Thursday, October 27, 2011


I skipped the last Daring Baker's challenge, because it was croissants from scratch. There was no way I was making that without losing my mind. So I didn't make croissants. I felt guilty not making September's recipe, but on the other hand wasn't very sorry, because it was my first challenge after being back at work, and I was still adjusting to my new life. It's pretty hectic, and weekends are kinda sacred. Not much time for marathon baking sessions.

So this month, I had every intention of participating. 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 was a tiny bit disappointed with the challenge being bread, again, but I though playing around with the filling would be fun. I had fully intended to fill one of the loaves with leftover hazelnut praline, but I didn't have enough, so decided on a cinnamon, brown sugar and cocoa filling for one, and s'mores filling for the other.

Makes two loaves

To activate the Yeast:
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/4 ½ gm) Sugar
½ Teaspoon (2½ ml/1½ gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
¼ Cup (60 ml) Warm Water
1 Tablespoon (15 ml/7 gm/¼ oz/1 sachet) Dry Yeast

1 Cup (240 ml) Whole Milk
6 Tablespoons (90 ml/85 gm/3 oz) Sugar
1½ Teaspoons (7½ ml/9 gm/1/3 oz) Table Salt
2 Large Eggs
¼ Cup (60 ml/60 gm/½ stick/2 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
4 cups (960 ml/560 gm/19¾ oz/1¼ lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

Brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa
Marshmallow fluff, cocoa, graham crumbs

beaten egg white
Melted Butter

To Activate the Yeast:
In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast into the 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, the sugar, and the salt until combined.
Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1 cup (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.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
Place dough in 2 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.

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 (5ml 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 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 couple of beaten egg whites.
Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

To Bake the Dough
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.
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.
Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
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.

Although not surprised, I was kinda disappointed with the final result of my bread. It was a bit too dry for my taste, but I might try toasting and buttering it for breakfast. To be fair, I think I messed up the amount of flour I was supposed to add to the dough. I found it behaved weirdly. Took forever to double in size, and by the time it had, I had to stuck it in the fridge because I didn't have time to finish the recipe then. It stayed in the fridge overnight and the next day. I brought it back to room temperature before rolling out, not as thinly as I was supposed to because I'm not a very patient baker. I forgot to butter the dough at that point, and made up the filling as I went.

I didn't get very much rise while the bread was baking, but it was done in an hour, like the recipe said. I left it to cool in the pan over night and the next day, without covering it, so maybe that had something to do with the dryness too?

In any case, although not my favorite thing to bake, I have to admit that it was pretty cool cutting into the loaf and seeing the pretty swirls!

Can't wait to see what next month's challenge will be, and see if I'm able to find time to enjoy making it!


  1. You made a s'mores povitica (swirly bread - LOL!)? Can I come live with you? Oh. My. Gosh. I am so making that. Like... this weekend. Yeah, every other comment left my head and all I can think is s'mores povitica. Wow.

  2. Looks Delicious!! great job on the challenge!

  3. I was also initially a teensy bit disappointed to see bread as the challenge again, but I got over it pretty quickly ;) LOVE the s'mores filling - what a great fusion of "old world" and "new world" foods! And your swirls look great :)

  4. What lovely flavour combinations! Like the other comments have said, SMORES?! yummmy!

  5. S'mores! that is brilliant!
    in one word YUM!

  6. In Romania, this type of bread its' called "cozonac" and it's prepared especially for holidays like Easter and Christmas, and with much more sugar. Where does the name "povitica" come from?

  7. I love the design, you got 6 swirls in a single slice! Amazing!

  8. This is one really 'cool looking' bread :)

  9. Beautiful job on your povitica! The S'mores filling sounds awesome!! I'm sorry it behaved weird for you and got a little dry. Hopefully next time will be better!

  10. Looks yummy. Amazing bread.

  11. they look great- sorry they turned out a little dry for you; maybe less flour next time? This is one recipe you should try again!

  12. That's a shame you thought it was dry, but it looks fantastic! I ran out of yeast so let's hope the next few challenges don't focus around bread!

  13. I too went back to work last month for the first time in 5 years and I am also feeling the pinch of keeping weekends protected. It's amazing how much time goes into baking something new. Your swirls look great, sorry about it being so dry. Nice job on the challenge!

  14. I missed this challenge! I wish I could have participated because your bread looks just amazing! It doesn't look dry at all! But to me...toast up a slice with a bit of butter and a cup of tea and I am in heaven! You did a great job with this!

  15. I love the swirls in your bread! It's a shame it was dry because it looks brilliant!

  16. WOW, your 'swirlies' are perfect and you got so many of them! You know what? When you bake or cook angry or sad, it translates into the final result - hence why I had so many problems and no swirls. I think I should meditate or do yoga before baking next time I'm out of sorts (think I will add this to my post lol)! That said, outside of your beautiful povitica aesthetically, I love the filling. However, that hazelnut praline filling idea you ended up skipping, is one I would love to try :)

  17. I love the addition of the smores and great photos.


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