Daring Bakers, October: 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!
Mysterious. Is it a giant cinnamon bun? A weird bread log? What?
And what’s busting out of the thin pastry shell?
I have to admit, it’s not the most appetizing-looking thing I’ve ever made. At least, not from the outside.
I didn’t think I’d get my polvitica made because October was so busy, and I was spending the last week before the challenge deadline out of town on vacation. A couple of days before I left, though, I was able to put it together after work—it came together quickly and easily. The full recipe was enough to make four loaves, but I really don’t need four loaves of dessert bread sitting around, so I used the single-loaf recipe that the fabulous Audax Artifex computed for us and gave a hunk of the loaf to our friend who’d be watching our cat and house while we were gone.
To be honest, the dough may have been a little easier to work with if I’d been a little more conservative with the flour. I kneaded flour in until it was soft, smooth, and not tacky to the touch. After I’d made the polvitica dough (of course it’s always after the fact), I read that it’s preferable to get the dough to a tacky (but not sticky) point, although some of the DBers stopped at the sticky.
It reminded me of one of my favorite things to bake—strudel! Just like with strudel, though, it took some mental prep to get ready to work the dough the way it needed to be, rolling, stretching, and pulling it into a fantastically thin pastry. It wasn’t as challenging as the stiff dough we turned into baklava, but it was harder than the luxuriously soft and supple strudel recipes I’ve used in the past. Luckily, it didn’t have to be stretched as large as my dining room table the way strudel dough does.
The recipe called for walnuts, but I didn’t have enough, so I added almonds to the mix. It was delicious! A lot of people compared it to bread pudding, and while I didn’t find that super moist and custardy combination I identify with bread pudding, it was tender and moist.
This beautiful recipe is a keeper for special occasions.
The dough rolled out as far as I comfortably could. Time to start stretching!
Use the backs of your hands to stretch the dough out; fingers might tear through. I tore it, anyway, but it would’ve been worse with fingers, I tell you!
And more knuckles!
And some knuckling over here for good measure.
Thin enough to see the Corelle!
Holey heck. Luckily, the holes don’t matter because they’ll be rolled up into the povitica, and the only people who’ll ever know they were ever there are the people who’ll read this post. Yey!
Tuck and roll—you want to make sure there aren’t any big air bubbles inside the roll because they’ll expand during baking and produce a gap-toothed povitica.
All rolled up and no place to go.
You don’t have to just swirl the roll around in the pan like this. You can cut the length to fit and stack it into the pan.
Nut sausage? Ha, now I regret having written those two words together. *shudder* It's not the worst of the hilarious-but-unattractive thoughts that came through my head while making this, but I'm ridiculously immature some days. ;D
You can check out my fellow DBers’ polviticas by visiting our blogroll and clicking on the thousands of links to thousands of beautiful blogs!