Povitica – An Eastern European dessert for the 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!

Have you ever heard of Povitica? I hadn’t until this challenge. Honestly, I really didn’t want to participate because this recipe seemed quite difficult. There were so many steps that I even missed one. Oops! I started watching the other bakers as they finished their challenges and became inspired. Their loaves turned out so beautifully and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it as well. I also wanted an excuse to use one of my most prized possessions, besides my Kitchen Aid mixer, my marble rolling pin which was handed down to me from my mom who received it from her Aunt. I remember seeing that rolling pin in my great aunt’s dining room when I was a kid, and I always thought it was so cool. I bet she never could have imagined that it would end up in my hands and that I’d be using it weekly….thanks Aunt Iva!

As I say with most of my Daring Cooks recipes, this isn’t for the novice baker. In fact, it almost wasn’t for me either. The thought of rolling out that dough and having to fold it really scared me. But it wasn’t tough at all. I should have known better. There have been many times in my life that I was scared of something that turned out to be less painful than expect or not painful at all. I guess the lesson in all of this is to always give yourself the opportunity to know if you like something or not. I almost declined to participate in this challenge because I thought it would be too hard. I’m so glad I didn’t. This Povitica was delicious! My children loved it, my friend loved it and even the neighbors liked it. If you are looking for a challenge and a way to impress a guest that may be from Eastern Europe, make them a Povitica.

Recipe by: Jenni of The Gingered Whisk
Printable Recipe

To activate the Yeast:
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1½ Teaspoons (1 package) Rapid Rising Yeast

½ Cup Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided

(I accidentally forgot this step)
2 Tablespoons Cold STRONG Coffee
1½ Teaspoons Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter

Adapted from: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/03/23/caramel-crumb-bars/

1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk


To activate the yeast:

Add sugar, flour and yeast to a bowl of warm, not hot, water. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes.

Yeast after 5 minutes.

To prepare the dough:

In a medium saucepan, heat milk to the scalding point stirring constantly. Do not boil. Allow to cool slightly before using.

In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, 3 tbsp. sugar, and the salt. Add the beaten egg, melted butter and 1/2 cup of the flour. Switch to the dough hook (or remove and knead the rest of the flour in by hand), kneading with the dough hook and adding in the flour until the dough starts to clean the bowl. I used almost all of the 2 cups of flour. Remove from the bowl and knead in any additional flour until the surface of the dough is smooth and does not stick.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 90 minutes).

Cover a large countertop or table with a clean bed sheet. Lightly dust with flour to prevent sticking. Turn risen dough out onto cloth and begin rolling it out using a rolling pin.

Start from the center and work outward. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spoon 1 teaspoon of melted butter on top of the dough and then begin spreading the dough with your hands. You can also use a rolling pin to achieve a flatter dough.

The dough should be thin enough to see through. Be sure to continually pick up the dough to ensure that it’s not sticking. Once the dough it paper thin, begin preparing the filling.

To prepare the filling:

Add butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat until simmering. Continue to simmer until the mixture begins to smell caramely and it changes color slightly. Use the caramel immediately or else it will be impossible to spread on the dough.

Rolling and Assembling the Bread:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a spatula, spread the caramel over the top of the dough leaving a rim around the edge to ensure a good seal once the dough is rolled.

After the caramel is spread out completely, begin rolling the dough into a long snake. Use the sheet to lift up and let the dough roll itself up like a jelly roll. This technique works really well.

Grease a standard sized loaf pan and place a portion of the dough into the pan, forming a “U” shaped with the 2 ends sticking out of the pan. Next, fold the 2 loose ends back into the pan making sure that they are coiled around one another to ensure that the bread has the unique, swirled look when it is sliced.

Mix coffee and sugar and brush over the top of the bread and place in preheated oven.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 300 and then bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and brush with butter.

Let bread sit in pan for 30 minutes, although I used a knife to ensure that the caramel wouldn’t stick and make it impossible to remove from the pan.

Slice and serve!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenni
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 07:59:32

    Fantastic job! Your povitica looks amazing, I am so glad you decided to give it a try! You are right, sometimes we let the thought of how complicated something might be stop us from trying and realizing how easy it actually was. You did a really job good, and I am sure no one is more proud of how your bread turned out than you are!


  2. Shelley C
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 09:36:59

    I am so glad you decided to go for it, because that looks AMAZING. The caramel filling sounds like an absolute delight. As it turns out, you had nothing to be scared of, because you did an outstanding job. Great work!


  3. JM
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 16:15:43

    I love that you did a non-traditional filling…it looks gooey and sticky like a good cinnamon bun!


  4. kouky
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 13:09:38

    so beautiful and amaizing job!! I love your povitica !


  5. rocksaltuk
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 14:58:16

    That caramel filling looks like the best combination of sticky and sweet – absolutely delicious! I love the photo of it bubbling up around the edges of the loaf, I can almost smell it 🙂


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