Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Baker's October Challenge

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!

Can I just say how excited I was when I saw this challenge?  So very excited!  I love learning about and trying new foods.  And when those new foods are from another culture, I love to read the history of them and learn about how those particular foods play a part in their everyday life.  Before this challenge I had never heard of Povitica, but now I can say that I've not only heard of it but I have enjoyed it as well.

I'm sure a lot of you are thinking to yourselves, "What is povitica, exactly?"  Well here's a brief history.  First of all it is more commonly known as a nut roll. 
" A nut roll is a pastry consisting of a sweet yeast dough (usually using milk) that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste made from ground nuts and a sweetener like honey, then rolled up into a log shape. This 'log' is either left long and straight or is often bent into a horseshoe shape, egg washed, baked, and then sliced crosswise. Nut rolls resemble a jelly roll (Swiss roll) but usually with more layers of dough and filling, and resemble strudels but with fewer and less delicate dough layers. Fillings commonly have as their main ingredient ground walnuts or poppy seeds; see also bethy.

Nut rolls can be found in the United States and in Central European cuisines. In the United States, "nut roll" is a more or less generic name for pastries of this type, no matter where they originate.[1] Nut rolls are known also by many specific regional names, including: potica, gubana, guban'ca, or povitica in Slovenian; orechovník in Slovak; makowiec in Polish; Povitica,Gibanica, Orahnjača in Croatian (walnut variant, Makovnjača for variant with poppy seed, in Croatia can also be made with carob); and kalács and bejgli in Hungarian.

Regional variations on nut rolls are part of weddings, for Easter and Christmas, as well as other celebrations or holidays."
Source: Wikipedia

This challenge appealed to me for so many reasons.  I won't bore you with all of the reasons, but here's a few.  I love trying new recipes!  I love making bread, and lastly I enjoy experimenting with new flavors and fillings.  This challenge allowed me to do all of that!  The traditional fillings for the bread seem to be more sweet; cream cheese, walnut, and apple and cinnamon.  Although I kept with tradition for this challenge I would love to see how this recipe would turn out by using some fillings of the savory nature. 

I was so impressed with this bread.  It tasted delicious, and the appearance of it was almost like a cinnamon roll in loaf form.  I can't wait to try other flavor variations.  And the holidays are coming up, so this would be a perfect option for a gift for a foodie as well as another option for a dessert!



To activate the Yeast:

2 Tsp sugar
1 Tsp all-purpose flour
½ Cup warm water
2 Tbsp dry yeast


2 Cups whole milk
¾ Cup sugar
3 Tsp table salt
4 Large eggs
½ Cup unsalted butter, melted
8 Cups all-purpose flour, measure first then sift, divided

Walnut Filling:

7 Cups ground English walnuts
1 Cup whole milk
1 Cup unsalted butter
2 Whole eggs, beaten
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Cups sugar
1 Tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tsp cinnamon


½ Cup cold STRONG coffee
2 Tbsp sugar
Melted Butter


To Activate Yeast:

In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.

Allow to stand for 5 minutes

To Make the Dough:

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling, 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.

In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup sugar, and the salt until combined.

Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups of flour.

Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: Gradually add the flourI did not use all 8 cups of flour.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds)

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 Filling-

In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.

Heat the milk and butter to boiling.  Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.  If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:

Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.  Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)  Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches in diameter.

Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of melted butter on top.  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.  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.  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.

Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.  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 sliced.  Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.  Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.

Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.  Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.  Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.  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.  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. 

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.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

Great job on your povitica!!

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