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!
This was my very first Daring Bakers Challenge. It’s a great way to challenge myself and try recipes I might not have tried before, like this Povitica! I still can’t pronounce it, but I did read it is very similar to a Babka. My only experience with Babka is the Seinfeld episode, one of my favorites. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. “Cinnamon takes a backseat to no Babka!”
I was of course thrilled that the first challenge for me was a yeast recipe, since I bake bread all the time (I know, I need to post my bread on here more often!). But this recipe was a little hard for me to follow. I’m very particular (perhaps peculiar?) about how a recipe is written and organized. I had to sort through it and rearrange it to my liking. Also, I never use active dry yeast (and you shouldn’t either!) and always use instant. So that took some modifying. But only a couple very tiny changes and the end result was really tasty. I’m so glad I made it and have also added “Chocolate Babka” to my must-make baking list. As if I didn’t already have a long list!
This recipe isn’t hard, but it sure isn’t easy nor is it quick. Plan on this taking a couple of hours of your time, depending on how fast you work. But the end result makes a great breakfast the next day. And a mid-day snack. And dessert after dinner.
Yield: 2 loaves
- ¼ Cup (60 ml) water
- 1 Cup (240 ml) whole milk*
- ¼ Cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp instant yeast*
- 6 TB + 1 tsp (89 grams) Sugar*
- 1½ tsp salt
- 4 cups (560 grams) AP flour, divided
*Note: the original recipe calls for warm milk. Since we are using instant yeast here, warm milk is not required. If you do use active dry, then you will need 1 packet of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, and milk warmed to 110F. You can still warm the milk a little for instant, but check the temperature. If it is over 110F, you will kill the yeast.
1. Mix together the melted butter, milk, eggs, and water in a separate bowl until just combined.
2. In stand mixer bowl, add your yeast, sugar, salt, and two cups of flour. Add liquid ingredients. Mix with paddle attachment just for a minute or two to help combine ingredients. Switch to a dough hook on speed 1. Add the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time until dough is well formed and smooth. You may not need all the flour, but I used all two cups and a little more. It depends on your weather!
3. Let rest in an oiled bowl until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. The picture below is before doubling. While it is rising, make the filling and topping.
- ¼ Cup (60 ml) cold coffee
- 1 TB granulated sugar
Combine and set aside
- 3½ cups (560 grams) ground walnuts
- ½ cups (120 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (225 gm) sugar
- ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon (I added extra!)
1. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
2. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
3. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture. Let cool slightly.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
5. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
6. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.
Returning to Dough
1. After dough has doubled, cut into two pieces. Just eyeball it. Spray two bread pans lightly with non stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Set out a silcone rolling sheet (or if you don’t have one, just use a clean bed sheet, it will help tremendously with the rolling) and a small bowl of flour for any light dusting. Get your rolling pin and prepare to work up a sweat! (Just kidding, it actually rolls out pretty easily).Roll the dough out very thin, less than 1/4″. My rolling sheet is 24 inches by 14 inches and as you can see in the picture below I filled up the whole thing. If you have any oddball pieces like I did, feel free to cut them off. Or if you aren’t a neurotic perfectionist like me, then leave it! A little extra dough never hurt anyone. 3. Add half of your filling and spread it on the dough, leaving room on the edges for rolling. Be careful rolling because your dough will be quite fragile at this point.
6. Cover and let rest while you roll the second loaf. After both loaves are done and have rested about 15 minutes, brush with the coffee mixture. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 300F.
7. Bake until golden, which will take another 30 to 45 minutes. Check the internal temperature and when it reads at least 180F, it is done.
8. Important: Let cool in the pan. This goes against most bread making rules, but if you try to remove it while it is still warm, it will fall apart. It is a very heavy bread!
9. After it is cool, slice, pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy!