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Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)
A must for any summer picnic

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Lepinja is a delicious Balkan Flatbread that is perfect for barbecue and picnics. It takes a little over an hour to make this easy flatbread recipe.

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)
In almost every culture, you can find some kind of flatbread. Flatbread is always baked at a high temperature to ensure the most delicious golden-brown crust. It usually consists of these three ingredients, flour, water, and salt. In the Middle East, we would find “Pida” bread, in Asia “Naan” bread, and “Chapati” in India. In Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and in Slovenia too, Lepinja bread is widely popular. You can find it on almost every picnic or barbecue gathering. We usually serve them with cevapi (minced meat), but you can easily serve them with various meat or vegetarian toppings.

The Best Lepinja or Balkan Flatbread

Mmm, I can already smell that inviting freshly baked bread aroma wafting from the kitchen. It's so good, and we love:

  • the soft, light, airy interior
  • golden-brown and delicious exterior
  • great for picnics, barbecue, and a tasty side dish for meat and vegetable main dishes
  • dairy-free, and appropriate for vegans and vegetarians
  • you can easily store them at room temperature or freeze them for longer
  • 4-ingredient recipe with no electric mixers needed

Making the dough for Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Making the dough for Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Making the dough for Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Dividing the dough for Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread) into six parts

Proofing Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Shaping the dough into Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

How to make Lepinja at home

Like any other yeasted dough, Lepinja too takes some time and effort to make. But trust me when I tell you that it will be so worth it. This flatbread is fantastic, and it's pretty simple to make. You can find the complete list of ingredients with the method below. But if we're keeping it short, this is how we make it:

  1. Knead the dough. You can either use your hands or a stand mixer.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball, and leave it to proof for approximately 45 minutes.
  3. Divide into six parts and shape into small balls.
  4. Shape each piece of dough into a flatbread form. Make a mash pattern on top.
  5. Bake in a scorching oven.

Shaping Lepinja

Lepinja before baking

Baked Lepinja

Tips and Trick for Successful baking

Here you will find essential tips and tricks for this Lepinja recipe.

  1. The yeast must activate. It's super important that the yeast activates. Bubbles will start to appear on top. If not, then the yeast isn't activated, and this recipe won't work.
  2. Leave them to proof for long enough. It's best to keep an eye on that dough. Once it's doubled in size, you're good to go.
  3. Using the back (dull) part of the knife, create a mash pattern on the bread. As you can see in the photo above, we make a mash pattern with the back part of the knife. This helps the Lepinja flatbread to stay flat. We prevent it from rising too much in the oven, and we avoid an inside pocket from forming.
  4. Feel free to proof these overnight. You can easily make these ahead of time. Knead the dough as instructed, then cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 15 minutes. Place in the fridge overnight, or up to 20 hours. In this case, use only half of the yeast.
  5. Bake them in a pizza oven. But be careful to adjust the baking time. In this case, bake for 2 - 3 minutes.
  6. Make it sourdough. You can make this lepinja sourdough with little effort. Instead of yeast, add 100g (3.5ounces) of your sourdough starter. They need to proof for 3 hours in that case.
  7. Cover them with a kitchen towel when they are baked. This way, the Lepinja exterior will get softer and stay soft.

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Storing and freezing Lepinja

It's best to serve this Lepinja Flatbread fresh and warm. However, feel free to store them for later.

Keep them in a bread bag or a breadbasket for up to 2 days at room temperature.

We can freeze them too. Once they have completely cooled, place the bread in a freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost before serving.

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Lepinja (Balkan Flatbread)

Try these picnic bread recipes too


Lets get cooking!

  • makes
    lepinja bread
  • preparation:
  • proof:
  • bake:
  • total time:


  • make the lepinja bread dough

    Add flour to a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the flour. Add the lukewarm water and yeast. Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Knead to combine, then add the salt. Knead the dough for 5 minutes by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the lard or canola oil and continue to knead for about 3 - 4 minutes or until smooth. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or clingfilm. Set aside to proof for 45 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

    The water shouldn't be too hot, or the yeast won't activate. The best water temperature is around 35°C / 95°F.
  • shape into balls

    Dust your working surface with flour or semolina. Place the Lepinja dough on the floured surface. Shape into a log and cut into six equal parts. Shape each piece into a smooth, round ball. Place back on the floured surface. Cover with a kitchen towel or clingfilm and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

  • shape into lepinja

    Shape each ball into a round flatbread approximately 15 cm or 6-inches in diameter. Place each Lepinja bread on a floured baking sheet. Leave to rest for another 10 - 15 minutes. Then, using a back (dull) side of the knife, make a mesh pattern. Preheat the oven to 250 °C / 480 °F.

    If you plan to bake your Lepinja bread in a pizza oven or use a pizza stone for the oven, you don't need a baking sheet. Place the bread directly on the stone surface to bake.
  • bake

    Place the baking sheet (don't line with parchment paper) with the Lepinja bread into a preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes at 250 °C / 480 °F or until the flatbread is golden-brown and baked. Transfer to a wire rack, gently splash with water and cover with a kitchen towel. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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