daily meal

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Povitica

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 have to admit, I was somewhat nervous going into this challenge because it was my first ever Daring Baker's challenge!! When I first saw the recipe I thought to myself, "great, the month I decide to join is when they have something I have never even heard of!" However, when I saw the photos and the recipe it sounded so delicious looked so interesting, I knew I had to give it a go! And let me tell you, I am so glad that I did - so thank you Jenni for choosing this recipe!

There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but it really is not that difficult to make and it is well worth the effort! There are a few different fillings that are common for the Povitica - apple/cinnamon, apricot preserves, and a sweet cheese - but I wanted to try the traditional English Walnut filling first since I had never had Povitica before.  And let me tell you, it was heaven! I definitely suggest trying this original recipe first before getting creative with other flavors and fillings.


Ingredients (Makes one loaf. See below for original recipe that makes 4 loaves)

To activate the yeast:
-1/2 teaspoon sugar
-1/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
-2 tablespoons warm water
-1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

-1/2 cup whole milk
-3 tablespoons sugar
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1 large egg, beaten
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
-2 cups all-purpose flour, measured and then sifted

-1 3/4 cup ground English Walnuts
-1/4 cup whole milk
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-1 large egg yolk, beaten
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

-2 tablespoons cold, strong, coffee
-1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
-Unsalted butter, melted

First, activate the yeast.  In a small bowl, stir the sugar, flour, yeast and warm water.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. 

For the dough, in a medium saucepan scald the milk making sure to stir constantly.  In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and salt until combined. Whisk in the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and flour (add the flour a little at a time because you may need more or you may need less). 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks. 

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and then place a kitchen towel on top.  Set aside in a warm place and let the dough rise for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Heat the milk and butter until boiling.  While the milk and butter heats up, in a large bowl, mix together the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa.  Once the milk and butter mixture has come to a boil, pour it over the nut and sugar mixture.  Stirring constantly, add in the eggs and vanilla. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to use.  If it thickens up too much when you go to use it, you can add a small amount of warm milk to loosen it up again (I let the mixture stand for almost an hour though and it was fine).

Once the dough is ready, make sure to have a clean surface or sheet or cloth to work on.  Since I did not have a sheet or cloth to use I just wiped down my counter thoroughly and sprinkled it with flour.  Place the dough on the floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin, adding flour as needed.  Roll the dough out until it is very thin and measures 10-12 inches in diameter.  Try to make it more rectangular shaped.  Lightly brush a little melted butter on top of the dough and continue rolling the dough out until it starts to become somewhat transparent. As you work, make sure to continually pick up your dough around the edges to help it stretch out and to make sure that it is not sticking to the counter.

Spoon the walnut filling evenly over the dough until covered.  Very carefully, lift the edge of the dough (if using a cloth you can lift the cloth to help you lift up your dough) and gently roll it like you would a jellyroll.

Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it 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 so as to give it its characteristic shape when sliced.

(These pictures are courtesy of Jenni, because my dough was actually not long enough so I did not like how the photos came out.  These ones give a much better picture of how to place the dough into the pan)

For the topping, mix together the coffee and sugar (if you do not want this then you can just use an egg wash).  Brush the top of the loaf with the coffee and sugar mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

When ready, remove the plastic wrap and place the loaf pan in the oven.  Cook for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, lightly brush the top of the loaf with a little more butter (you do not have to if you prefer not to), and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Cook for 45 minutes at this temperature, but make sure to check it after 30 minutes.  If the top of the loaf begins to brown too soon you can cover it with tin foil.

Once ready, remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.  Make sure to leave the loaf in the pan during this time so that the loaf can hold its shape.  You can remove the loaf from the pan once it has completely cooled to room temperature.  It is recommended that you turn the loaf upside down and slice it with a serrated knife, but I did not have any issues when slicing it right side up.

Since this was my first time ever having this I was unsure of what to expect, but HOLY CRAP! I am definitely going to be making this again soon for the upcoming holiday season.  It reminded me of a breakfast pastry but also of an after dinner treat.  It really can be enjoyed during any time of the day, but I loved sitting back and devouring a slice with my cup of coffee!


There are several options for storing (and eating) your four loaves of Povitica:

• The Povitica will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature.

• The Povitica will keep fresh for 2 weeks if refrigerated.

• The Povitica can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil. It is recommended to not freeze Povitica with cream cheese fillings as it doesn’t hold up to being thawed really well – it crumbles.

Ingredients for 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

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  1. Welcome to the Daring Kitchen! It's so much fun isn't it :) Fantastic effort and the swirls look great!

  2. Oooh, I love povitica! Haven't had in ages (since I moved to the U.S. from Germany and left Polish friends behind), but it's just so delicious. It looks amazing, you definitely rocked the challenge!

  3. This is beautiful...This is definitely daring, I haven't tried to bake it but you did a wonderful job, yum!

  4. I'm SO glad you've joined us! Your povitica is gorgeous...and wasn't it delish????

  5. You did such a great job on this-yum! Of course my favorite part is that big lump of filling in the bottom center. You were definitely up for this challenge, it is stunning and no doubt delicious!

  6. First off, welcome to the Daring Bakers!!! You did an awesome job. I agree, I didnt know what to expect, but it was awesome. I will be making this again in the very near future

  7. What an awesome looking bread/Povitica! I love the layers and folds in the bread. Congrats on the challenge!

  8. nicely done! I haven't been to a baker's challenge.. but sure think yours look great!

  9. This is one MIGHTY impressive bread! :D

  10. Fantastic job! Your povitica looks perfect - thin dough and great swirls! Welcome to the Daring Bakers! (And for the record, even people who have been doing the DB for a while still freak out when the challenge is announced!)

  11. I like the inside look of this "bread". And I can imagine how great it may taste.

  12. This looks so pretty and I bet it tastes even better! Great job!

  13. Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! Great job on your first challenge. Best, Sandie

  14. Nice and a great outcome going through the challenge and I like that walnuts and cinnamon in it.

  15. This is really pretty! I've been wanting to do a daring baker's challenge, but haven't had a chance yet. Nice job!

  16. Beautiful! I think pretty food tastes better :)

    Well done on your first bakers challenge! Buzzed

  17. I so admire the bakers who made this--it looks complicated but delicious!

  18. I give you props for making this! Looks like it takes some patience, but yours came out beautifully!

  19. Welcome to the Daring Kitchen!Stunning job on your first challenge!!I love it!

  20. This looks wonderful! My mom makes the same thing, just a few changes here and there since we are Romanian and my mom learned it a bit differently. But I love this bread, it's perfect for the holiday season! :)

  21. Your bread turned out amazing! I am so sorry I missed this challenge. But you did a great job...this looks delish!

  22. I am super curious about the "daring kitchen"! This bread is so wonderful to look at and I would pay good money to bring this loaf home. Now....I nee to try the recipe! Thank you!!

  23. Amazing! Looks too lovely to eat. But really, of course I'd eat a huge serving.

  24. November will be my first month as a Daring Baker & Daring Cook. I cannot wait to start. This looks soooo good!!

  25. Your yummy bread reminds me of a local one, which I love. You make it sounds like it wouldn't be so hard for a novice baker to try it. I might just give it a go. Looks perfect, great job :)

    Thanks for participating in the YBR!

  26. I make this!! My mom used to make this every Easter and Christmas but it got to be too much for her. I love it so, that a few years ago she taught me and I've been making it ever since. I plan on a whole day and I make sure my husband is home so he can help me. It's almost that time of year again :)