October Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Povitica

Blog Checking Lines: 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!

What is Povitica, you ask?  Povitica (pronounced po-­va-­teet-­sa) is an Eastern European dessert bread that is traditionally served during the holiday season. It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia.  A sweet dough is stretched as thin as possible, thin enough to read through, and spread with filling.  The traditional filling for this bread is an English walnut filling, but other typical fillings also include apple/cinnamon, apricot preserves, and sweetened cream cheese.   After spreading with filling, the dough is then rolled up and twisted into a loaf shape and baked.  The finished bread is very dense, a little over a pound when baked.  It’s a moist, rich bread and a small serving is very satisfying.  The bread keeps well for a week at room temperature, though I doubt it will take that long to finish!

Before this challenge, I had never heard of Povitica.  I had seen strudel dough stretched and filled and was eager to try this similar process for the Povitica.  The photos provided with the recipe were so enticing that I couldn’t wait to get started.  I was a little worried about the stretching, but the dough recipe we were given for this challenge produced such a beautiful dough that stretching it proved to be easy and fun to do.  For my first attempt, I made the traditional walnut, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa filling.  The results were delicious!  I will definitely be making this bread again for special occasions.  I also tried a version with a sweetened chocolate cream cheese filling.  The cream cheese filling was also delicious, but the layers don’t show as well.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
Easter European dessert bread. Thinly rolled dough spread with nut filling, rolled and baked.
  • To Activate the Yeast:
  • 1⁄2 Teaspoon (21⁄2 ml/21⁄4 gm) Sugar
  • 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm) All-­Purpose (Plain) Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Warm Water
  • 1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/31⁄2 gm/0.125 oz/1⁄2 sachet) Dry Yeast

  • Dough:
  • 1⁄2 Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/11⁄2 oz) Sugar
  • 3⁄4 Teaspoon (33⁄4 ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tablespoon (30 ml/30 gm/1⁄4 stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb) All-­Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

  • Topping:
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
  • 1 1⁄2 Teaspoons (71⁄2 ml/7 gm/1⁄4 oz) Granulated Sugar Melted Butter

  • Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 3⁄4 Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) finely Ground Walnuts
  • 1⁄4 Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk 1⁄4 Cup (60 ml/58 gm/1⁄2 stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⁄2 Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
  • 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/1 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1⁄4 Teaspoon (11⁄4 ml/3⁄4 gm) Cinnamon
  2. In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast into warm water and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined.
  6. Add the beaten egg, yeast mixture, melted butter, and flour.
  7. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined.
  8. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. This may not require all of the flour. The dough should be smooth and elastic, but still a little tacky.
  9. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, 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.
  11. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
  12. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
  13. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
  14. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  15. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
  16. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.
  18. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
  19. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
  20. 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 (251⁄2 cm by 301⁄2 cm) in diameter.
  21. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 1⁄2 ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
  22. 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. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure it is not sticking.
  23. 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.
  24. Spoon filling evenly over the dough.
  25. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll each side of the dough in two rolls to meet in the middle. Fold the ends up to the middle, flip over and place in a greased bread pan.
  26. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture cold STRONG coffee and sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites 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/180°C/gas mark 4. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  29. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
  30. Check the bread every 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.
  31. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-­30 minutes.
  32. 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.
Bread keeps well at room temperature for up to a week, longer in the refrigerator.


Illustrated Steps:

Make the dough.

Roll dough out roughly to 12 inches in diameter.

Stretch dough as thin as possible.

You should be able to read through the dough.

Spread the filling over the dough.

Roll the dough towards center from each side.

Fold the ends of the rolled dough towards center, turn over and place into greased bread pan.  Brush with coffee and sugar wash.

Bake until done.

Cool, slice and enjoy!

Nut Filled Povitica

Cream Cheese Filled Povitica

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October Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Povitica — 3 Comments

  1. Wonderful job! Your povitica looks great, lovely swirls! You were able to roll the dough really thin!!!

    (My mother in law has those cutting boards! I love them!!)

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