Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Povitica

For this month's Daring Bakers we made Povitica. You might have never heard of this before, at least I haven't. It's origin is from Eastern Europe and it is basically a yeast bread with a nut filling. It becomes its nice pattern from rolling and layering the dough with its filling. I made the suggested recipe provided, just changed the dry yeast to fresh yeast, since I like to use fresh yeast a lot better. The bread tasted really good, not to sweet, and moist enough that you didn't even have to spread anything on top.

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!

(Makes one loaf 1.25 lbs/565 grams)

To activate the Yeast:
½ tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. flour
2 tbsp. warm water
20 g fresh yeast (or 1½ tsp. dry yeast)

120 ml milk
45 g sugar
½ tsp.salt
1 egg
30 g butter, melted
300 g flour

2 tbsp. cold STRONG coffee
1½ tsp. sugar
Melted Butter

280 g ground walnuts
60 ml milk
60 g butter
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
100 g sugar
¼ tsp. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon

Activate Yeast:
In a small bowl, stir the sugar, flour, and the yeast into the warm water and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Make the Dough:
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling, 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.

In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and half of the 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. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

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 eggs 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.

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. 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.

Spread with some melted butter. 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 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 mixture of cold STRONG coffee and 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. 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 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.

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 from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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