Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lithuanian "Snacks to Beer"

Kepta Duona (02)

Lithuanian-style Kepta Duona," literally, "cooked bread": strips of coarse, dense rye bread (pumpernickel) pan-fried in oil with caraway seeds, then rubbed with garlic cloves and salt. Served as “užkandžiai prie alaus” — “snacks to beer”.

Boak & Bailey — a pair of British beer bloggers based in London— posted a recipe for Lithuanian "snacks to beer" last summer. Better late than never, I'm reposting it here and now — permssion granted, of course.
Garlicky fried bread strips: It’s not remotely fancy, it’s not good for you, but it’s a great snack to beer for several reasons. Firstly, it’s salty and oily. Now, I know greasy is bad for your beer. It makes it go flat. But, frankly, who cares — it just works.

Eat, dipping in majonezas (mayonnaise), or not. Serve with "a big glass of fizzy lager," or not. An ale would fare just as well.

Snacks to beer: a hearty salutation, indeed.



  • 1 small loaf coarse, dense pumpernickel
  • caraway seeds
  • cooking oil
  • 1–2 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • mayonnaise
(Photos: here.)
  1. 1. Cut some rye bread into fingers (or “soldiers” for those of you who like a dippy egg). It’s easy to get rye bread in London now, because Polish and Lithuanian migrants have established a demand. If you can’t get it, any dark brown bread – wholemeal, or maybe even something with nuts in – should do the job.

  2. 2. Rub each finger with a crushed garlic clove. One clove will do ten or so fingers before it disintegrates in your fingers.

  3. 3. Heat some oil in a pan. Get it smoking hot. You’ll want about four or five tablespoons for ten fingers of bread. We used olive oil, because we’re complete ponces, but I suspect the Lithuanians use pork drippings.

  4. 4. Sprinkle in some caraway seeds – about half a teaspoon. They’ll snap, crackle and pop.

  5. 5. Lay the bread carefully in the oil and leave it on one side for 1–2 minutes.

  6. 6. Turn it all over. It should almost be turning black. Sprinkle quite liberally with salt.

  7. 7. After another minute or so, tip the whole lot out onto a piece of kitchen towel to drain.

Kepta Duona: step 1



  1. Hello Tom

    Glad you liked our post! Haven't made any kepta duona for a long time... don't suppose you know how to make cepelinai (sp?)

  2. Hi Boak,

    I'll check with my resident expert on things Lithuanian for spelling and recipe for cepelinai. In the meantime, here's a recipe for ausukai, appropriate to the season.

  3. Hello (Sveiki) I can help you with cepelinai :)
    1 kg uncooked potatoes
    3 or 4 boiled potatoes
    ground beef, or a combination of ground beef and ground pork
    for meatless cepelinai:

    dry cottage cheese (curd) or mushrooms can be used.

    [edit] Preparation
    Peel and grate raw potatoes, then squeeze out excess liquid from them through a cheesecloth. Let starch settle to the bottom of the liquid, then pour the liquid off and add the starch back to the potatoes. Peel and mash the boiled potatoes, then add them to the grated ones. Add a dash of salt and knead the mass well.

    Take approximately egg-sized pieces of this mixture and form into patties. Place spoonfuls of the previously prepared filling into the center of the patties. Most often a filling is made from ground beef, dry cottage cheese or mushrooms with salt and spices. Close the patties around the filling and form them into ovoid shapes.

    Place the cepelinai in a salted boiling water and cook for approximately 30 minutes. Carefully stir the pot so that cepelinai do not stick to the bottom. Cepelinai are eaten with bacon, or melted sour cream and butter sauce. This dish is very filling, and was traditionally only served for guests or during heavy work seasons.

    [edit] Challenges and Techniques

    [edit] Grating the potatoes
    Use the smallest side of the grater, i.e., the one which looks like circular metal dimples. This will result in a very even, consistent texture, which looks somewhat like applesauce before the potato liquid is removed.
    Do not use the large or small shredders on a typical grater; the texture will be incorrect and will not hold together
    Consider adding crushed vitamin C (ascorbic acid) tablets or vitamin C powder to the raw potato mixture early in the grating process to avoid color change and inhibit oxidation
    use a potato ricer to "mash" the boiled potatoes

    [edit] Boiling the cepelinai
    One of the most common problems is the potato wrapper dissolving once the cepelinai are added to the boiling water. Some or all of the following techniques can be combined to keep the potato wrapper together and obtain the proper result:

    make sure that as much liquid as possible has been squeezed out of the raw potato mixture
    use high-starch potatoes, such as russet or Idaho potatoes. Yellow (such as Bintje or Yukon Gold) may be acceptable. Waxy, low-starch potatoes (such as red potatoes) are not recommended. In general, large, older potatoes will contain more starch than small, young/new potatoes.
    add extra potato starch to the potato mixture. This may be necessary if you cannot find potatoes that are sufficiently high in starch. Other starch (such as cornstarch) may be used if potato starch is not available.
    add one egg as a binder to the potato mixture. This is non-traditional, but may help in certain cases.
    add all-purpose wheat flour as a binder to the potato mixture. This is non-traditional, but may help in certain cases.
    reduce heat of water just before adding cepelinai from a rolling boil to a simmer
    lower cepelinai carefully into the boiling water using a slotted spoon or bamboo spider
    keep cepelinai in water at a simmer
    stir the cepelinai very gently
    Vincas Alisauskas visiting NC

  4. link to kogelis (bulviu plokstainis)

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  7. The initial phase in making beer is crushing where the starch source (malted grain) is blended in with boiling water in a pound tun. birra bonavena ring anniversary lattina 33cl


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