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.
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!
4 hours ago