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!
Back in the day I worked at a bakery. Much to my disappointment, I didn't actually get to bake anything. During the holiday season, however, when the bakery got especially busy, I'd duck out of serving customers, opting instead to put the final touches on the holiday bread in the back. This daring bakers challenge reminds me of our signature apple bread. It's the one that all the parents had to purchase to make their families happy. While this apple cinnamon povitica looks nothing like the bakery's signature delight, it has a similar sweet crave-worthy taste that makes you never want to stop eating--just like the holidays. You are warned! And while it looks particularly challenging, don't be turned away by it's fancy good looks. If you're in any way a baker, you will find it won't be too much trouble. One of these days soon, I aim to make it again with a pumpkin butter filling--I can't wait for even more autumnal goodness!
Ingredients (Makes one loaf) To activate the Yeast: 1/2 tsp. sugar 3/4 tsp. all-purpose flour 2 Tbs. warm water 1 1/2 tsp. yeast Dough: 1/2 cup milk 3 Tbs. sugar 3/4 tsp. salt 1 large egg 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted 2 cups all-purpose flour, measure first then sift, divided Apple Cinnamon Filling: 2-3 small apples, cored and chopped (I used green apples) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup cinnamon honey 1/4 cup unsalted butter 2 Tbs. flour 1 Tbs. cinnamon pinch of nutmeg pinch of allspice Topping: Egg White Melted Butter Directions: To Activate Yeast: 1. In a small bowl, stir sugar, flour, and the yeast into warm water and cover with plastic wrap. 2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes To Make the Dough: 3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to just below boiling (about 180°F), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F. 4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, sugar, and the salt until combined. 5. Add the beaten egg, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 1/2 cup of flour. 6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl. 7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 2 cups of flour. You want the dough to be fairly wet for best results. 8. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; cover loosely with a clean towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size. To Make the Filling 9. In a small saucepan, combine chopped apples, brown sugar, butter, and honey. 10. Heat the milk to boiling and cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. 11. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. 12. Stir in cinnamon and spices to taste (the cinnamon honey should already make it spiced; if using plain honey, double the amount of spices). 13. Allow to stand at room temperature until slightly cooled. 14. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. 15. Set aside until ready to use. To Roll and Assemble the Dough: 16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered. 17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly). 18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter. 19. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer. 21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking. 22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath. Hint: if dough is springy and difficult to roll, cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to work with. 23. Spoon apple cinnamon filling evenly over dough until covered. 24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll from both long sides toward the middle. Roll it tighter than you think is necessary. 25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough arounditself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced. 27. Brush the top of the loaf with egg whites. 28. Cover pan lightly with a clean cloth and allow to rest for about an hour. 29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F. 30. Remove cloth from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. 31. Turn down the oven temperature to 300°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done. 32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter. Hint: Check the bread every 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to. 33. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. 34. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.