Thursday, October 27, 2011


The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
I was so thrilled with the Daring Baker's October challenge recipe - Povitica! Funnily I had seen a recipe for Potica (another name for Povitica, I think) in my copy of a "Baker's Odyssey" and bookmarked it. The Baker's Odyssey recipe was only slightly different to the challenge recipe in that it uses honey and egg whites in the filling similar to our previous challenge of the Yeasted Meringue Coffee cake.

 I love that this challenge recipe used everyday ingredients to create something special. I had a packet of walnuts in the pantry but only enough for 1 loaf. I remembered the dried apricots I had and the almond meal in the freezer. The apricots were simmered with water, drained and whizz in the food processor with almond meal, an egg, sugar, Amaretto liquor and a few drops of almond essence.

The dough was very sticky. I used all the flour (of the half batch recipe) and made the dough in my mixer. This is not a good photo but I wanted to show the texture of the dough.

I floured a cloth and rolled the dough quite thin then stretch it a bit - it barely took 5 minutes. I did wonder at the time if I had stretch it too thinly as I was treating it like a strudel dough.
The dough is beautiful to roll out. 

I found spreading the filling more difficult as it was thick and sticky - I made a quarter recipe but used a whole egg (didn't want more whites in my freezer) then added a bit more milk. The pic in the challenge show an almost honey like filling mine was more peanut butter-like thickness. I found a offset palate knife help to spread the filling.

I used the cloth to help roll up the dough, brushing off excess flour as I rolled.

I allowed the dough to rise longer than the 15 minutes as I knew my family would prefer a lighter loaf and not the dense loaf this was meant to be.

The Apricot Almond loaf was yummy with a tart bite.

 The resulting Walnut loaf smells amazing and taste delicious. I love the swirls! This recipe is a keeper!

Here I will give you the challenge recipe as set.

Povitica (makes 4 loaves)
To activate the Yeast:
2 Teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
½ Cup (120ml) Warm Water
2 Tablespoons (30ml/14 gm/½ oz/2 sachets) Dry Yeast

2 Cups (480ml) Whole Milk
¾ Cup (180 ml/170gm/6 oz) Sugar
3 Teaspoons (15 ml/18 gm/2/3 oz) Table Salt
4 Large Eggs
½ Cup (120ml/115 gm/one stick/4 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
8 cups (1.92 l/1.12 kg/39½ oz/2½ lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Walnut Filling:
7 Cups (1.68 l/1.12 kg/2.5 lbs) Ground English Walnuts
1 Cup (240ml) Whole Milk
1 Cup (240ml/225 gm/2 sticks/8 oz) Unsalted Butter
2 Whole Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon (5ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups (480ml/450 gm/16 oz) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/4 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) Cinnamon

½ Cup (120 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
2 Tablespoons (30 ml/28 gm/1 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

To Activate Yeast:1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes
To Make the Dough:3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.

6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl
7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick.

8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size

To Make the Filling10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)

20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath

23. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered
24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.
25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced26. Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

28. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife

Jenni, thank you so much for this brilliant recipe! I was going to try the Baker's Odyssey recipe but I don't think I will. This is a recipe I can't go past! Really very good!!!
In my area of the world this type of bread is not seen. I am thrilled to be introduced to a fantastic Eastern European recipe!


  1. speechless.... :D .... hugs and blessings, Flavia

  2. I Love this apricot almond version! Very creative! Looks delicious!

  3. Your Poviticas are wonderful! I love the idea of using dried apricots and amaretto in one of your loaves. It sounds so yummy! And I love how it looks when you slice it, really pretty!

  4. The apricot version sounds devine - I would love to try this again with another filling, although I adored the walnut filling.

  5. Wonderful loaves! I love how light and airy they look! And the apricot looks delicious. Great job.

  6. I remember reading your comment in the forum when you said the recipe was great and needed no changes, and I totally trusted you and followed it to a T. You were completely right! Your Povitica looks awesome! Beautiful job, as always :)

  7. Your Potivica is beautiful! I used your pic of how sticky the dough should be to judge my own... it was very helpful!

  8. Looks like a lot of work, but you did a fantastic job. I don't know which version I love best.

  9. Both loaves look amazing, but that apricot povitica is totally calling my name. As always, absolutely fantastic work on the challenge!!

  10. bellissima ricetta e tanti complimenti per il blog, mi piace molto!!

  11. Fantastic job! Your povitica looks beautiful - the swirls are stunning! The apricot filling sounds delicious, too! I am glad you enjoyed making it so much, you did a fantastic job!

  12. Gorgeous! The apricot almond filling sounds divine. Love that you own A Bakers Odyssey- such a great book!
    Best, Sandie

  13. Wow I love the swirls, your poviticas look beautiful and the fillings sound delicious

  14. bread looks absolutely great!


  15. Beautiful work, Marcellina! I greased my pan with lots of butter, but it still stuck a little - yours appears to have come out cleanly. Apricot filling sounds amazing, and I agree that it is a keeper of a recipe!

    Hope you are well, R.

  16. I love the pattern in your bread..the dough is super thin and the swirls are gorgous
    Great job on this months challenge

  17. I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who had some trouble spreading the walnut filling! Both your poviticas are beautifully done, but I especially love and want to taste the almond - apricot!

  18. Bravo! Your povitica looks absolutely wonderful. Great job. I was rushing and I don't think I rolled my dough out thinly enough so didn't get that many layers, but it still tasted realy good.

  19. You know I made this and the croissants and never posted it. Whoops!

    Of course yours looks FABULOUS!



Thank you for taking the time to comment and for letting me know what you think!