I hadn't heard of this bread until I got sucked into voraciously watching and being inspired to bake by the The Great British Bake Off (GBBO). Povitica, also found online as potica to Slovenians, is a Croatian sweet bread with spiraled layers, cut open to reveal and marvel at upon serving -- especially in wintertime or at teatime. It's reminiscent of Babka bread, although the crumb is less egg-y and tender than its Eastern European cousin.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Proofing Time: 2 hours
Baking Time: ~1 hour
For the dough:
1⁄4 cup / 50g sugar
3⁄4 cup / 180ml milk, heated to 115°F
1 (5/16-oz.) package active dry yeast
1⁄2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 1⁄2 cups / 315g flour, plus more
4 tbsp. / 20g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the loaf pan
1 whole egg
For the paste/filling:
1 cup/ 5 oz. / 140g chestnuts (boiled, or roasted until soft, you may find them in specialty food stores as 'marrons entiers')
3/4 cup / 150g brown sugar
4 tbsp. / 20g unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
2 1/2 tbsp. / 45ml milk
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. all spice
3 oz / 75g of WKND chocolate (or craft chocolate purchased through Direct Trade or ethically)
2 egg whites (use the yolks to glaze the top of the bread before baking)
-To make the dough: Combine 1 tbsp. of the sugar, yeast packet, and half the milk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; let sit until foamy (it will look like the head of a porter/stout beer), roughly 10 minutes. Add the remaining amounts of sugar and milk, plus salt, butter, and egg; blend. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until a smooth consistency develops, but do not over beat. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel; set in a warm environment about 1 hour (you'll know it's proofed when it's grown in size and through the 'poke test' -- it's ready when you poke the dough with your finger and the dent slightly puffs back -- if there is no indentation you have not proofed long enough yet, and if the dent stays it's over-proofed)
- Make the filling: Puree the chestnuts, sugar, butter, milk, spices, and chocolate in a food processor into a smooth paste. Beat egg whites in the electric mixer or by hand until stiff peaks form; fold this into the paste.
- Grease a 9" x 5" x 2 3⁄4" loaf pan with butter. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10" x 4" long oval about 1⁄16" thick. Spread dough with nut and spice paste. Starting from one narrow end, roll dough the dough tightly into cylinder form. Cut the ends (saving them for cinnamon buns to cook ~12-15 minutes in a cast iron pan in the oven) and transfer to loaf pan; set in a warm place until the finished dough has risen, about another hour.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Glaze the top of the loaf with beaten egg yolks. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, pending oven strength and altitude. Allow to cool on a cooling rack, and then slice, butter, and spread with WKND Chocolate Nib Honey -- yum!