This Homemade Povitica Recipe is a beautiful and delicious treat that's perfect to give as a gift for the holidays! Povitica Bread is a rich homemade bread with a cinnamon walnut filling that is an old family favorite.
When I think about the holidays, this Povitica Recipe always comes to mind (along with these snickerdoodles, these cut-out sugar cookies and these cinnamon rolls)! It is a very special and beautiful holiday treat that is the perfect gift to bring wrapped up, still warm from the oven, to a neighbor or friend. Add a bag full of these cinnamon pecans and you're set!
Povitica Bread is a rich homemade bread with a cinnamon walnut filling that is an old family favorite, delicious for a Christmas morning breakfast, Mother's Day brunch, etc.
How to make Povitica Bread
This Povitica recipe has a few different steps, and as always we'll walk through them together. Don't forget to watch the video too!
Prepare wet ingredients
Begin this povitica bread reicpe by preparing the wet ingredients. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to just below boiling (about 180°F), stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 105°F. Once cooled, whisk in the melted butter, sugar and salt to the milk until combined. Add egg, vanilla and yeast mixture and stir to combine.
The most important thing to note about this process is to make sure that your ingredients are below 105 degrees F before combining them with the yeast. If they are warmer than that you will very likely kill the yeast and the bread will not rise.
Combine wet ingredients & flour
Once the wet ingredients are prepared, add the flour to the container of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. You can also place it in a large bowl and mix by hand.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and mix the dough with the dough hook until it forms a smooth, elastic ball.
If necessary, add up to 2 TBS more flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.
Let it rise.
Place the Povitica dough in a lightly-greased bowl covered with a wet towel and let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours (or until doubled in size).
Make the Povitica filling
While the Povitica bread dough is rising, make the filling. You can use a high-powered blender or food processor to make the filling. Start by putting the wet ingredients into the container and blending/processing until they are warm. Then add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until ingredients are combined and walnuts are chopped into small pieces. Let the filling stand-covered-at room temperature until the rise is complete!
Roll & Assemble Povitica Dough
Next comes the rolling and assembling. Roll out the povitica bread dough into a large rectangle and gently spread the filling over it, leaving a ½" space at the edges bare. Tightly roll the dough into a jelly roll, making sure to apply ample pressure to ensure a tight roll.
Make an "S" shape in the pan
Take the rolled povitica bread dough "rope" and stretch it just a touch. Then form it into an "S" shape in a prepared baking pan. This is what gives this povitica recipe it's beautiful appearance! At this point let the bread sit, covered, while you preheat the oven and get ready to bake.
Bake the Povitica bread in the oven once it's preheated, and after 15 minutes, decrease the temperature and continue baking for about 45 more minutes!
Cool in the pan & Enjoy
When it is finished, place the bread in the pan on a wire rack to cool. This povitica bread is heavy, so it is very important to leave it in the pan while it cools so that it retains its shape. Once this povitica recipe completely cool dive on it! Carefully slice the povitica bread and share with your family and friends!
Store this povitica bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
You can freeze the entire, baked loaf of Povitica bread. Let it cool completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. You can also freeze individual slices in the same way.
Povitica Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions
As always this recipe for povitica bread is the best when made as written. The only potential substitution I could (in good conscience) recommend is using pecans in place of walnuts if you're not a walnut fan!
FAQs about Povitica
You can easily double (or triple) this recipe to make more loaves to share with your loved ones!
It's Croatian, povitica means walnut bread.
Yes! You can form the loaf and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight if you want to bake it fresh in the morning for breakfast. You can also bake the loaf and freeze it.
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Make the dough:
- In a small bowl, stir ½ tsp sugar, and yeast into warm water. Set aside until foamy (about 5 minutes)
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to just below boiling (about 180°F), stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F.
- Once cooled, whisk in the melted butter, 3 TBS sugar and salt to the milk until combined. Add egg, vanilla and yeast mixture and stir to combine.
- Add flour into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Pour wet ingredients into the flour and mix the dough with the dough hook until it forms a smooth, elastic ball of dough. (You can also mix and knead by hand).
- If necessary, add up to 2 TBS more flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a warm, damp tea towel and let the dough rise for 1.5 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
Make the filling:
- Add Walnuts, sugar, salt, and cinnamon and pulse a few times until the ingredients are combined and walnuts are crushed into smaller pieces.
- Add egg yolk and vanilla and pulse to combine.
- Allow mixture to stand at room temperature until dough is ready.
Putting it together:
- Line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper and grease with butter. Set aside.
- After the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place on a well-floured surface.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle about 18” x 17” in size. Be sure dough is thin but not so thin that you can see through it (about ¼” thick).
- Spread the filling evenly on the dough, leaving about ½” at the edges bare. (If your filling has become too thick to spread, add warm milk ½ TBS at a time until it just reaches spreading consistency).
- Staring at the edge of your rectangle, roll the dough tightly together making a jelly roll (see picture). Be sure to apply pressure and keep rolling tightly until it resembles a rope.
- Gently stretch out the “rope” and lift it into your prepared loaf pan, making an “S” shape as you put it in. (To do this, fold the dough into thirds in your pan (see pictures)).
- Cover the pan with a damp towel and let it sit in a warm place for at least 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- After 15 minutes turn down the oven to 300 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 minutes (about 1 hour total), or until done (will sound hollow when hit with a wooden spoon). Check your bread after about 30 minutes and cover with aluminum foil if it is getting too brown.
- Remove bread from the oven. Cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving!
StoreStore this povitica bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
To Freeze:You can freeze the entire, baked loaf of Povitica bread. Let it cool completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 2 months. You can also freeze individual slices in the same way.
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