Traditional pīrāgi are small bread buns generally stuffed with fatty bacon and onion pieces, eaten by grateful gatherers at Latvian summer and winter festivals.
Making pīrāgi with cooked potatoes, a practice when wheat was scarce, is no longer popular. Eggs are now used to lighten the bread.
Using a pre-ferment or sour dough is also optional.
500 g white flour 350 g bacon/belly pork, diced 250 ml kefir 100 g potatoes, boiled in skins, mashed (optional) 2 eggs, beaten (optional) 1 egg, beaten, for glazing 50 g onions 30 g sour cream 30 g sour dough 25 ml milk 25 g butter 25g sugar 25 g yeast 1 tsp caraway seeds 1 tsp cardamom, ground 1 tsp pepper Salt, pinch
Mix sugar and cardamoms in a small bowl. Add yeast and a spoonful of flour.
Heat milk to lukewarm with the butter. Pour into bowl and whisk. Leave for ten minutes.
In a large bowl combine the remaining flour with the kefir, potatoes (or eggs), salt, sour cream, sour dough and yeast mixture.
Work into a dough, about ten minutes with a wooden spoon, adding more flour if too sticky. Final dough should be loose.
Turn onto floured surface, knead for 20 minutes. Leave to rise for an hour, degas with several gentle folds, and leave for a second hour.
Prepare a mixture of bacon, caraway seeds and onions with fresh ground pepper.
Cut dough into 30g pieces, flatten into rounds.
Place a level teaspoon of bacon mixture in the centre of each round, fold and seal with firm pressure from a thumb.
Brush pīrāgi with egg.
Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Bake for ten minutes.
Cover with clean linen towel, leave to cool.
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