Povitica ( pronounced as Po-va-teet-za) is nothing but a sweet bread with a nut filling. A dough made with flour and yeast. It is then rolled and stretched out as thin as possible. The walnut filling is spread, its rolled and then baked in a bread loaf pan.It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi or Strudia. Its traditionally served during holiday season.

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!

The original recipe given was for four loaves and that was a lot for the two of us at home. So I used up the quarter batch ingredients and baked just one loaf.

POVITICA

Quarter Batch Dough Ingredients (Makes one loaf)

To activate the Yeast:
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1½ Teaspoons Dry Yeast

Dough:
½ Cup Whole Milk ( I used 2% milk)
3 Tablespoons Sugar
¾ Teaspoon Table Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided ( I actually needed 2.5 cups of Flour)

Topping:
2 Tablespoons Cold STRONG Coffee
1½ Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

or Egg White wash

Quarter Batch Filling Ingredients (enough filling for one loaf)
1¾ Cups Ground English Walnuts
¼ Cup Whole Milk ( I used 2% milk only)
¼ Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
¼ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

To Activate Yeast:

1. In a small bowl, stir sugar,flour, and the yeast into 2 tbsp warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Make the Dough:
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1/4 cup of flour.
6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.
7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I actually used 2.5 cups of flour.
8. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

Make the Filling
10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk

To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.
19. Spoon a teaspoon of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.
23. Spoon filling evenly over dough until covered
24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll
25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.
26.  Brush the top of  the loaf with a mixture of 1/8 cup of cold STRONG coffee and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. I actually used egg white in place of this.
27. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
28. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F
29. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
30. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
31. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
32. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
33. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan.
34. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.

Thanks Jenni for a great challenge!

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