Monday, May 17, 2021

Babes Bake Povitica

Many moons ago I was one of the Daring Bakers, a group which attempted to bake recipes that really challenged us and sometimes were ones that we had be afraid to try making. This challenge reminded me of those days. I have often wondered if I could make a pastry or bread that required stretching the dough almost thin enough to read through but I was afraid to try. Povitica is such a pastry and so I finally attempted it...and did a pretty good job, too. The other way that this reminded me of the Daring Baker days was that it was a complex recipe, requiring many steps and so many implements to make that both my sinks were needed for the cleanup! It also required space. I ended up doing the dough stretching on the back side of a tablecloth spread over one end of my kitchen counter. There just wasn't enough room in the bake center.

So was it worth it? I would say yes, especially since Sweetie really loves it. It looks wonderful and the looks reflect fairly the amount of time and effort that went into it. However, these days I often take the easier path, so I doubt that I'll make it again. I think that I can have the same taste by using the wonderful walnut filling in an easier bread.

I did use that walnut filling just as given in the recipe, with the usual caveat that all dairy is replaced with non-dairy substitutes. For the pastry I used a combination of lots of pastry flour, a small amount of Irish wholemeal flour that I sifted so that only the very fine flour was used, plus another small amount of all purpose flour. I made sure to  knead for a long, long time to develop the gluten, most of it with the stand mixer, but the final few minutes using a bench scraper and hand kneading.

This recipe pretty much takes all day since the first rise is about three hours and that's after all that kneading. The second rise is about the same and the bake is an hour, so plan on a minimum of 8.5 hours since stretching the dough and spreading the filling takes at least a half hour. I made the filling about hour two of the first rise. If I were to do it again, I'd make it right before the end of the third hour. I think it would have spread better slightly warm. As it was I spread it using a small offset spatula and I dipped that in hot water before each use to help warm up the filling so that it would spread more easily and not tear the dough.

As it happens, I did tear the dough here and there a bit, but you don't really notice once it's all rolled up. I do wish that I'd trimmed the edges of the rectangle. It was thicker there and once rolled into the dough roll it wasn't as pretty as it would have been if I had cut those out as you can see by the photo above. Otherwise I wouldn't change a thing.

Don't forget, there is cinnamon in the filling. This lovely bread will make your kitchen smell heavenly!

If you'd like to be a Buddy be sure to go to our Kitchen of the Month, Kelly of A Messy Kitchen, and send her an email with your URL of the your experience with making the bread, plus a photo. She will include you in the round-up if you do so by May 29th.

Also be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes to see what they have made. I assure you, most of their bread's are far more professional looking than mine!

makes 1 loaf
Recipe from Bake Street



A pan 10 x 4 x 3 inches (25 x 11 x 7 cm) 

10 oz (285 g) T45 flour (this is essentially a pastry flour, soft wheat)(I think you can safely just use all purpose flour and just let it rest while stretching if it resists.)
0.05 oz (1.4 g) dry yeast (~½ tsp)
4.25 oz (120 g) whole milk (I used 2%)(
I used soy creamer)
0.5 oz (15 g) water
0.18 oz (5 g) salt
1 large egg (2.1 oz - 60 g)
1.75 oz (50 g) sugar, divided

0.8 oz (22 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled, divided (Butter substitute)


9.9 oz (280 g) walnuts

3.35 oz (95 g) sugar

½ Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

0.1 oz (3 g) cinnamon powder

pinch of salt 

2 oz (58 g) unsalted butter (Butter substitute)

2.1 oz (60 g) whole milk (used soy creamer)

1 large egg yolk

¼ tsp vanilla extract


For Topping:

0.9 oz (25 g) unsalted butter melted and cooled (Butter substitute)

icing sugar (optional)



 First, make the dough.

 In a bowl or stand mixer, combine the flour together with the dry yeast.  Then add the milk, water, egg and salt.

Mix the ingredients in the bowl until a fairly smooth and homogeneous dough is obtained.

Add the sugar in two additions, kneading each time until it is fully integrated.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and silky with at least a medium gluten development.  Work in the butter in about three additions until smooth again.

Knead for about 12-15 minutes to develop the gluten well and obtain an elastic, soft, and very well developed dough.   It may be slightly sticky but should pass the windowpane test.  If it does not, the final stretching will not be possible without tearing.

When the dough is properly developed, form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles its volume. This can take up to three hours.


Make the filling while the dough is rising.

 In a food processor add nuts together with sugar, cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder.  Blend until the nuts are finely chopped and transfer to a bowl.

In a saucepan or microwave, heat the milk along with the butter until it just boils. Remove from the heat.

Pour the milk into the nut mixture.  Add the vanilla and the egg yolk and mix until completely homogenized.

Set aside at room temperature, covered, until ready to fill the povitica.


Stretching the dough:

Lay out a sheet or cloth on a wide, flat surface.  

Sprinkle the work surface very lightly with corn flour.  (I used all purpose.)

Turn out the dough and de-gas it gently.

Roll the dough out into a very thin rectangle with a rolling pin, then continue to carefully stretch with hand to about 25½x18-in. (65 x 45 cm) rectangle.  (The dough should be about three times as long as your pan.  Very gently and slowly work the dough with your hands, stretching from the center to the edges.  It should remain soft and elastic and stretch without tearing as long as the gluten was developed and the process is taken slowly.

Spread the filling.

Drop spoonfuls of the filling evenly across the dough.  Using an offset spatula and/or your hands, spread and distribute the filling evenly across the dough to all but one long edge that will seal after rolling.  The filling may be dense so just go slowly and try not to stretch or tear the dough.


The finer the grind, the easier to spread the filling!


Roll up the dough.

Starting with the long edge that has filling to the edge, roll the dough on itself making sure that there is no gap between each layer. Start at one end and just turn up the edge all the way across.  Then continue to roll from edge to edge carefully and with the help of both hands. 


Once the entire sheet is rolled up, carefully pinch and seal the long edge.

Shape the roll into an S and place it into the pan.  It will take two hands, scoop in from the ends and carefully lift into the pan.  (Other shaping methods including rolling up in a circle like a snail and baking in an earthenware baker, or cutting the roll into sections and lining them up in the loaf pan.  Using sections and a smaller loaf tin will yield a taller loaf.)

Cover with plastic and let the dough rise until the dough has puffed up somewhat. This will be most evident looking at the ends of the dough to see any increase in size. Again, this can take 1-3 hours.

 Bake povitica.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Brush the top of the loaf with half of the butter and place in the center of the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300ºF and leave for 45 minutes more. The total baking time is 60 minutes.


Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining butter.

Let it rest in the pan for 20 minutes.  Then turn out the loaf and allow to cool completely on a rack.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

 This loaf should ideally be cut from the bottom to keep the outside edges/top from crumbling.  Excellent with coffee or tea!

 This loaf will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed bag or a week in the refrigerator.  It may also be frozen in portions.


  1. It looks beautiful! So glad you decided it was worth the effort. ♥ I used a tablecloth too.

  2. Your povitica is so beautifully formed!

    Clearly, the old adage is true that the way to a man's heart is by feeding him povitica. (My husband adores it!)

  3. It made my whole house smell wonderful with that cinnamon in the filling! And, yes, I did find the filling easier to spreat when warmed.

  4. Wow, the finish product is really beautiful and shiny. And you can indeed see the dish towel through the bread - so you did it! I just cannot imagine the hours this must've taken!

  5. Tanita, the actual work time was about three hours, divided up, maybe even a little less. The rest was rising time and baking time. I count all the washing up in the work time and that was substantial...stand mixer bowl and dough hook, various parts of the food processor, rolling pin, many small bowls and the measuring cups and spoons, offset get the idea. Still, glad I did it this once. No longer afraid of stretching dough...that part ended up being pretty easy and not too slow either.

  6. I would have been very afraid of that stretching... esp in my usually cold kitchen. Turned out great, tho... Well Done!

  7. I understand what you’re saying about the thicker dough making thick spots but that’s really part of the beauty in the character of the bread. I really impressed at how your filling shows so clearly through the dough in the photo of the long rolled up dough! You went super thing. I’d say you have the knack. Your photos show the process well. Beautiful loaf!

  8. I would say it's definitely worth it. Your filling looks delicious.

  9. Looks lovely. I remember first making this with the Daring Bakers too. That was so much fun! I learnt a lot of my baking skills there.
    I forgot to use a cloth, just dusted my countertop with a lot of flour.
    MY dough rose very quickly. It's so hot here, I was done with mine by lunchtime.