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!

I had never heard of povitica before this challenge. Then, when I read the recipe, I was convinced I would never be able to make it. Stretching the dough out that thin? No way, no how. But, truth be told, this loaf was a breeze to make. Not to mention it was gone within two days. That’s pretty good at my house.

Don’t be surprised if you see povitica pop up around here again sometime soon. I’ll admit, walnuts aren’t really my thing. While this loaf was good by my standards, I can only imagine how awesome it would be with a fruit or cream cheese filling.


Makes 1 loaf (this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to make however many loaves you want)

To activate the yeast:
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. warm water
1 ½ tsp. active-dry yeast (1/2 packet)
For the dough:
½ c. milk
3 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. table salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted and divided
For the filling:
1 ¾ c. ground walnuts, about 10 oz.
½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ c. milk
¼ c. unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the topping:
2 tbsp. cold strong coffee
1 ½ tsp. sugar
Melted butter

To activate the yeast:
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and yeast. Add warm water and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.

To make the dough:
Add milk to small saucepan set over medium high heat. Heat milk, stirring constantly, to just below boiling. Remove from heat and let cool until it is about 110 °F.

In a large bowl, mix together the cooled milk, sugar, and salt. Add egg, melted butter, yeast mixture, and ½ c. flour. Mix thoroughly and continue adding flour slowly until dough starts to pull away from the edges of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead, adding flour as needed (you may not need to use all 2 cups), until a nice smooth ball is formed. Place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough around a bit so it is covered with oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and then place a kitchen towel over the top. Let rise in a warm place for about 1-½ hours, until doubled.

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, combine ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan, add milk and butter. Heat until mixture is boiling. Add to bowl with walnuts along with egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. Set aside until ready to use. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of milk if the mixture gets too thick.

To assemble the roll:
Spread a clean sheet over a large work surface, preferably a kitchen island or a large table. Lightly sprinkle with flour (but, use as little flour as possible). Turn out dough onto the towel. Roll out, working from the middle outwards, until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter.

Brush melted butter over the top of the dough. Continue rolling out, or stretching the dough out (use the tops of your hands and gently work the dough outwards), until the dough is extremely thin and opaque. Make sure the dough isn’t sticking as you work with it by occasionally lifting it up a bit. The dough should be so thin that you should be able to see your fabric through it.

Spread filling evenly over the top of the dough. Gently lift up the edges of the cloth to roll the dough up like a jelly roll (or just use your hands instead of the cloth).

Gently transfer the dough to a lightly oiled loaf pan. Place it in a U-shape in the pan and coil it around itself .

Mix coffee with sugar and brush over the top of the loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Remove plastic wrap from dough and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 °F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes, until cooked through (if bread starts to get too browned on top, tent with foil).

Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack. Brush with melted butter. Cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes before removing.


3 thoughts on “povitica

  1. Jenni

    Wonderful job! Your povitica turned out great! It does seem to disappear really fast, though, doesn’t it? And you are right, there are SO many things you can use for fillings! You did a really good job!


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