Saturday, April 20, 2013

Povitica Bread

Povitica – Eastern European Dessert Bread

Pronounced as “Po-va-teet-sa” this sweet bread is often made for special occasions and holidays.  I saw this recipe quite some time ago and have wanted to try making it sometime. Today is another blustery day with below zero temperatures and snow!!!  The perfect kind of Saturday to do some yeast baking and this was my challenge for today. Sometimes I think I could quit work just so I could stay home and play with yeast dough. Wouldn't that be fun?!

Anyway, this recipe was quite challenging and I can see where you need to make it often to really get the hang of it – I didn’t get the dough stretched enough and that probably takes some practice to get it just right.  Also it could have been rolled up more tightly!

Here is the recipe for one loaf.

Dough starter:
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 ½ tsp. dry yeast
Gently stir together in a small bowl – cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes till bubbly.

In mixer bowl stir together:
½ Cup hot milk (I heated mine in the microwave) – cooled slightly
1 Tbsp. butter – melted in the hot milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1 whole egg – beaten with a fork
½ vanilla bean scraped – I stirred this into the hot milk
Yeast mixture
2 Cups all-purpose flour – mix in with dough hook ¼ Cup at a time till it comes together. Knead till smooth and doesn’t stick.

Put dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm T-towel. Let rise till double (approx. 1 ½ hours).

While the dough is rising prepare the filling.
1 ¾ Cup ground walnuts
¼ Cup milk - heated
¼ Cup unsalted butter (I used salted butter)
1 Egg yolk  - beaten with a fork (save the egg white for glaze)
½ vanilla bean – scraped
½ Cup sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
Mix the nuts, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Heat the milk and butter.  Add the sugar and vanilla bean scrapings.  Cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolk.  Pour liquid over the nuts, sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly and set aside.

1 Egg white – whisked with a fork or sometimes 1/3 Cup of strong coffee is used
1 ½ tsp. sugar to sprinkle on top of loaf.

1 Tbsp. melted butter to brush on stretched dough.

When dough has risen turn it onto a lightly floured large tea towel or bed sheet.  With a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangle shape and as thin as possible. Brush on the melted Tbsp. of butter and continue to stretch till the dough is paper thin.

Now spread the walnut mixture filling on to the stretched dough, being careful not to tear the dough (I used my fingers to spread the mixture). If the mixture is too dry to spread, add a bit more warm milk.

Roll the dough from the long side into a long “sausage shape”.  Gently lift it up and place into a greased loaf pan in a “U” shape, folding the ends into the center – this makes the swirly effect.  Brush the glaze onto the loaf and sprinkle with sugar.  Cover with plastic wrap and a warm T-towel again and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake loaf at 350F for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 300F and bake for another 30-40 minutes.  If loaf starts to get too dark, cover with foil for the last minutes of baking.

Let loaf rest in the pan for 30 minutes before removing.

It's not perfect but tastes delicious.

This loaf is enjoyed as a dessert bread and left overs are delicious made into French Toast!

I would like to experiment with using different fillings as well (i.e. raspberry sauce and coconut, or savoury fillings such as tomato and pesto and pinenuts, etc.).  

Till next time ...... still hoping that Spring arrives soon and that the daffodils open their little heads.


  1. That looks very yummy - but complicated. You are an adventurous baker! I can just shine how good it must smell.

  2. Looks delicious. My mom has made something similar for years that I'm trying to perfect with a real recipe. It has a ground walnut filling but is just rolled not twisted in the pan. You really worked hard today on your blustery day...

  3. That looks yummy...looks like some interesting twists...and it reminds me of something associated with agriculture. I will keep you smiling on that one.

  4. It dipped to freezing overnight, but no snow! Sorry that it is still part of your spring story. Your bread looks so delicious and pretty with all the swirls and folds. I know myself too well to play with bread recipes. It never ends well for me because I love bread way too much. Here's to a warmer week!

  5. Ah Spring, can't wait.

    I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high or vale and hill, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils, beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Blame it on my Ancestor.

  6. I made this once...I think it was for a Daring Bakers' challenge. Yours looks just perfect! And I love the idea of using extras for French toast :) We saw flurries on Friday...bring on spring!!!!

  7. Magnificent! I can imagine the smell and the taste.

  8. Oh, that looks so good, Rosella! I love breads!

  9. Now that looks so scrumptious. I would have to agree with Anneliese, I love bread. This is a new and interesting recipe. How nice it would be to sit at your table with a warm cup of coffee, a slice of this bread, and getting to know one another :)

    1. Aww yes Charlotte - I would love for you to sit at my humble table!! I am still kicking myself that I missed meeting you when you were in Waterloo a couple of years ago - not only here but right here on campus where I work!!! Hopefully some day.....


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