Šunka u kruhu (Croatian Easter ham baked inside of bread)

Easter is the one time of the year that I roast ham in the oven because if you are going to do it, you have to do it right. Namely, as šunka u kruhu, which is ham baked inside of the bread. I mean, doesn’t that just sound mouth-watering?!?! And trust me, it is.

  • 1 kg of ham
  • 11 g of  instant dry yeast
  • 1 dl of warm milk
  • pinch of sugar
  • 400 g of flour + a pinch for proofing + some for kneading
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 dl of water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream
  • oil (to grease the cookie sheet)

Place the ham in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat (but leave the ham in the water) and let cool. Once cool enough, place the pot in the fridge. (It’s easiest to do this  the day before, but if you forget, you can still do it in the morning while you are making Easter breakfast. 🙂 )

Next, begin making the bread. In a small bowl, add the warm milk to the yeast, with a pinch of flour and sugar.  While this is proofing (it should get all foamy and bubbly, which means the yeast is alive and your bread will rise properly), add the flour and salt to a large bowl, running a fork through to mix well and aerate. Form a well in the middle and add the yeast and water. Starting with a fork (and moving to your hand), slowly incorporate the flour into the liquid by running the fork around the edges of the “well.”  This will enable you to have a smooth consistency. Next, knead the dough a bit and then let rest in a bowl for about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Oil a parchment or aluminum foil wrapped cookie sheet. You can also sprinkle corn meal or polenta to help with sticking.

Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out onto a well-floured surface, about 1 to 2 cm thick. Place the ham on one side, tuck the edges up, and roll over to make sure the ham is completely covered and sealed. Cut off any excess and set to the side (you can use this to make adornments like pleter, etc). Decorate as desired with the excess dough. Mix the sour cream and egg white together and brush all over the dough. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crust gets nicely browned. If you find it is browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil. Make sure to also brush with the sour cream/egg mixture again about half way through to give it a good shine.

Serve with side dishes such as krumpir sa blitvom (potatoes with chard), salata od cikle (beet salad), and kupus salata (cabbage salad).

Enjoy!

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