Povitica; Make. This.

Povitica

I know you all watch Great British Bake Off, that goes without saying at this point. Well a couple of seasons ago they made this very recipe, and ever since then I was like “damn, I gotta try that”. It is, however, not a particularly short recipe, and it needs some good amount of space to undertake. The build up to Christmas, however, felt like the perfect time to finally give Povitica a go. Po-what-what-now I hear you cry. Imagine a cinnamon roll log looped around into a loaf tin, and without any cinnamon, but chocolate and walnuts instead. Yeah, that sounds great doesn’t it? Warning, I got stressed.

Povitica

Povitica is a Slovenian nut bread. Which is grossly underselling the gloriousness of what this really is. It got me stressed, I won’t lie, as the part where you have to stretch out the dough didn’t go the smoothest, but if you’ve got some patience, and delicate hands then you should be ok. The dough itself is very smooth and makes a wonderfully sweet bread. This would be ideal for any Christmas table or event, and with all that extra time people have over Christmas it’s definitely something to consider for one of your many get-togethers.

Povitica

I always get a lot of people pestering me to apply for bake off, and how I faired with this (as amazing as it tasted), and how stressed I got during the stretching process (too many holes) really showed how attempting to enter bake off would not be a good idea for me. I failed at getting truly defined layers, but for the matter of taste that didn’t matter so much, and I reckon I can next time, as I know a few areas I can improve on.

Povitica

Have you had any particularly stressful bakes?

Povitica
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 Loaf
Ingredients
  • **For the dough**
  • 300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 40g/1½oz caster sugar
  • 7g salt
  • 10g/⅓oz fast-action yeast
  • 30g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • 150ml/5½fl oz whole milk, warmed
  • **For the filling**
  • 60g/2¼oz unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp whole milk
  • 280g/10oz walnut pieces
  • ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten
  • **To assemble**
  • 15g/½oz butter, melted
  • 1 free-range egg white, beaten
  • 100g/3½oz icing sugar
Instructions
  1. For the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the sugar and flour. On separate sides of the bowl, add the salt and yeast. Mix in the melted butter, egg, vanilla seeds and warm milk. Mix this on a slow speed. Once it all starts coming together shift the speed up to medium and knead for 5-8 minutes. It should be smooth, soft and stretchy.
  2. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, tip in the dough, cover it with cling film and leave it to rise until it’s at least doubled in size. This should be about an hour. While it’s rising, butter a loaf tin.
  3. Make the filling by combining the butter and milk in a small pan and heating it gently until the butter has just melted.
  4. Blitz the walnuts, vanilla seeds, sugar and cocoa powder together in a food processor (I used a blender, it worked, ish) and blend until it’s a sandy powder.
  5. Stir in the egg yolk and butter/milk mixture. Pulse it again to combine and set aside.
  6. To assemble the povitica, spread a clean sheet out over a kitchen table and dust it with flour. You need a lot of room here, so make sure you’ve plenty.
  7. Turn the dough out onto the sheet and roll out into a 50x30cm rectangle. Brush the surface of this with melted butter.
  8. NOW, for the stressful part. Dust your hands with flour and ease them underneath your dough. With the back of your hands, stretch the dough from the center until very thin and translucent. I actually struggled with this and had to resort to rolling as I kept on tearing it. Much stress.
  9. The rectangle should have doubled to about 1metre x 60cm.
  10. If the filling has thickened in this time, loosen it up with a little warm milk. Spread this carefully out over the rectangle, making sure you don’t get any holes in it.
  11. Start at a long edge and lift the sheet to gently roll the dough up into a tight cylinder, just like cinnamon buns.
  12. Carefully lift your log of dough into the greased tin. Form a U shape in the bottom and then double back with another U on top of that.
  13. Place the tin inside a clean carrier bag and leave it for a further hour to rise. In this time, preheat the oven to 180°C(160°C fan assisted).
  14. Brush the top of the dough with beaten egg white and bake for 15 minutes. Drop the temperature to 150°C(130°C fan assisted) and bake for a further 45 minutes, until golden brown. You may need to cover with foil to stop it burning on top.
  15. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving it to cool completely.
  16. Mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water, to make a runny icing and drizzle this over the cake. Leave to set and serve in slices.
  17. Have a brew, you deserve it after that, and man these do taste good.
 
Povitica