a challenging povitica, for me.

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!

Oh…. and if you don’t have a clue what I’m on about with that first paragraph, then here’s some background info. I joined a site called “The Daring Kitchen“. What it is, is a site for bakers & cooks like Mel & I who keep blogs. What the site does is assign a ‘challenge’ every month, which absolutely must be completed or you get kicked out of the club. You’re only allowed to miss two challenges a year.

Doesn’t sound too hard now does it? Well let me tell you, when I saw the povitica challenge, I was trying to think of any way I could to get out of it. I’m not great at making bread… let alone bread that looks so pretty.

So, two Sunday evenings ago during our cook time, all I had made was extracts & I was not feeling motivated at all to make the povitica. The problem was, I’ve told myself I have to make at least two things ever week & extracts barely counted as one! It was raining, dark & I was feeling particularly grumpy.

After a little verbal encouragement (berating) from Mel, I got my act together & made the damned bread… with little to no enthusiasm whatsoever.

To my complete surprise… it wasn’t as hard as I thought! Even more surprising was the fact that even though I didn’t get it right, I was excited to try it again the next day! I don’t normally react to failure all that well, but this was a failure I was happy to over come, especially since the failure itself tasted so delicious.

Anyway, I’m glad I tried again because the results were amazing. I ended up using a lot more flour in the recipe than the original creator had said would be needed, but that’s not a big deal in all honesty. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the pictures so far…. now time for the recipe.

This recipe makes two loaves.

Ingredients, yeast starter:
– 1tbs active dry yeast
– 1 tsp sugar
– 60ml warm water

Directions, starter:
1. combine ingredients & leave for five minutes until it foams.

Ingredients, bread:
– 240g scalded milk
– 85g sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 55g unsalted butter
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 550g flour (plus a little extra)
– yeast starter (from above)

Directions, bread:
1. once the milk has been scalded, leave to cool down to luke warm before adding the butter, sugar, salt & starter.
2. once the butter has melted, add in the eggs & once incorporated mix it into the flour.
3. If the dough is sticky, incorporate 1 tbs of flour to it at a time.. I’m putting the quantity of flour listed in the original recipe. I ended up adding an additional 100g of flour, but this will vary depending upon the brand of flour, the humidity in the air & other ingredients.
4. divide the dough in two & place each dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling-film & allow to rise for 2 hours.

Ingredients, filling:
– 500g hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
– 120ml milk, scalded
– 110g butter, melted
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 225g sugar
– 2 tbs cacao

Directions, filling:
1. combine all the ingredients, mix well & set aside.

Directions, assembling:
1. roll out a length of baking parchment that is three times the length of the bread pan.
2. lightly dust the parchment before placing the dough on it. Using a dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough to the length & width of the parchment sheet.
3. spread the filling out evenly across the dough.
4. lift up one edge of the sheet (lengthwise) and fold over about 2 inches of the dough onto itself just along the edge. Continue to lift up the parchment as the dough will begin to roll.
5. once the dough is in a long rolled sheet, carefully place it inside the greased bread-pan wrapping it around.
6. pre-heat the oven to 180°C & bake for 12 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150°C & continue to bake for another 45 minutes.
7. brush with egg-whites & then sprinkle with sugar.
8. this will be a heavy loaf of bread so allow it to cool before cutting into it.

This challenge originally called for walnuts instead of hazelnuts. Aside from walnuts in carrot cake or occasionally in a salad, I can’t stand them as a general rule. So, I took it upon myself to make the switch to another nut, & since it was hazelnuts I decided to up the cocoa content. If you want to make the recipe as it should be, use the same quantity of walnuts as I did hazelnuts & half the cocoa.

…for more recipes from us, check out our archives.


2 thoughts on “a challenging povitica, for me.

  1. Great job on your povitica, it looks great! Your swirls turned out really nice. The addition of the extra cocoa gave it a really nice pop! And welcome to the Daring Bakers!

    • Thank you so much for the challenge Jenni, it was a ton of fun to recreate. I think I’ll be revisiting the recipe over christmas to give as gifts, maybe experiment with some fun alternatives.

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