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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sărățele (Romanian cheese straws)

This is my mom's recipe for Sărățele. I already featured a simplified version of them before, but it's nothing compared to the authentic one here. 
The straws are made from a butter and egg dough rich in grated cheese, cut into strips and brushed with beaten egg. Some minutes later in the oven they transform into golden crunchy salty and flavorful snacks that remain tender and crisp for 4-5 days, so making larger batches is perfectly fine. My mom always makes them for holidays (like Easter and Christmas) and our little toddler Mira seems to be crazy for them too (and she's a very shy and picky eater when it comes to most other foods but these).

Last year: Kashmiri chai (Indian cardamom tea).
Two years ago: Zucchini, bean and cheese quesadillas
Three years ago: Baked Camembert with rum raisins (French). 

Ingredients (we usually double them for a larger batch):
  • 225 g "cascaval" cheese (like Gruyere or Gouda)
  • 200 g butter
  • 1 egg (plus 1 extra to brush)
  • 200 ml plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 satchel active dry yeast
  • 400-450 g flour (plus extra to roll the dough)

Finely grate the cheese. Melt the butter and mix it with the egg and yogurt. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix well. Add the grated cheese and mix again until even. The dough is done. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line a large baking sheet or two with baking paper (we work with 2 at a time - one is baking while we fill the other).
Take out large handfuls of dough (about a quarter of the total for the above quantities) and roll them on a flour-dusted surface, to about 1/2 cm thickness maximum. Cut long strips out of it:

Transfer them to a prepared baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. 

Put the tray in the oven and let them bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Take out and put the next tray in and so on until all the dough is used up.

It's done, dig in! :)

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