Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Daring Bakers' Challenge - Povitica

There are so many cool things about being a part of the Daring Kitchen. Two of the big ones for me are the great people who are a part of the community and the cool new foods we get to make and taste. This month, those two things came together for our 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!

I had never heard of a povitica before, but after reading through the challenge, I couldn't wait to try one. Then everyone started posting their results on the forums. And they looked outstanding. And, from what they all posted, they tasted even better.

Which, for some reason, totally paralyzed me.

But I finally went for it this weekend.

The dough has a bunch of steps (and uses a whole bunch of dishes), but actually comes together quite easily.

In one bowl, I activated the yeast. In another I melted some butter. In another I cracked eggs and beat them...

A little scalded milk, a bit of flour and a whole bunch of kneading later, I had a beautiful, smooth dough.

And a mere hour and a half later, that little ball of dough turned into...

...a bigger ball of dough! It rose beautifully and retained its beautiful, smooth feel.

Now, I knew that I would be making this a two day process. So I had little miss help me to deflate and re-knead the dough before covering it with plastic wrap and slipping it into the fridge for a slow second rise.

Now, the traditional filling for povitica, as Jenni told us, involves walnuts. Daddy is allergic to walnuts, so we skip those in our house. Pecans always make a good substitution. So, after putting the dough in the fridge, I quickly ground up some pecans so that I could pull together the filling in the morning without waking anyone up with the mini-food-processor.

The first thing that I did in the morning was the pull the dough out of the fridge to allow it to come back up to room temperature.

Then I set to preparing the filling. The recipe that Jenni provided makes enough dough to make four loaves. I prepared a half-batch, so needed filling for two loaves. I chose two different fillings. Both, though, require butter melted in a pot with milk. So I did that in one step.

While the milk and butter did its thing on the stove, I prepared my two fillings - one, the traditional filling (subbing pecans for the walnuts) as outlined in Jenni's recipe, and the other using fresh pumpkin. Because, after all, it is October.

I divided the milk and butter mixture between the two bowls, then little miss helped me stir.

Both bowls.

At once.

And then it was time to get down to business. The dough was divided in half, and then each half was rolled as big and thin as possible. The dough is really strong, and with a little bit of time and patience, I was able to put my rolling skills (honed over several recent challenges, including this one...) to good use.

The dough was still a little chilly, but I went with it... and was able to get it pretty thin.

Then I spread on the filling.

First the pumpkin....

Then the pecan (with a hint of cocoa...).

The idea, once the filling is on the stretched-out dough, is for the whole thing to be rolled up, then curled into a greased loaf pan. Thus, once the bread is baked, each piece has a really cool swirl pattern.

I actually tried two different methods of rolling up the dough to see how it would affect the patterns once the breads were cut. You can see the difference just from the baked loaves.

Interestingly enough, there was not a huge difference on the inside, though. But I pretty much chalk that up to my not really knowing what I was doing when I coiled them into the pans, so couldn't really "plan" the swirls that well... But, regardless, the results were pretty cool.

The pecan and cocoa was little miss's favorite.

And, if you really forced me to choose, I think I might say that the pumpkin was mine.

But they were both delicious, and the dough baked up beautifully. It's really versatile, and I am betting that it would be really, really good with a wide variety of fillings. And the swirl patterns looked even cooler the further into the bread I cut. But at that point I was too busy chomping to take pictures.

Jenni, this was an awesome challenge and an awesome recipe. Thank you so much for your talent, creativity and encouragement this month - I always love baking (and cooking) with you!

And I highly recommend checking out the really cool poviticas baked up in the kitchen this month - I think the Bakers really outdid themselves!


  1. Lovely autumn fillings - Bet they went down a storm! Well done on making such gorgeous poviticas :)

  2. They both look great. I think I would like to try a slice of the pumpkin one, please. :)

  3. I love the photos of your small helper. My 3 year old also loves to help. In fact I can't cook without her running for her stool and spatula. Not always helpful but always funny!

    I am intrigued by the pumpkin one - pumpkin isn't a very common sweet ingredient in Australia. What did you include, apart from pumpkin, butter and milk? I see sugar and maybe cinnamon in the photo?

  4. I think this was the prettiest bread I've ever made! Yours looks marvelous!!!!

  5. Man, I really have to stop reading your blog first thing in the morning, it just makes me immediately hungry... and this particular endeavor seems like it would go especially well with my morning cup of coffee...

  6. I loved this month's challenge too
    it is a great example of how wonderful it is to be a daring baker!
    You did an amazing job on the challenge
    loved that little hand helping out with the dough

  7. Pumpkin! What an awesome idea! They both are lovely look at and I am happy they were so well received! Great job!

  8. Lovely job, Shelley! Your poviticas turned out fantastic! You and Little Miss worked really hard, and were rewarded with some awesome swirls! Good job, girls!!
    P.S. Ladybug and I have been eating a certain nectarine buckle all week (alas, no plums were to be had...) and are loving it!

  9. I agree it's a great recipe. Always love it when my childeren can help around, just like your little girl. The swirls looks great. So does the photo gallery.

  10. Great post, and so fun that you have a little kitchen helper :) I want to try this with pecans next time, I bet it was so good!

  11. Both look beautiful and delicious I love the crust of your poviticas

  12. wow...sounds scrumptiously tasty...excellent presentation..
    first time your space..
    awesome posts with great cliks..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  13. Nice job on this challenge. You're right, it did involve quite a few dishes, which is one of the annoyances of food prep. The pumpkin one sounds great and just the right season for it.

  14. Wonderful Poviticas, Shelley! Just like you I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and the whole eating too! I love your Autumn version of the challenge, I think I would love it! And yeah, there are so many filling possibilities, I'm certainly trying new ones in a very short future :)

  15. awesome looking bread! your dough looks nice and even too! you have way more patience that i! congrats on the challenge!

  16. your choice fillings sound delicious (I adore pumpkin). Another great challenge well done!
    Best, sandie

  17. What lovely sounding flavours you made here! And your povitica looks delicious! :D

  18. Yummy, Shelley! Your flavors sound great. Nice job on the challenge!

  19. Wow well done Shelley, they look great. It must have been nice to go back to normal life this month after the frenzy of hosting.
    Oh and I love the pumpkin idea.

  20. Great breads! I made a walnut/pecan one and loved it, but that pumpkin filling looks and sounds amazing. And I have 13 more pie pumpkins to use up, hmmmm...

  21. Pumpkin filling! What a great idea - that sounds delicious! I hear you about coiling them in the pans - I changed mine around a bunch of times wondering if it was "right". Beautiful loaves!

  22. I like the sound of your fillings. I have a tree nut allergy (developed late in life !!!) so went with currants and lemon curd - but fear the currants were a bit heavy and weighed the dough down. Loved your savoury filling too :)

  23. Good on you for trying povitica. I have never attempted it myself! Yours looks like a complete triumph.

  24. Oooh I've been wanting to try pumpkin! I'm glad you tackled that one for me so now I know it will be a hit! Great job, they look delicious!

  25. Wow, Shelley, your poviticas look amazing! I love the pumpkin, and am curious about what's in it so it wasn't too loose. It looks SOOO good!

    On another note - I loved your knock-knock joke and just the fact that you offered your baby for a snuggle is sooo sweet!! *hugs* I definitely could use that!

  26. Pumpkin povitica sounds so good. I wish I'd thought of it! The filling looks stunning, especially in the photo of it being slathered on the dough. Mmm. And the dark pecan and cocoa filling gives such a beautiful, dramatic swirl. Gorgeous!

  27. Pumpkin filling sound great but I also like using the pecans to sub for the walnuts! Your swirls are brilliant!

  28. Both beautiful and both delicious. Always wonderful to see little miss at work. She is CUTE!! Well done on the challenge Shelley!

  29. I'm loving the pumpkin but both loaves are very pretty.:)

  30. Little Miss is awesome! I almost wish I had a fulltime Sous Chef}:P


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