Thursday, October 27, 2011


IMG_6758_poviticaI have never have povitica before and was very excited to try it.  In my mind, I was envisioning something like a bread version of baklava.  Although the final result looked nothing like the some of the beautiful pictures of povitica I saw on the web, it quickly became a family favorite.  Thank you, Jenni, for a great 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!

For 1 loaf of povitica: 

To activate the Yeast:

 ½ Teaspoon (2½ ml/2¼ gm) Sugar
 ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Warm Water
 1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/3½ gm/0.125 oz/½ sachet) Dry Yeast


 ½ Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
 3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/1½ oz) Sugar
 ¾ Teaspoon (3¾ ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
 1 Large Egg
 1 tablespoon (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


 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
 1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/7 gm/¼ oz) Granulated Sugar
 Melted Butter

Filling Ingredients (enough filling for one loaf)

 1¾ Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
 ¼ Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
 ¼ Cup (60 ml/58 gm/½ stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
 1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
 ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
 ½ Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
 ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/1 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
 ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) Cinnamon


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. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour
 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 Filling

 10. 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. Allw 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)
 18. 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.
 19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
 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 sliced.
 26. 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.


  1. Great job on your povitica, it looks great! You made some very lovely swirls!

    (I also love that two posts down is my cassoulet!)

  2. Our loaf got finished pretty fast! Everyone liked it that much :). Yours look really great. Beautiful swirls.