The Fresh Loaf

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Lepinja (Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Balkan flatbread)

berryblondeboys's picture

Lepinja (Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Balkan flatbread)

My husband is from Croatia and this weekend we are having a housewarming party and we'll be serving cevapcici which is traditionall served in a flatbread with raw onions and kajmak (a homemade cream cheese, which I can't make traditionally, but there are a couple of 'cheats' out there).

That flatbread is called Lepinja. It's a triple risen dough which acts like a pita in that it splits open, but looks more like a puffy naan. I did a search on The Fresh Loaf and saw some discussion on it, but not any mention of anyone actually making. I know I've eaten it at a Bosnian cafe and in Croatia on our trips, but it's fuzzy for me. My mother in law who lives with us, doesn't really cook and really doesn't know breads, so I'll just have to hope I pick a recipe that comes close so that I don't get (as I often do), "This is close, but..." I know part of the reason it can't be replicated so easily is that European flours are different than American flours.  Is it best to go with a bread flour or an all-purpose flour? Anyone know?

Here's a good picture of the sandwich we are going for:

Thanks for any help, if someone can!


reddragon's picture


The Croatian Lepinja in your picture looks a lot like the Turkish pide (pronounced 'pideh'), which I'm dying to try. A recipe was posted on TFL a while back, with a picture that looks just right.

If you make it, let me know how it turns out. In the meantime, I hope you'll save some cevapcici for me. Sigh.


berryblondeboys's picture

Looks very similar (as all these things are variations on the same thing). I found a couple recipes. I can read/understand simple things in Croatian, so comparing different recipes is giving me ideas, but of course, there are more than one recipe too. Same with cevapcici. When I made those earlier this summer for a party we were going to (where you grill at the party), I made them from a highly rated allrecipes recipe - so many saying it was just like they remembered. WELL... it was not just like how my mother in law and husband remembered. The ones I made were spicey and they weren't used to spicy cevapcici. The spice they get from the raw onion that accompanies the sausages. So, back to square one with that one - well, not exactly, I just need to skip the red pepper! LOL


davidg618's picture


I just looked on Google, and found pages of Lepinja recipes. I've found, not surprisingly, throughout Eastern Europe, the Balkans, India and Pakistan, and the Middle East every ethnic group makes flatbreads that are very similar, and, of course, many claim "orginal" or "authentic".  Few I've encountered use yeast, and, therefore, even one fermentation. I've been looking for a "different" flatbread recipe, Lepinja just might be it.

The handful of Lepinja recipes I looked at all direct three risings, and the ingredients are universally similar. I suggest you give a net-wide search a try.

David G

berryblondeboys's picture

Thanks, I have - yesterday via the iphone and today via the imac. I've read many in native tongue too... all variations of the same theme. I think I'll pick an American one though (and I think one who was asking about it on TFL last year). His loaves look pretty good, albeit, a little flour dusted which I've never seen, but that's an easy fix. Also seems he/she let it only rise twice even though both recipes he linked mentioned letting it rise three times. I'll do three.

Here's his link:

BTW, the word is pronounced Lep-yee-na in case anyone was wondering.


Here's a link to a fake kajmak (pronounced kah-yee-mak) as I dont have access to raw milk to make it properly:


And here is for cavapcici (which in croatian is typed Ćevapčići) is pronounced loosely as: Che-vop-chee-chee):

I'm changing it a wee bit to be the zagreb style which is basically to skip the baking soda (I think that is a mistranslation) it is commonly made with one deciliter mineral/carbonated water, and to skip the red hot pepper.

hanseata's picture

Bread flour with a high gluten content like the American one is not easily available in Europe. In my Tyrolean bread baking book it is specifically listed as "Montana" flour.

For bread baking in Germany, Austria and Italy (and I assume in Eastern European countries, too) a flour type is used that resembles more American all-purpose flour (German Typ 550, Austrian Typ W 700 and Italian Tipo 0).

Therefore I think all-purpose flour would probably be the right choice for your flat bread.


reyesron's picture

I try to think of parallel cultural lores that apply to lepinja recipes, like maybe barbeque, or chili, or even baguettes, but let me just say this:  I work with a guy from Bosnia, and he had just returned from visiting his mother.  I asked him if he could get me a lepinja recipe.  I, like a lot of other people, saw lepinja being freshly baked on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" and wanted to bake some myself.  He just kinda laughed at the idea, like, you can't make it right, so why bother.  A day or so later, I went to the local farmers market, and lo and behold, there was a Bosnian Bread Baker with lepinja for sale.  I bought some and mentioned to my co-worker that they sold it there.  He laughed, and said, "I've had theirs, thats not really lepinja". 

I think the answer is, don't talk to Bosnian co-workers about lepinja, or even,  lepinja is whatever you want it to be...   

berryblondeboys's picture

Ended up not making it for the party. I planned on starting it the night before, but while I was rolling the cevapcici, the electricity went out. I rolled by flashlight until 1:30 am. Electricity didn't come back on until 9 am. (meat was stored in a cooler with ice). We bought pita bread instead. Hopefully tomorow I can make with the leftovers I need to cook up.

Delilah's picture

Hi everyone.

I am just new here and come from the Central Queensland area. I saw a question about Lepinja, Serbian flatbread from Berryblondboys. The recipe I have is from Allrecipes and someone on this site may have already contributed that very recipe. I found it easy enough to follow even though it's not metric and just allowed the one envelope of dry yeast. It is proven three times. I made it yesterday and it was very poplular. I first had it in Bulgaria and they served a special spread with it and I'd love the recipe for that too. It was like a light, whipped cream cheese and I am sure it had paprika in it. Can anyone help with that please, even though it isn't bread and only a spread?  Also has anyone recipes for naan and roti breads plus pappadoms please or if not perhaps you can direct me.  Many thanks.