Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Bakers - October 2011 - Povitica!!!

I have been so lost lately. Its been a long time since I actually did something productive (except at work mind you) and after skipping so many daring bakers challenges I really wanted to get up and do something. So that is exactly what I did the moment I saw the challenge go up on the first of the month. Yup, that's right, I was one of the first ones to complete the challenge (after Audax of course) and I had a great time making this.

Povitica (pronounced po-va-teet-sa) is traditional Eastern European dessert bread that is traditionally served during the holiday season. This was really a big challenge for me as it was a completely new type of bread and the dough was sooo tough to work with. The problem was that  the gluten was not rested enough and so the dough was not stretching out. Wish I had known that before I started making it! Anyways, I did get good results and had an amazing loaf of sweet bread, The filling is fantastic. I actually ate toasted slices of the bread for breakfast each day! Yum! I would definitely make this again and even try savoury fillings as some of the other daring bakers.

The recipe is a long one with at least 30 steps but it is not difficult. The only challenging part is rolling out the dough which should not be a problem if your dough is rested. I made only a quarter of the recipe and this is enough for one loaf.

Blog-checking lines: 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!

Recipe here...
Recipe (Scaled recipe, for full recipe check The Daring Kitchen)

Quarter Batch Dough Ingredients (Makes one loaf 1.25 lbs/565 grams)

To Activate the Yeast
1/2 Tsp (2½ ml/2¼ gm) Sugar
1/4 Tsp (1¼ ml/¾ gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Warm Water
1 1/2 Tsp (7½ ml/3½ gm/0.125 oz/½ sachet) Dry Yeast
For The Dough1/2 Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
3 Tbsp (45 ml/43 gm/1½ oz) Sugar
3/4 Tsp (3¾ ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
1 Large Egg
1 Tbsp (30 ml/30 gm/¼ stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
2 Cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided
For The Topping
2 Tbsp (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
1 1/2 Tsp (7½ ml/7 gm/¼ oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter
For The Filling 
1 3/4 Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
1/4 Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
1/4 Cup (60 ml/58 gm/½ stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
1/4 Tsp (1¼ ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
1/4 Tsp (1¼ ml/1 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I didn't have any, so I omitted this)
1/4 Tsp (1¼ ml/¾ gm) Cinnamon

Activate The Yeast
1. In a small bowl, stir 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into 2 Tablespoons of warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Make the Dough
1. 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.
2. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar and salt until combined.
3. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1/4 cup of flour.
4. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.
5. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. (I had to add a little more flour so that the dough would not stick)
6. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, covering 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.

Make the Filling
1. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
2. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
3. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
5. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
6. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.

Roll and Assemble the Dough
1. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered. (I used parchment paper, I guess a cloth would be better)
2. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
3. 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 (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.
4. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. When you think 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.
8. Spoon filling evenly over dough until covered. ( I didn't have enough filling to cover the entire dough, but once rolled it does cover it)
9. Lift the edge of the cloth gently and roll the dough like a jelly roll.
10. 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.
11. Brush the top of the loaf with a mixture of the cold STRONG coffee and sugar.
12.Cover lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
13. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
14. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
15. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done. (Check the bread every 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.)
16. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
17. Cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. (Do not remove the bread from the pan till it is cooled.)
18. 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.

Happy Eating!!


  1. Great job on your povitica! Yes, the dough can be a bit tricky to roll out if it isn't rested enough, and really gives you a nice arm workout, huh? But you still managed to get some lovely swirls!

  2. Looks a walnutty crumb cake! I'm sure those you shared it with loved it, too.


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