Povitica bread (for those not familiar) is an Eastern European nut roll that is traditionally gifted as a symbol of honor and respect. It's also called Potica (Po-TEE-tza) bread or Yugoslavian Christmas bread.
Last Thanksgiving I made perfect Povitica bread. I was so excited to bring it to our table, and to the people I love most. And heck, I was proud of myself. I had accomplished something that was considered challenging, and better left to experienced hands. i.e. Croatian/Slavic matriarchy
This year I have not fared as well. After two failed attempts I felt like throwing in the towel, but I didn't. Irked that a nut roll could make me feel so defeated, I decided then and there that I would specialize in the making of Povitica bread. I would make it my life's pursuit, if I had to make 20 loaves or 200, I would do it! As luck would have it, my next effort was genuinely acceptable. And to my relief, this will free up the rest of my life.
Things get dramatic in my kitchen, especially when bread is involved.
Here's an example of my first failed attempt. I wanted to make the snail shape because it was different from the loaf I made last year. I didn't knead the dough enough, so the gluten did not develop and the dough began breaking apart at the sides.
Move along Babushka, there's nothing to see here.
I made a second attempt at the snail shape, and it failed again in the same way. After much frustration I went back to the loaf pan. And I kneaded the heck out of the dough after the first rise.
The bread machine takes out much of the work in creating the dough. This also cuts down on babysitting the rising of this bread. Just remember to knead well after removing from the machine. Your dough should be elastic, and if you don't break a sweat trying to get it to the 1/8" thickness then you're not doing it right.