October DB Challenge – 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!

Heyyy.  It’s Hannah here.  I have a new favorite word.  Povitica!October DB Challenge – Povitica

I also have a new favorite way to not study genetics.  Povitica!

It’s a bread.  It’s a coffee cake.  It’s a giant, nutty, less gooey cinnamon roll.  It’s swirly, yeasty, and comforting.  Especially on a Texas fall day…with temps in the 50s!!!  Whoa!  And snow in Amarillo!  (You don’t need to know where that is.  Just oooo, what?  Snow in Texas?)

Anyways.  This bread.  I would be 100% capable of eating just the filling with a spoon for breakfast.  With all those walnuts, it would be a protein, good-fat filled breakfast.  And with all that sugar, so much energy!  I also love the touch of cocoa powder.  It doesn’t make anything taste like chocolate, but it adds a great depth of flavor.  I’m thinking about adding a little to my next batch of cinnamon rolls.  Mmmmm, cinnamon rolls.  Kinda looks like oatmeal right?

The bread part of the bread is just enough to hold all the filling together, but when you get the bits without filling (near the end when you roll it up…you’ll see), it’s plenty tasty enough to stand on its own.

I had to use some last minute improvisation since I lack 2 loaf pans.  I baked one in my loaf pan, and coiled the other up in a 9-inch round cake pan.  Pretty sure they’re going to taste the same amount of awesome.  I wrapped up both loaves tight and stuck them in the freezer to save for Thanksgiving morning when we’re all going crazy in the kitchen.

Time for you to start baking your new favorite breadcakeroll.  Povitica!

Povitica (aka a fabulous Eastern European treat)

Makes 2 loaves (preferably in 9×3 inch loaf pans, but also works in 9-inch round cake pans)

For the dough
1 tsp granulated sugar
4 cups plus 1/2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup warm water, about 110ºF
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk
6 TBS granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup (= 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
4 cups walnuts, finely ground
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
1/4 cup cold strong coffee
1 TBS granulated sugar
melted butter

1. For dough – In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp flour, warm water, and yeast.  Stir to combine.  Let sit until yeast is activated and bubbly, 5-7 minutes.
2. Heat 1 cup milk in a small saucepan, stirring to prevent a skin from forming on top of the milk.  Heat to about 110-120ºF.  Mix the heated milk, 6 TBS sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the activated yeast, 2 beaten eggs, melted butter, and 1 cup flour.  Whisk to combine completely.  Gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour, stirring to combine until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  (You may not need all of the flour, or you may need a little more.  I needed about 2 TBS extra because it was super humid here.)
3. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Divide the dough in half and place each half in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until it’s doubled in size, for about an hour and a half.  Meanwhile…
4. For filling – Stir together the ground walnuts, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup milk and 1 stick butter until just boiling.  Pour over the walnut mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla.  Let cool to room temperature.  If it gets too thick to spread, add a little warm milk.
5. Shape dough – Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.  On a well-floured surface (a large surface…I used my kitchen table), roll out one portion of dough at a time.  Really, you’re just rolling and stretching the dough until it’s super thin, keeping it in a rough rectangle slash square shape.  I honestly didn’t measure mine at all until the very end to give y’all a rough idea.  My dough sheets were about 24×24-inches.  You want them to be thin enough to see the surface through.  Don’t worry if you get a few holes.  It happens.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about baking, it’s that things taste just as good even if they’re holey.

6. When you’ve got the dough sheet rolled out, gently spread half of the filling over the surface, leaving a 1/2 inch border all around.  Roll up the dough tightly, jelly-roll style, rolling up the long side if you have one.  When it’s all rolled up, pinch the seal lightly to seal.  Place the long roll in a U shape in a pan, with both ends hanging out of the end of the loaf pan.

Coil the roll up around itself in the pan.  Repeat with the other portion of dough.

7.  Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position.  Cover both pans with kitchen towels and let rest for 15 minutes.  Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF and continue baking for about 45 minutes, until the loaves are browned on top and fragrant.  Let cool on a wire rack, in the pans, for about 45 minutes.  (If you take them out of the pans too early, they won’t hold their shape.)  Slice and serve!  Loaves will keep, wrapped airtight for 1 week at room temperature or 2 weeks in the fridge.  Loaves will also keep up to 3 months frozen.

Recipe adapted from The Gingered Whisk

Other povitica fillings can also include apricot jam or cream cheese.  Explore the interwebs to find other recipes and ideas!  Can’t until next month’s Daring Bakers Challenge.  Thanks for reading, happy baking!



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