg and yolk) into Bowl #1.
    Take 2 T from Bowl #1 and add it to Bowl #2.

  2. But Mica didn't live in San Diego. We did, but she lived in Downey, just past Disneyland.

  3. The egg thing did totally throw me this year. I can't even remember WHAT I did in the end - but my pogacha sorta came out alright. I did let it rise just a smidge too long (like, oh, three hours). Really, it's not so tasty. I'm going to try again next week - and I will most certainly use these instructions.

  4. my sister forwarded this. our grandma betty makes this every christmas. what memories. nothing better than with a good smear of butter on top. she also makes pita, an eggy phyllo dough casserole that is nothing like the pita for gyros. it's more like scrambles egg baklava...except not sweet. thanks for sharing your memories and reminding me of my grandma betty.

  5. Bless you Angela! I was looking through my mom's version of your mom's family recipe book. I have taken a keen interest in Croatian recipes and learning to share my heritage. Anyhow, I was really frustrated because mom didn't type these clearly. I googled Pogacha, and there you were! So thanks couz! I am making it tonight and hope that it works out. Ooh, and thanks for the egg clarification as I was ready to pull my hair out!

  6. Do I need to use lemon "extract" or lemon "juice"? I did lemon juice today... hope it turns out

  7. Since my dough wasn't really rising, I compared your yeast amount to mom's original recipe. Her recipe says to use 2 packages of yeast (which is about 5 teaspoons), and your recipe calls for just 2 teaspoons.

  8. Just googled "pogacha recipe" and you're #4!