I've been wanting to do this Bulgarian bread for ages and I had a big box of grated cheese in the fridge which needed using up and so I baked milinki (милинки). They are popular as a snack or for breakfast in Bulgaria. Sadly they need some fine tuning as they were quite far from what my Mum's milinki taste like. Nothing wrong with the ingredients, mind you.
5 dl warm milk (40 - 45 degrees C)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
11 - 13 dl strong white flour
25 g dried yeast or 50 g fresh yeast
150 g margarine + some for greasing the tin
150 g grated cheese, e. g. cheddar
- If you are using fresh yeast, dissolve it in the milk. If using dried yeast, mix it in with 10 dl of the flour.
- Add the salt, sugar, vinegar and oil to the milk and mix well, then start incorporating the flour a little at the time.
- If the dough is too soft, add an additional 1 - 3 dl, it should still be a very soft and sticky dough.
- Leave to rise for 30 minutes. In the mean time, grease a deep (5cm) baking tin and melt the margarine.
- When the dough is ready, dip your fingers in the melted margarine and shape the dough into small balls, about the size of a small walnut. I found that squeezing the dough between my thumb and index finger worked well, it was all very slippery. Keep dipping your fingers and the dough won't stick. Line them up in the baking tin, quite densly, there shouldn't be any space between the balls.
- When the tin is full, cover with the grated cheese. Whisk up the 4 eggs with what's left of the margarine and pour over the cheese. Then leave to rise for another 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees C or gas mark 6, then bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown. If you've done it right, the milinki will rise almost above the tin.
As you can see in the photo, I left some without cheese for Lundulph, however without the cheese, it's just plain bread. I think traditionally you'd use feta cheese and mix it in the dough. The milinki are quire nice hot with tea and we used to dip them in icing sugar, which sounds very strange, but is quite tasty with the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the sugar combined.
This is the first time I make these and I'm not happy with them one bit, if you look in the photo, the middle is very yellow and didn't bake well, this is a new behaviour from my cooker - it seems to bake only along the edges. Also I need to work faster and make the dough balls smaller, as by the time I'd filled the baking tin, the first ones had already risen to twice their original size. I'll have to watch my Mum when she makes them to work out the secret. The milkinki are good to freeze as well, I recommend cutting them up first, though. Then just reheat in the microwave when needed.
The interesting thing is that the dough can be used to make ordinary bread, or as pizza base or as the Bulgarian mikitsi (микици), which are similar to doughnuts or churros. That's yet another thing my Mum makes regularly and we have it as a treat when we go to visit, it's far too greasy to eat often.