Good Looking and Tasty all in the same package…

I have been slacking big time in the past few weeks. I have missed a few daring bakers challenges and a few daring cooks challenges but I am going to get back on track with the October Daring Bakers challenge.

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 bread definitely looked really lovely in the pictures I saw of it and I was really hoping that mine turns out good looking too. And yes I have gotten over my fear of baking bread specially the ones with yeast. I am much more comfortable now with the whole process and the daring baker’s are the main reason for it. So thanks Jenni for a beautiful and tasty ‘POVITICA’. So here’s the recipe. It makes one loaf and below are the storage instructions.

There are several options for storing (and eating) your four loaves of Povitica:

  • The Povitica will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature.
  • The Povitica will keep fresh for 2 weeks if refrigerated.
  • The Povitica can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper followed by a layer of aluminum foil.
Preparation time:

To make Dough: 40 minutes
Rising: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Rolling and Assembly: 20 minutes
Baking: 1 hour
Cooling: 30 minutes
To Make the Filling: 15 minutes, including the grinding of the nuts

To activate the Yeast:
  1. ½ Teaspoon (2½ ml/2¼ gm) Sugar
  2. ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
  3. 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Warm Water
  4. 1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/3½ gm/0.125 oz/½ sachet) Dry Yeast

Dough:
  1. ½ Cup (120 ml) Whole Milk
  2. 3 Tablespoons (45 ml/43 gm/1½ oz) Sugar
  3. ¾ Teaspoon (3¾ ml/9 gm/0.17 oz) Table Salt
  4. 1 Large Egg
  5. 1 tablespoon (30 ml/30 gm/¼ stick/1 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
  6. 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz/0.62 lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided
Topping:
  1. 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Cold STRONG Coffee
  2. 1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/7 gm/¼ oz) Granulated Sugar
  3. Melted Butter
Filling Ingredients:
  1. 1¾ Cups (420 ml/280 gm/10 oz) Ground English Walnuts
  2. ¼ Cup (60 ml) Whole Milk
  3. ¼ Cup (60 ml/58 gm/½ stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter
  4. 1 Egg Yolk From A Large Egg, Beaten
  5. ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
  6. ½ Cup (120 ml/115 gm/4 oz) Sugar
  7. ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/1 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  8. ¼ Teaspoon (1¼ ml/¾ gm) Cinnamon

Directions:
To Activate Yeast:
  • In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes
To Make the Dough:
  • 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.
  • In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
  • Add the beaten egg, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.
  • Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 2 cups of flour
  • 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.
To Make the Filling:
  • In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
  • Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
  • Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  • Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
  • If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk
To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
  • Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
  • Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
  • 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.
  • Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5 ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
  • 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 that it isn’t sticking.
  • 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.
  • Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.
  • Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.
  • 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.
  • Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan
  • Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of 2 tbsp of cold STRONG coffee and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.
  • Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
  • 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.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.
  • 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.

My entire apartment was filled with the awesome fragrance of this bread in about 15 mins of it baking in the oven. And I was dying of hunger within the first 5 minutes of smelling it. It looked beautiful when I took it out of the oven and it took a few minutes less than the one hour of baking time. So make sure that you keep checking to see if the bread is done. I also used the aluminium foil after about 40 minutes of baking as the top had already turned a nice golden brown. Now that I have eaten the bread, I wish I had made more than just one loaf. It’s absolutely delicious and I am pretty sure we are going to finish it by the end of the day, tomorrow.

And this bread is in celebration of my friend Laukik having finished his first full marathon in Washington DC, this morning. Congratulations kiks… :) Of course it also celebrates Halloween tomorrow (hopefully I will have some of this bread leftover for tomorrow). Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Shilpa

    • shilpamshinde says:

      Thanks to the wonderful instructions…. :) Thanks jenni, I loved the whole process of making it. It was really easy to make and the end result is brilliant…. Looks and tastes awesome!!!

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