By CLAYTON RYE
BRITT – What does a retired farmer do for relaxation?
If you are Roger Kopacek, of Britt, a relaxing time means baking something using dough you’ve made with your bread machine.
“I kind of picked this up on my own,” said Kopacek. “I wish I had started earlier.”
Bread is Kopacek’s specialty.
“It’s like a hobby” he said. “It’s time consuming.”
His grandparents were Frank and Elizabeth Kopacek, and in 1995, a family cookbook was assembled to honor them during a family reunion. It had recipes from Bohemia where the Kopaceks originated.
The potato doughnut recipe is from Kopacek’s grandmother.
“My mother used to make potato doughnuts every morning or every other morning,” said Kopacek.
His parents, Vincent and Rose Kopacek, retired to Britt in 1975 leaving the farm operation to Roger Kopacek and his wife, Mary.
Kopacek brings his farmer’s attitude to his baking. He said he is always looking for better ways to improve a recipe, usually by making changes in his procedure.
Two of his favorite Bohemian bread recipes are rolachy (pronounced roll-a-key) and koblihy (pronounced koo-bla-hay).
The original koblihy recipe calls for the dough to be rolled into a ball before frying, but Kopacek prefers to cut them into squares.
He uses a cake decorator to fill his koblihy after they are fried in his deep fat fryer, rather than filling them before frying as is the Bohemian tradition.
He does this, he said, because when it comes to the dough – “The less you mess with it, the better.”
Since he does not follow the original procedure for koblihy, he prefers to call them filled donuts.
When his preferred cake decorator broke, he tried gluing it and then decided to try using a syringe from his days of raising hogs.
The hypodermic needle was too thin so he attached a piece of tubing that had been used in a plumbing application.
What seemed like a good idea was not practical, he said, because of the difficulty of filling the glass tube of the syringe, and he returned to gluing his cake decorator whenever it broke.
“It was worth a try,” he said.
Potato bread is another of his favorites. It is not a Kopacek family recipe, he said. It passed to him by a family friend, Donna Young Rayhons, whose father was a baker.
Potato bread for a 2-pound loaf
Place in the bottom of the bread container in this order:
1 1/2 cups water, (potato water if available)
Clump of mashed potatoes (do not use potato flakes)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dried milk
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
Place on top of above:
4 1/2 cups white bread flour
Make an indentation on top of flour and add
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of wheat gluten
Let this mix in bread machine and remove. Shape the loaf and let rise.
Bake in a round crockery bowl at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Roger Kopacek’s dough recipe
2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon wheat gluten
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons powdered milk
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
Use warm ingredients.
On a bread machine, go through the dough cycle for one hour, 40 minutes.
Knead the dough and cut it into 24 pieces.
Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Roll and shape into a triangle.
Roll from long end, going forward.
Place point down in pan.
Let rise in warm oven or warm place for one hour or more.
Bake 17 minutes at 350 degrees.
Knead the dough; let it rest 15 to 20 minutes.
Roll to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 2-by-2-inch pieces.
Place on pan and rise in the oven for one hour.
Deep fat fry.
Sugar or fill the pieces.
Grandma K’s old fashioned potato doughnuts
3 cups sifted flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons lard
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups warm mashed potatoes
1/2 cup milk
Lard for frying
Sift flour once; add baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Sift together until blended, then add egg yolks and beat thoroughly.
Add potatoes and blend well.
Add milk gradually while blending.
Add dry ingredients and mix only until mixture is smooth. Do not over beat.
Chill the dough in refrigerator until firm enough to roll.
Roll out dough about 1/3-inch thick on a lightly floured surface or pastry canvas.
Cut with a lightly floured doughnut cutter.
Drop into pan that is filled with hot oil.
Fry for 1 minute and then turn and fry for another minute or until brown.
Remove from fryer and place on several layers of paper toweling to soak up grease.
Dust with granulated or confectioners’ sugar.
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