Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daring to do it: Povitica

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!

When I fist saw this challenge I was confused. It looked both complicated and somehow familiar... Then it hit me. Babka! This is just like a babka! (Don't know what a babka is? Look here...) I have even made a babka before, which made me feel much more comfortable, and much more excited to get things going. Hopefully I will get the chance to make it again, (well, both, the povitica and the babka!) so I can get a real side-by-side comparison. Until then, though, I was realty pleased with how this recipe turned out.
I decided to make a half batch, as the full makes four loaves. I also decided that I would use different fillings for each loaf, because there are just too many ideas to do only one! The dough came together pretty easily. I did sub in some whole wheat flour, as I usually do. It did use more flour all together than I had expected it to, but I don't know if that was just me or if it was particularly humid or what... While the dough was rising I got to work on the traditional walnut filling. Except I didn't have enough walnuts, even for the quarter batch of the filling... I wound up using half walnuts and half almonds. Then Little Girl helped me combine all of the dry ingredients.
It was then time to roll the dough. (The Darning Kitchen is certainly giving us, and our rolling pins, a workout! Moo shu, phyllo dough, croissants...! Phew!) The goal was to get the dough thin enough to see through, I don't know if it my imagination, but I think I am seeing the texture of the granite through that dough... I was pleased!!
Once rolled out, the dough is then covered in the filling, then rolled up as tightly as possible.
Once rolled it is time to coil. (I know, lots of different types of rolling and such. But trust me, it is worth it!) The dough is coiled around and on top of itself to get cool patterns.

Before it is baked, the loaf is brushed with a coffee and sugar syrup. Can I just say yum? Time to bake.
When I finally cut my first slice of the traditional povitica (I had to wait for it to cool. That part is no fun, what with the amazing smell it was giving off...) I was a little sad. I hadn't taken a bite, so I wasn't disappointed in the taste, it was the swirl - where were all of those layers of swirls?

Then I remembered that the end of the loaf was not where everything was layered. So I cut further in. There was the awesome swirliness I was hoping for!!
And for my second loaf? Peanut butter and jelly povitica, at your service! That was Little Girl's favorite...!

Thank you, Jenni, for such a great challenge! I loved learning how something I grew up knowing (babka) really is both so culturally rich and different, and so versatile and yummy when made in new ways!! Please do yourself a favor and look here to see what my fellow Daring Bakers came up with. The variety of sweet and savory treats will blow you away!!


  1. This is just another version on babka, isn't it? Such fun! My little one would love the P&B version...
    Best, Sandie

  2. The swirls are just great and you rolled the dough so thin...A fantastic job- makes me want to do another one!

  3. Great job, Ruth! Your povitica looks great! It was so fun seeing everyone compare it to a very similar recipe that their family has always done!

  4. Spectacular, Ruth! Peanut butter and jelly Povitica, that was a great idea! I also had to cut mine in various places and angles to see the patterns changing, so cool!

  5. Your povitica has gorgeous swirls! They look so neat and perfect. Also, peanut butter and jelly was an inspired filling. What a fantastic idea.