Scrub and slice potato (do not peel); combine with the 2 cups water in a 1- to 1-1/2-quart pan. Cover and boil until very tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain, reserving liquid, then rice or smoothly mash potato; set aside.
Measure 3/4 cup of the reserved potato liquid; pour into a large bowl and let cool to 100F. Stir in the yeast; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Mix in the potato, the 1 teaspoon salt, the ginger, and soda.
Stir together 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the cornstarch, then gradually beat into yeast mixture with a heavy spoon (dough will be crumbly). Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth, adding flour as required.
Turn dough over in a greased bowl; cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
Punch down dough; turn out onto a floured board and knead to expel air bubbles. Divide dough into 16 pieces, shaping each into a smooth ball.
Place balls about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets; cover and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
Flatten balls into 4-inch rounds. Cut 4 or 5 slits in each with a knife; pull slits to open (see photograph above). Place rounds well apart on greased baking sheets. Dust with flour, cover, and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, heat 1-1/2 inches of salad oil to 375F. Fry one round of bread at a time, turning until golden brown on both sides, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes total. Lift from oil with a slotted spoon or spatula, let drain briefly, then set on folded paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Serve warm or cool with cut cloves of garlic to rub onto each langos just before eating. If made ahead, cool, wrap, and store at room temperature up to 1 day. To reheat, place langos on baking sheets and heat, uncovered, in a 350[deg.] oven until warm, about 10 minutes.
Yield: "16 pieces"
NOTES : On baking days in Hungary, small pieces of dough were often saved to make puffy golden rounds of fried bread known as langos.
Slashed here and there for an extra-chewy interior, langos rubbed with cut cloves of fresh garlic were a special treat to accompany bowls of spicy Hungarian soups and stews.
While there are several different recipes for langos, this version starts with a springy potato yeast dough. Although best eaten freshly made, langos can be made a day ahead and reheated.
- 1/2 lb baking potatoes (1 medium)
- 2 cup water
- 1 pkt active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 cup all-purpose flour approximately
- 3 tbl cornstarch
- Salad oil
- Garlic cloves peeled and halved