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
Your bread looks beautiful(artistic!) and sounds delicious! Kudos to you for sticking with it and reaping the reward! 🙂
I really enjoyed this bread, is one we can have each morning in our table, I am so amazingly surprised with this recipe, and I know everybody at home will love it.
Wow just discovered this, and it looks truly unbelievable! I really admire your baking spirit 🙂 Don't let the dough get you down!
I just discovered your blog and I love it! I'm so glad that you made potica! My family has made this for generations. My husband grew up with a similar version but they always called it nut roll – we have a friendly argument going over the name. (Although I'm sure potica probably means nut roll.) Anyway, thanks for blogging!
I am from Slovenia where potica is considered as a national dish. The name probably comes from the word poviti which means to roll. The name does not involve the word nut, because you can make potica with many different fillings like for example it is realy good with tarragon filling. You can also make it not as a desert with for example cracklings (I hope this is a good translation, it should mean little pieces of fried pork). My mom makes a realy good one with coconut and chocolate. It is considered that you need experience to make a… Read more »
Je viens de découvrir votre blog et je l'aime! Je suis tellement contente que vous avez fait potica! Ma famille en a fait depuis des générations. Mon mari a grandi avec une version similaire mais ils ont toujours appelé écrou roll – nous avons un débat amical va sur le nom. (Même si je suis sûr que potica signifie probablement roll écrou.) Quoi qu'il en soit, merci pour les blogs!
i'm from croatia and we have same thing here…
and i love it!
what my mom used to do she would put some chocolate with nuts and couple of drops of rum and it's even better… 😀
we make this bread with poppy seeds as well and it's absolutely delicious!
I don't have a bread maker just a kitchen aid mixer is it possible to make this with just the mixer.
Hello there! 🙂
Potica is absolutely yummie yummie. 🙂 I would like to agree that it's common for Eastern Europe but actually it is traditional Sloevenian dessert or pastry (it's protected or patterned). As my Croatian neighbour said it can be also filled with popy seeds or you can add some raisins in walnut potica as well.
Ps: Dober tek (in Slovene) and best regards from Slovenia!
Oh my gosh I cannot believe I just found this recipe!! You have made my day it looks just like the potica my grandma made! She was Yugoslavian and I would beg her to make it for me every time I saw her. I have not had this in about fifteen years since she passed away… I am definitely going to need to make this!
This looks spectacular… some of us are too pathetically dirt poor to buy a bread machine, though. Do you think it would come out right if done by hand?
Actually, nevermind. I'm just going to try it. Will post another comment after I see how it goes… 😛
Thank you thank you for sharing this. I have not had potica bread since I was a kid. My Mom bought it home from the hospital (she was a nurse) and I have loved it ever since but could not find the true potica. Will try this recipe. Thks again.