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.
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.
Povitica (Potica) Bread
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups ground walnuts or pecans
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine melted
- Place ingredients in your bread machine in the following order:
- Milk, egg, butter, flour, sugar, salt, yeast.
- Set machine to dough cycle.
- Make filling. Grind the pecans as fine as possible in a food processor.
- In mixing bowl combine the nuts, beaten egg, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and melted butter. Stir with mixer on low setting until well mixed. Set filling aside.
- Remove dough to a large lightly floured surface when complete. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3-4 portions. Roll each to a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch.
- Spread the dough evenly with the nut filling within ½ inch of the edges of the dough. Roll each piece, jellyroll style, and crimp the ends when finished.
- Place two loaves in the bottom of a loaf pan, and one or two more rolls on top. Cover and let rise till nearly double, 30-45 mins.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove dough to a large lightly floured surface when
- complete. Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3-4 portions.
- Roll each to a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch.
- Spread the dough evenly with the nut filling within ½ inch of the
- edges of the dough. Roll each piece, jellyroll style, and crimp the
- ends when finished.
- Place two loaves in the bottom of a loaf pan, and one or two
- more rolls on top. Cover and let rise till nearly double, 30-45
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and bake for 30-35 minutes